Senate Bill Seeks $1.8 Billion for DHS’ Cyber Mission

A reflection of the Department of Homeland Security logo is seen reflected in the glasses of a cyber security analyst in the watch and warning center at the DHS's secretive cyber defense facility at Idaho National Laboratory.

A reflection of the Department of Homeland Security logo is seen reflected in the glasses of a cyber security analyst in the watch and warning center at the DHS's secretive cyber defense facility at Idaho National Laboratory. Mark J. Terrill/AP File Photo

Featured eBooks

The Government's Artificial Intelligence Reality
What’s Next for Federal Customer Experience
What's Next for Government Data

The funding includes $731 million to maintain and upgrade the cybersecurity of federal computer networks.

The first draft of a Senate appropriations bill, released Tuesday, commits $1.8 billion for the Homeland Security Department’s cyber operations wing, basically matching funding levels in the House version of the bill.

That makes it unlikely the funding level will be controversial going forward.

The bill, known as a chairman’s mark, was offered by Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss. It has not been officially endorsed by other committee members but ranking committee member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., largely praised the funding for Homeland Security’s National Protection and Programs Directorate in a statement.

The funding includes $731 million to maintain and upgrade the cybersecurity of federal computer networks plus $257 million for cyber incident response in the private sector and $341 million to help protect critical infrastructure, such as banks and airports, from cyberattacks.

Democrats criticized a separate chairman’s mark, released Monday, for cutting $19 million, or 7 percent, from a funding request for the Office of Personnel Management.

The cut, Democrats said, will damage OPM’s ability to upgrade its information technology, which has received consistently low marks in the years following a massive 2015 data breach that compromised sensitive security clearance information about more than 20 million federal employees.

If the entire committee had met to mark up the bill, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., would have offered an amendment that, among other things, would have boosted OPM funding by $20 million, the Democratic release said.

That amendment would also have included a $25 million cybersecurity funding boost for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the release said.