Biden Requests Significant IT, Cyber Investment Increases for 2023

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Tech and cybersecurity spending would receive major boosts under President Joe Biden’s proposed 2023 budget.

President Joe Biden’s fiscal year 2023 budget request seeks $65 billion for civilian federal agencies—an 11% increase over the $58.4 billion requested last year—as well as a significant increase in cybersecurity spending. 

Released Monday, the budget request seeks $10.9 billion in cybersecurity spending for non-defense agencies, an 11% increase over the $9.8 billion last year. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency would benefit from that spending increase, with a proposed budget of $2.5 billion for 2023, a nearly $500 million increase from its current budget. 

“We are joining with allies and partners to write the rules of 21st Century economics, trade and technology,” the budget message reads. 

The administration released several fact sheets over the weekend outlining the priority areas set to receive funding, including emerging focuses like broadband connectivity and federal information technology systems. 

Fulfilling this pledge is a historic investment of $65 billion in public spending on broadband deployment, a longstanding Biden administration goal that aims to increase internet access across rural areas in the U.S. and reduce connection costs. 

In another historic move, Biden’s budget allocates $13 million for research into advanced communications, as well as $187 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology to focus on crafting new standards for the adoption of critical and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum sciences and biotechnologies. 

The Technology Modernization Fund, housed within the General Services Administration, would receive an additional $300 million in federal funding under the proposed budget request. Agencies can borrow against the fund to modify important—but sometimes outdated—IT systems. The budget request calls out the secure sign-on service, data protection measures and other modernization efforts. 

The Office of Science with the Department of Energy is specifically allocated $7.8 billion to support research within national laboratories and universities with a focus on quantum information science and artificial intelligence regarding environmental sustainability, emphasizing data analytics and advanced computing to better prepare for public health emergencies. 

Biden’s budget allocations reflect the hallmark plans he has frequently laid out for his presidency, such as the  need for greater infrastructure and more research and development in technological fields that he discussed during his State of the Union address earlier this year.

The budget proposes $5 billion for the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, or ARPA-H. According to the budget request, the funding will focus first on “cancer and other diseases such as diabetes and dementia” in an effort to “drive transformational innovation in health technologies and speed the application and implementation of health breakthroughs.” The major research and development funding boost, in conjunction with additional funding for the National Institutes of Health, total $49 billion to “continue to support research that enhances health, lengthens life, reduces illness and disability and spurs new biotechnology productions and innovation.” 

In addition, the budget provides $700 million for the Advanced Research and Projects Agency Energy, or ARPA-E. 

“This investment in high-potential, high-impact research and development would help remote the technological barriers to advance energy and environmental missions,” the budget document states.

In addition to the financial increase, the budget also proposes expanded authorities for ARPA-E to “more fully address innovation gaps around adaptation, mitigation and resilience to the impacts of climate change.” 

This forward-looking proposal also looks to boost advances in research and development for a variety of technologies across government agencies. The document “makes historic investments in” the Homeland Security Department’s R&D infrastructure, officials wrote, by providing $89 million to improve and modernize laboratories within the department’s science and technology directorate. NASA’s R&D portfolio would see an increase of $338 million from enacted levels, with more than $1.4 billion proposed for fiscal 2023.

The White House also proposed the National Science Foundation receive $1.6 billion to spur research and development efforts to “better understand and prepare for adverse impacts of climate change,” for the next fiscal year.

Nextgov Managing Editor Jessie Bur and Defense Technology Correspondent Brandi Vincent contributed to this reporting.