On Thursday, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the Pentagon’s plans to spend an additional $900 million in the coming year to enhance cyber defense measures.
The initiative comes in the wake of the massive security breach that hit the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) last year, in which nearly 20 million federal employees, contractors and other individuals had their personal information compromised.
Furthermore, U.S. officials noted the budget increase would help protect against growing threats from national adversaries, as well as non-sovereign players like the Islamic State group.
“Given the increasing severity and sophistication of the threats and challenges we’re seeing in cyberspace – ranging from (IS’s) pervasive online presence to the data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management – the budget puts a priority on funding our cyber strategy,” said Carter in a written statement to the House Appropriations Committee.
The Pentagon has allocated a total of $6.7 billion in its 2017 budget – an increase of 15.5 percent from the previous year.
Over the course of the next five years, the Pentagon is projected to spend more than $34 billion.
According to Carter, the spending reflected the Pentagon’s commitment to deterring “even the most advanced adversaries.”
Additionally, the budget would allow for investment in cyber warfare capabilities, including building potential cyber “military response options,” said Carter.
In recent intelligence reports, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers on Thursday the risk of cyber-attacks is noted as significant.
“Devices, designed and fielded with minimal security requirements and testing, and an ever-increasing complexity of networks, could lead to widespread vulnerabilities in civilian infrastructures and US government systems,” Clapper told the US House Intelligence Committee.