Obama Budget Funds Cybersecurity Action Plan

The Obama Administration's new 2017 budget, unveiled Tuesday (Feb. 9), includes investment in a new Cybersecurity National Action Plan and the creation of a commission to recommend "enhancing cybersecurity awareness and protections inside and outside of Government, protecting privacy, and empowering Americans to take better control of their digital security."

The budget allocates $19 billion in federal resources for cybersecurity, an increase of more than a third (35%) over 2016. It creates for the first time a chief information security officer. "With this Budget, a pivotal moment is reached in the approach to the cybersecurity challenges facing the Nation," the Administration said.

It also creates a Federal Privacy Council as "the principal interagency forum to improve the Government privacy practices of agencies and entities acting on their behalf."

It will comprise senior privacy officials from government agencies--though initially not including independent agencies like the FCC and FTC. But the White House did say that the committee may invite participation from officials at independent agencies.

The President said in a message accompanying the budget that the action plan includes "retiring outdated Federal information technology (IT) systems that were designed in a different age and increasingly are vulnerable to attack, reforming the way that the Federal Government manages and responds to cyber threats, and recruiting the best cyber talent."

He said those moves will strengthen cybersecurity in the private as well as public sector.

He said companies and consumers both need those tools to protect themselves.

The budget also spends $62 million on cybersecurity education programs.

"We applaud the White House's new national action plan to strengthen our country's defenses against cybersecurity attacks that threaten our online privacy and our economy," said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement. "The security of our digital economy and individual privacy requires end-to-end protection at every level and device connected to the Internet. We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress and others in the private sector to implement the most advanced cybersecurity protections and practices, and raise awareness of how individuals can best protect themselves online."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.