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New Tool for Looking at Federal Cybersecurity Spending

With malicious hacking and other cyber threats on the rise, Taxpayers for Common Sense recently turned our attention to how much the federal government spends to keep us safe from cyber threats and where it spends that money.  Our analysts spent two years reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of federal budget documents in an attempt to answer those questions. When it comes to cyber spending, of this much we are sure: The federal government spends a boatload of money. How many billions Taxpayers can’t say for sure given the government’s propensity to fold cyber spending into overall programs, without a detailed breakdown. In fact, the Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. House of Representatives recently complained about the lack of clarity in government budget documents on one small piece of cyber spending, cyberspace. The Committee had this to say: “While the Service and defense-wide budget justification material, as well as the Department of Defense classified cyberspace activities information technology investments budget justification materials, provide some level of detail, much of the funding is encompassed within larger programs and funding lines, which limits visibility and congressional oversight of requested funding for cyberspace activities specifically.” Congress goes on to direct the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer to modify exhibits relating to cyberspace activities. So, given that one of the most powerful Congressional committees in Washington has trouble getting clarity on cyberspace spending, we believe this research comes at just the right time. We settled on providing the best picture we could develop from extensive research of government programs. Taxpayers created this database to give the public insight—sometimes penetrating, sometimes not, depending on available government data we could scrub—of what individual federal agencies spend to protect its many cyber secrets.

  • This database presents information on unclassified federal cyber spending from Fiscal Year 2007 to Fiscal Year 2016. Dollar figures are actual numbers through 2015.  Fiscal year 2016 numbers are estimates included with President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget request. All figures are in thousands of dollars, and are in current dollars (not adjusted for inflation)….”

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