Observations on Air Force Cybersecurity Investments in FY 2019

Posted by John Slye on May 22, 2018

Analysis of the U.S Air Force fiscal year 2019 budget request indicates that they intend to spend $1.25 billion on programs using cyber technologies.

With each yearly federal budget release, Deltek’s Federal Market Analysis team thoroughly reviews the Department of Defense’s Procurement and Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation (RDT&E) budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year to identify what information technology investments are planned. Using a set of targeted keywords, FMA identifies programs that invest in certain technologies of interest to industry contractors. These technology “verticals” include cloud computing, big data analytics, cybersecurity/weaponry, and others. FMA’s analysis of the DOD’s fiscal 2019 budget request reveals that the United States Air Force intends to spend $1.25B in FY 2019 on programs which use cyber technology in one way or another.

Identifying the specific cyber- spend in each individual program is imprecise due to the ambiguous way that the Air Force and the DOD report budget request data. Therefore, as you consider the following information please keep in mind that the numbers presented here are the requested budget amounts for programs that plan to use cyber technology for a specific purpose (e.g., security, information assurance, battlespace capabilities, modeling, training, etc. etc.). The numbers presented here should not be considered the Air Force’s entire cyber capabilities budget (defensive and offensive) for FY 2019. In fact, since many of these capabilities will fall within the classified side of the DOD budget the numbers here are likely a significant understatement. They are best viewed as indicators of how and where Air Force program offices intend to use cyber-related technologies and services and the potential amounts they could spend on them.

Largest Programs

The table below lists the Air Force programs with a cyber component that we could identify arranged largest to smallest in dollar terms for FY 2019. The totals provided are from the Air Force Procurement and RDT&E budget requests, implying that the related efforts may include new work that could be available to industry if a contract for products or services is competed.

Summaries of Top 5 Programs

  • Cyber Operations Technology Development ($254M for RDT&E) – FY 2019 funding for Defensive Cyber Operations provides focused, agile cyber defense forces to provide mission assurance by maneuvering within high-value, mission OEF networks and systems to assure unobstructed successful operations.
  • Acquisition Workforce-Cyber, Network, & Business Systems ($232M for RDT&E) – FY 2019 funding is to procure student mission training systems (hardware, software, infrastructure, and facility modifications) supporting Information & Cyber Operations training needs of approximately 700 students per year. Cyberspace Force Application PEC 028087F - P-40A Funding procures specialized hardware/software necessary for real time deployment as Cyberspace network attack tools.
  • Communications Security Equipment (Comsec) ($114M for Other Procurement) – FY 2019 funding supports operations to include but not limited to USAF OCO units, the Cyber Mission Forces, COCOMs, and other authorized agencies. Funding procures specialized hardware/software necessary for real time deployment, exploit identification, tool development, and testing in an environment simulating real-world operational infrastructures and enclaves. Funding also is used for the upgrade and modification of the USAF operated cyber test and training range, operated by the 346th Test Squadron under the 688th Cyber Wing.
  • Assessments and Evaluations Cyber Vulnerabilities ($99M for RDT&E) – FY 2019 funding will procure upgrades for the Cyberspace Security and Control System (CSCS) and Air Force Internet Control (AFINC) system based on urgent requests. CSCS includes, but is not limited to Vulnerability Management, Area Processing Center and Regional Data Center Consolidations, and Installation Processing Nodes Assured Compliance Assessment Solution (ACAS) upgrades. AFINC includes, but is not limited to, Gateway e-mail security/DNS upgrades.
  • Cyber Resiliency of Weapon Systems-ACS ($63M for RDT&E) – FY 2019 funding will procure updates for Air Force Cyberspace Defense (ACD) which includes, but is not limited to, Host Based Security System upgrades, Data Analytics, and hardware/software upgrades to move toward the Joint Information Environment (JIE).

Conclusions

The Air Force’s cybersecurity and related cyberspace efforts focus on hardening cyber defenses and increasing cyber-based theater dominance and mission assurance as well as training and capability development. The diversity and scope of efforts reflect the centrality of cyber-capabilities to the Air Force mission and the permeation of networked technologies across weapons system, platforms, and communications.

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