President Barack Obama requested $19 billion in his budget for 2017 to address cybersecurity in the United States, $5 billion more than was budgeted for the current year. Today, he issued an Executive Order that will create a commission within the Department of Commerce to be known as the “Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity.”

So, what will $19 billion buy? The President’s proposal calls for a number of measures designed to improve and strengthen cybersecurity. Some examples include:

  • $3.1 billion to update and replace old IT systems, along with a new position in the White House to lead the effort.
  • About $62 million is allotted for more cybersecurity professionals, including funding scholarship programs to strengthen the pipeline for this much needed human capital.
  • Amounts for the classified cyber budget for intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency and the CIA.

The Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity under the President’s Executive Order would have as its mission:

To make detailed recommendations to strengthen cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors while protecting privacy, ensuring public safety and economic and national security, fostering discovery and development of new technical solutions, and bolstering partnerships between Federal, State, and local government and the private sector in the development, promotion, and use of cybersecurity technologies, policies, and best practices. The Commission’s recommendations should address actions that can be taken over the next decade to accomplish these goals.

The Commission will need to consider recommendations for at least the following:

  1. how best to bolster the protection of systems and data, including how to advance identity management, authentication, and cybersecurity of online identities, in light of technological developments and other trends;
  2. ensuring that cybersecurity is a core element of the technologies associated with the Internet of Things and cloud computing, and that the policy and legal foundation for cybersecurity in the context of the Internet of Things is stable and adaptable;
  3. further investments in research and development initiatives that can enhance cybersecurity;
  4. increasing the quality, quantity, and level of expertise of the cybersecurity workforce in the Federal Government and private sector, including through education and training;
  5. improving broad-based education of commonsense cybersecurity practices for the general public; and
  6. any other issues that the President, through the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), requests the Commission to consider.

These actions are designed to affect both the public and private sectors. Accordingly, businesses need to monitor these activities to ensure compliance and that their efforts are consistent with recognized best practices.