Cyber Funding in Energy’s FY 2020 Budget Request

Published: March 28, 2019


Over $600M of Energy’s $31.7B budget for FY 2020 is dedicated to cyber-related initiatives.

The budget request for the Department of Energy totals $31.7B, nearly an 11% decrease from FY 2019 dollars. For the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), $16.5B has been requested, about an 8% increase, to support the current nuclear stockpile. Meanwhile, the Offices of Science ($12.3B) and Energy ($2.4B) face decreases of 12% and 59%, respectively, from FY 2019 levels. The reductions in funding are largely due to the administration’s stance in keeping applied energy R&D in the early-stages (a $2.4B savings from FY 2019) while transferring activities to the private sector thereafter. Decreases are also due to proposals of elimination for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy and DOE Loan and Loan Guarantee Programs.

Despite the decreases, Energy’s budget is filled with cyber initiatives to protect both the agency’s enterprise and national grid from attack. Specifically, the budget lists over $600M in cyber funding for FY 2020, $157M to the relatively-new Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) office and $444M for DOE enterprise cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

FY 2020 funding for CESER is a $35.5M increase from FY 2019 levels to improve energy sector cybersecurity. CESER’s responsibilities include the delivery of tools and technologies to help secure energy utilities and reduce the risk of cyber-attack with innovative systems designed to “automatically detect, reject, and withstand cyber incidents, regardless of the threat.” Aside from a program direction account, funding under CESER is largely split among two accounts: Cybersecurity for Energy Delivery Systems (CEDS) and Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration (ISER).

Funding for CEDS totals $75M to focus on “enhancing the speed and effectiveness of threat and vulnerability information sharing, including bi-directional machine-to-machine information sharing, and accelerating game-changing R&D to mitigate cyber incidents.” Key programs under CEDS in FY 2020 include:

  • AI/ML techniques to assist in critical energy infrastructure to automatically respond to cyber threats without disruption in energy delivery
  • $10M for an Advanced Threat Mitigation initiative to detect and mitigate high-risk threats faster by improving the efficiency of public-private information sharing
  • $10M for prototype cyber solutions to reduce cyber risk to energy entities delivering power to military and government installations

Funding for ISER totals $70M, a $51M increase in FY 2020, to coordinate a national effort to “secure U.S. energy infrastructure against all hazards, reduce impacts from disruptive events, and assist industry with restoration activities.” Key programs under ISER include:

  • $30M to establish a national physical energy system and testing capability to detect threats such as electromagnetic pulses and geomagnetic disturbances
  • $15M to support the energy delivery system testing and analysis laboratory
  • $2M to expand EAGLE-I capabilities through integration with existing models, data sets and machine learning
  • $2M to increase technical assistance to state, localities, tribes and territories in protecting significant energy supplies

DOE Enterprise Cybersecurity

The budget describes the $444M for DOE enterprise cybersecurity as a $35M increase from FY 2019 levels. Of this figure, $78M is provided to the Chief Information Officer to improve cyber capabilities such as Virtual Datacenter services and Desktop-as-a-Service and providing enhanced security tools and products. The remaining $366M is divided among other program office cyber budgets, including $234M for NNSA cybersecurity.

Under NNSA’s “Cybersecurity and Information Technology Account,” a majority of its cyber dollars ($208M) is provided to continually modernize capabilities for DOE labs and the NNSA Assurance Response Center. Other FY 2020 initiatives under this account include:

  • Strengthening enterprise network security by addressing gaps at the NNSA Information Assurance Response Center (IARC)
  • Enhancing the 100 sensors and 70 data acquisition servers at IARC for continued real-time network defense and incident response services
  • Maturing continuous monitoring capabilities across NNSA to provide strong cyber awareness to senior leadership.

The budget also describes FY 2021 to FY 2024 milestones set for the cyber account under NNSA:

  • Implement solutions for audit recommendations identified through DISA and CSSP assessments
  • Develop a classified wireless network for non-pit production facilities and complete phase I security architecture of the Wireless Pit Production Network
  • Develop and implement the DHS Continuous Diagnostics Program dashboard
  • Complete security architecture of classified wireless network
  • Develop a cyber program budget re-baseline analysis
  • Establish Centers of Excellence to improve cyber operations throughout NNSA
  • Implement a modernized network solution to address current supply chain and software assurance issues