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Defense FY 2023 IT and Cyberspace Activities Budget Request Highlights

Published: June 09, 2022

Federal Market AnalysisBudgetCybersecurityDEFENSEInformation Technology

The Pentagon has requested more than $57.9 billion in IT funding for FY 2023, to be spread across unclassified and classified IT and cyber operations.

At the end of March, the Biden Administration released its fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request, the administration delaying its release for weeks as it waited to see how final FY 2022 omnibus appropriations from Congress would impact its current FY 2022 operational budgets as well as plans for the coming fiscal year. While the Department of Defense (DoD) released limited discretionary budget information around the same time, the Pentagon held back all but the most basic details of their information technology (IT) and cybersecurity budgetary plans, until now.

Defense IT and Cyberspace Budget for FY 2023

More than two months after the initial discretionary budget release, the Department of Defense (DoD) has released their FY 2023 Information Technology and Cyberspace Activities (IT/CA) Budget Request Overview, providing general details of what they are currently spending and hope to receive for both their IT and cyber-related efforts in the new fiscal year.

In the IT/CA budget overview, DoD provides some department-wide top-line numbers for the four categories that comprise their total IT budget, which includes National Security Systems (NSS). The Unclassified IT Budget for non-NSS represents DoD spending on IT initiatives listed within the IT Portfolio data available on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) IT Dashboard. For the remaining categories – Unclassified IT Budget NSS, Classified IT and Classified Cyber – topline numbers are all that DoD provides, which has been the most detailed information made publicly available for several years now as an increasing degree of DoD IT program information has been shrouded behind the veil of secrecy.

Across the four budget categories the DoD is requesting $57.9B for FY 2023, up 2.3% from the $56.6B enacted for FY 2022 and a 7.4% increase from the $53.9B spent in FY 2021. It is noteworthy that Cyber consistently accounts for 18-19% of the total DoD IT budget. (See chart below.)

The DoD provides some component-specific budget data as well, although not as granular nor fully aligned to the other data sets. The $57.9B in FY 2023 IT/CA dollars are spread across Defense-wide efforts and the three military departments (MILDEPS), with the Army receiving $16.2B (28%), Navy receiving $12.5B (22%) and Air Force $11.7B (20%). Defense-wide receives $17.5B (30%) of the FY 2023 total. (See chart below.)

DoD Cyberspace Activities Budget

The DoD sub-divides their cyberspace activities (CA) budget into 3 portfolios – cybersecurity, cyberspace operations, and research and development (R&D). The total CA budget for FY 2023 of $11.2B represents an increase of $522M over the FY 2022 Enacted level, which itself is nearly $300M above what DoD requested from Congress in last year’s FY 2022 budget. The FY 2023 Request would be a $1.3B (+14%) increase over the FY 2021 Actual level. (See chart below.)

The DoD further segments the Cyber Operations budget category among funding for Cyber Mission Force (CMF), US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM HQ) and an All Other category. While the overall Cyber Operations budget sees a marginal $29M (+1%) increase for FY 2023 from the FY 2022 Enacted level, the funding increase would be applied unevenly, with CYBERCOM HQ and All Other each receiving 6% increases and CMF reducing by -3%. The FY 2023 request, while effectively flat from the FY 2022 Enacted level, represents a $775M (+23%) increase from the FY 2021 Final level. (See chart below.)

The total CA budget is the one area where DoD provides some year-to-year budget comparisons among the MILDEPs, with every component – except the Army – seeing consistent increases from FY 2021 Actuals through FY 2022 Enacted and into the FY 2023 Request. (See chart below.)

For comparison, federal Civilian departments have requested nearly $10.9B for cybersecurity in FY 2023, versus the $6.6B in total cybersecurity-focused budget dollars in aggregate among the four DoD components. While we are left to guess how that $6.6B is allocated among the components, OMB’s data shows that the ten Civilian departments with the largest cybersecurity budgets for FY 2023 represent more than $8.7B in cyber funding and account for 80% of the total Civilian cyber budget.

Taken together, the total FY 2023 budget request for federal cybersecurity falls at around $17.5B.

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For more analysis on the FY 2023 Federal Budget check out our report, FY 2023 Federal Budget Request: Priorities and Opportunities.