The United States Cyber Command (CYBERCOM) is responsible for the nation’s joint cyber warfighting architecture, and its executive director said this week that additional budget authorities extended to the command under the fiscal year (FY) 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will allow for more aligned joint training and advanced training of cyber operators, according to the CYBERCOM Executive Director.

CYBERCOM Executive Director Dave Frederick said the command will get those full additional budget authorities in 2024, giving the agency more control of joint cyber budgeting responsibilities. The command is preparing now to be ready when those authorities go into effect.

“The 2022 NDAA authorized or assigned a responsibility for the command to have a broader budget authority over investments that are occurring at the joint level and at each military service level related to our cyber capabilities,” Frederick said at the Defense One Tech Summit June 14.

“We’re going to be responsible for a bigger role of managing those budget decisions and tradeoffs,” Frederick added. “And so, we’ve got a lot of work underway right now in our finance” and other  requirements “to be ready for that responsibility.”

At the moment, his office is working with the Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Officer and the DoD Comptroller to identify and align the current joint cyber funding across the services. Oversight of those budgets is currently done at the service level, but the new budgeting authority will change that.

Part of those new responsibilities will put CYBERCOM in charge of joint cyber workforce training.  Frederick said CYBERCOM will handle advanced joint cyber training, while basic training will continue to be handled by the different military services.

“The strategy going forward will be that the military services will provide the basic levels of training for new cyber operators and cyber analysts, and Cyber Command has got joint responsibility – responsibility to provide the joint-level advanced cyber training,” Frederick explained.

“That’s an area where we will be looking at the current investments that were previously split across the services and bringing that together, and achieving some improvements in terms of efficiency and effectiveness through kind of managing it at the joint level,” he added.

Frederick said the new budget authorities will also allow CYBERCOM greater budget control over the DoD’s Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture. The architecture is currently made up of four programs, managed by four separate military services. CYBERCOM will soon have increased budget authority over those programs, bringing those into its growing portfolio – which will also include smaller projects that deliver weapons, tools, and sensors that are currently being managed by the services, and a rapid innovation unit that does work with the Defense Industrial Unit and industry.

“What enhanced budget controls are going to allow us to do is to better align those activities and ensure that we’re putting our dollars against the most important priorities, and we’re able to kind of adjust over time because the cyberspace environment is changing every day,” Frederick said.

“We have to have a really agile system,” he said. “It’s not a system where we’re building aircraft carriers or fighter jets. It’s really about data, software, and a need to really integrate all those capabilities very rapidly. So, budget control will give us an ability to move the dollars around more effectively to achieve the key national priorities for the cyber force.”

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.