A U.S Cyber Command wish list shared with Congress shows $236 million worth of unfunded priorities, including about $168 million to support its Cyber Mission Force, a group of 6,200 personnel charged with conducting offensive and defensive cyber operations.
The administration’s fiscal year 2023 spending request for Cyber Command did not include the unfunded priorities, and were shared as Congress begins to weigh its $773 billion budget request for the Pentagon next year.
The $168 million to support the Cyber Mission Force comprises the bulk of the unfunded priorities and is especially significant. The CMF includes 133 teams that defend Defense Department networks, support military objectives, provide analytic support to combat missions and defend U.S. critical infrastructure.
The unfunded priorities list that Cyber Command provided to Congress notes that the $168 million would be used to enhance operational support to these teams and pay for advanced cyber training. The CMF teams were added to Cyber Command in 2015 but were not fully operational until 2018. They are made up of military personnel from across the Defense Department.
The unfunded priorities document notes that the money is needed to enhance “operational support to each of the Joint Cyber Warfighting Architecture (JCWA) components to provide critical cyber capabilities.”
Additional unfunded priorities include $56.4 million to integrate JCWA to ensure the CMF reaches command-and-control readiness levels and to “ensure that the program elements supporting JCWA are aligned with strategic priorities that affect operational outcomes in and across cyberspace.”
Cyber Command and National Security Agency chief Gen. Paul Nakasone recently told lawmakers that JCWA is critical because it standardizes the DOD’s cyberspace operations capabilities, which allows Cyber Command to “integrate data from missions and monitoring to help commanders gauge risk, make timely decisions and act against threats at speed and scale.”
The unfunded priorities list closed with $12.1 million that Cyber Command says it needs to accelerate “planned growth” of Cyber Command’s “organic cyber intelligence capability to gain unique access to strategic competitor targets,” the document states.