DoD

Which cyber programs asked for more money ... and which didn’t?

One of the early winners in the Department of Defense’s cyber budget request for fiscal year 2021 appears to be the Joint Cyber Command and Control (JCC2) program, which aims to provide commanders with enhanced situational awareness and to assist in battle management as it relates to cyber.

Defense officials requested $38.4 million for the program in fiscal 2021 budget. Last winter, leaders said they had planned to ask for $11.6 million for the project in 2021.

To date, few details have been available regarding the program and leaders tend not to discuss it publicly. The Air Force, which runs the program on behalf of U.S. Cyber Command, requested the money as part of research and development funds.

According to budget documents, the Air Force’s plans for fiscal year 2020 include developing new capabilities, expanding the program office, building up DevSecOps teams for pilot programs at combatant commands, creating a development environment and infrastructure and integrating situational awareness capabilities.

The Pentagon has also been working on Project IKE, a program which some consider a critical building block of JCC2. Project IKE is expected to offer officials the ability to plan, launch and command cyber operations and forces just as they would in the physical world. DoD officials don’t have such a capability today.

Cyber warriors still don't have a robust cyber planning tool that spans across all services and teams within U.S. Cyber Command. The Air Force and Strategic Capabilities Office is continuing DARPA's work to change that. (MC1 Samuel Souvannason/Navy)
Cyberwarriors lack planning tools. That could change.

Cyberwarriors still don't have a robust cyber-planning tool that spans across all services and teams within U.S. Cyber Command. The Air Force and Strategic Capabilities Office is continuing DARPA's work to change that.

Meanwhile, another apparent winner was a series of programs known as “cyber operations technology development” and specifically the line item, “U.S. Cyber Command technology development.” These program work to expand capabilities that cover common services, access platforms, tools and analytics used by the joint force.

Funding for other major cyber programs remained relatively flat in this year’s request. Those include Unified Platform, which is meant to allow cyber forces to share information, conduct mission planning, and provide the command-and-control tools needed to conduct cyber missions, and the Persistent Cyber Training Environment, which is an online client that members of Cyber Command’s Cyber Mission Force can access from anywhere in the world for training purposes and to rehearse missions.

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