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Congress wants more insight into cyber budget

Jan. 23, 2014
Clearing operations in Bahlozi village
U.S. Special Forces soldiers fire a mortar round toward an identified enemy fighting position while assisting Afghan forces clear Bahlozi village in the Maiwand district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province, Jan. 1, 2014. Forces conducted the clearance mission to disrupt insurgents who hide in the village. The U.S. Special Forces soldiers are assigned to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Bertha A. Flores (Staff Sgt. bertha flores / U.S. Department of Defe)

WASHINGTON — US lawmakers have ordered the Pentagon to provide more detailed documentation as to how it spends money for cyber and special operations.

A panel of House and Senate conferees included language requiring more insight into the these areas within a massive trillion dollar 2014 federal spending measure.The conferees want DoD to provide more detailed budget information for US Cyber Command’s operations beginning in 2016 and US Special Operations Command operations and maintenance beginning in 2015.

“The House and Senate Appropriations Committees look forward to working with the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Commander, Special Operations Command, to improve budget justification materials,” conferees said in a report accompanying the 2014 spending bill. “This structure shall be the starting point and may be revised in future years based on mutually agreed upon recommendations.”

Historically, funding for cyber activities and special operations has been vague at best.

“The reality is that we're spending an enormous amount of money, at least $10 billion that we know about,” said Gordon Adams, an American University professor who oversaw defense budgets during the Clinton administration.

“I guarantee you it's at least double that when you include the stuff that we don't know about,” he said.

Zachary Fryer-Biggs contributed to this report.


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