IT and Networks

The Pentagon wants to boost its spending on classified IT

The Pentagon asked for an additional $1 billion in classified IT spending in its fiscal 2020 budget request, continuing a nearly decade-long trend of shifting more IT dollars into restricted or sensitive systems.

In fiscal year 2015, the Pentagon spent about $6 billion on classified IT programs. That figure is expected to reach $11.4 billion by fiscal year 2024, according to budget documents released in April.

This year, Defense leaders asked for $10.967 billion, a nearly 10 percent hike in classified spending from fiscal 2019. The larger request comes at a time when the Pentagon’s overall IT budget is shrinking. The department’s request for fiscal 2020 is about $800 million less than the fiscal 2019 request.

During the last decade, the Pentagon has gradually shifted more money into the classified realm. In total, the Pentagon expects classified IT programs would constitute about 26 percent of all DoD IT spending in fiscal 2024. That’s up from about 16 percent in fiscal 2015.

For perspective, the amount of money the Pentagon wants to spend on classified IT is significantly more than any single civilian agency is expected to spend on IT next year.

The government does not include details about classified budget programs, except to say that the money is used to address “cyberspace activities” and other IT initiatives and resources. A spokeswoman for the Department of Defense’s Chief Information Officer declined to offer further information.

However, in the last year, officials from the National Security Agency, Defense Information Systems Agency, U.S. Cyber Command, as well as the under secretaries for intelligence, acquisition and research met with leaders from the Pentagon CIO’s office. Their goal was to use the budget to “significantly improve cyber’s ability” to support the National Defense Strategy and “bolster successful DoD mission execution even in the face of sophisticated cyber adversaries,” according to budget documents from the Office of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation.

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