The Department of Homeland Security is proposing a $1.9 billion cybersecurity program to help train workers for cyber attacks, according to a new cybersecurity budget document.
The Department’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence is tasked with developing a strategy for countering the threat of cyberattacks, according a statement from the Department of Commerce released Wednesday.
“Our goal is to prepare employees for cyberattacks so that they can perform their jobs more effectively, and protect the homeland and the American people,” the statement said.
The department will provide the funds for training and development of cyber defenses to the federal workforce, it said.
Cybersecurity training, training for employees and staff to identify and mitigate threats to cybersecurity infrastructure, cybersecurity operations and cybersecurity education programs will be supported by the Department’s Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Office.
The program also calls for additional training to state and local governments on cyber and cyber defense issues.
The Cybersecurity Strategy, released in March, called for strengthening cybersecurity capabilities, including bolstering training for cybersecurity professionals to recognize, respond and mitigate cyber attacks.
In March, the FBI reported that more than 2,700 cybersecurity breaches occurred in the first quarter of 2019, including more than 6,000 breaches of the federal government.
A separate report released last month found that the United States is home to nearly 300 active cyber attacks that affect more than 7 million people and organizations.
A report released in September by the cybersecurity firm FireEye found that at least 11 percent of the nation’s internet-connected devices are now connected to the internet via insecure means.
In the first half of 2019 alone, cyberattacks accounted for almost $2.1 trillion in damages.
“These are serious times, and the need for cyber defense is a critical element of our defense strategy,” DHS Secretary John Kelly said in a statement.
“We need to have the tools to help us do our jobs better, protect our homeland and protect our economy.”
Kelly said the administration will provide an additional $400 million to help pay for the cybersecurity training.
“It is vital that we develop the skills and knowledge needed to protect our Nation’s infrastructure and our nation,” he said.
“This is not just about cyber security.
This is about the future of our Nation.”