What you need to know about critical infrastructure protections
Posted On June 16, 2021
The White House has announced the first federal funding for critical infrastructure defense and safety initiatives since President Donald Trump took office in January.
The money is the first of its kind in more than three decades and is meant to support efforts to increase the resilience of critical infrastructure in the face of cyberattacks.
While the White House says the program is not intended to replace current federal funding, the program would provide federal funding to provide up to $4 billion per year for infrastructure protection and safety grants, up from $2 billion per month in the current program.
It would also provide $1 billion for an initial $100 million investment in infrastructure cybersecurity initiatives, up $100,000 from the current $75,000.
“This new investment will provide vital support to our Nation’s critical infrastructure, while providing additional funding to ensure that our Nation remains secure in the event of a cyberattack,” Trump said in a statement.
“It will also help us keep our Nation safe in the future, and the American people are paying the price.”
The Whitehouse also announced that the Defense Department would invest $1.3 billion in cybersecurity training to help combat cyberattacks and the National Security Agency will establish an Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection.
Both the Whitehouse and the Pentagon announced the funding Monday in a joint statement.
The Trump administration has also announced a $50 million funding package to support cybersecurity training and cyberattacks in response to cyberattacks that crippled critical infrastructure last year.
The president’s cybersecurity adviser, Stephen Miller, said in the statement the administration has identified several ways to strengthen cybersecurity.
Trump’s statement was met with immediate praise from the cybersecurity community.
“Trump is putting our Nation first and protecting our vital infrastructure at the same time,” said Paul Keil, executive director of the Association for Critical Infrastructure Technology.
“I commend the WhiteHouse for its bold move and commend the DHS for making it a priority.”
But others are skeptical about the president’s strategy.
“The idea that Trump is going to fund the entire government in order to pay for cybersecurity is absurd,” said Andrew T. Smith, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
“We’re still in the infancy of this thing, and it’s going to take time to build up a response that will keep the United States safe.”
The administration’s initial cybersecurity plan is also unlikely to be popular among cybersecurity experts.
“Funding this is a very bad idea, not only because it would cost money, but because the cybersecurity industry is very reluctant to invest in the Trump administration’s cybersecurity initiatives,” said Michael Vickers, the executive director for the Cybersecurity Coalition, a nonprofit group that advocates for cybersecurity policy.
“You have to be really concerned about how many cybersecurity experts are going to be in the White Houses workforce.”
The president also promised in his statement that he would put a $1 trillion investment in cyber defense in the works.
But the White, House, and Pentagon have said they are still working out how much the money will actually be used for.
Trump said he is also considering additional cybersecurity investments and spending on cybersecurity infrastructure.
“What I am doing is putting in place a Cybersecurity Investment Fund to help make sure that our country is strong and secure,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Monday.
“To be clear, I do not have any money in that fund.
But I am looking at investing it in the right areas.
I have to make sure we’re investing in the areas that have the greatest potential for growth and benefit to our nation.”