A group of tech trade groups is telling Congress that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) needs a larger budget next year to start putting in place long-term security improvements to meet the rising tide of sophisticated cyberattacks against government and industry.

The trade groups – including the Alliance for Digital Innovation, the Information Technology industry Council, CompTIA, the Cybersecurity Coalition, and the Internet Association – urged in a May 19 letter to the Senate and House Appropriations committees to allocate an additional $750 million for CISA in Fiscal Year 2022.

“Over the last year alone, our country’s government agencies and private sector companies have been attacked repeatedly by both nation actors and cyber criminals seeking to steal our nation’s intellectual property and harvest our most sensitive information,” the letter says.

“We were encouraged by Congress’s $650 million investment in CISA as part of the American Rescue Plan; however we recognize that this was meant as an immediate, one-time capital infusion,” the letter says. “While this quick injection of capital will be used to address immediate short-term challenges, it represents only a tiny fraction of the long-term investment needed to build and empower CISA to meet the challenges of protecting our nation’s federal agencies as well as our critical infrastructure.”

Specifically, the coalition is asking Congress to allocate the additional $750 million to CISA as part of its “050” budget allocation – the National Defense budget function. If that’s not possible, the groups requested a similarly sized increase via another route.

The trade group said the additional budget allocation would allow CISA to accelerate and expand the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program, invest in more cybersecurity professionals,  upskill its workforce, and promote adoption of zero trust security architectures.

The groups also said the CISA budget should continue to grow over the next decade until it reaches an annual operating budget of $5 billion. CISA currently operates on a yearly budget of around $2.02 billion.

“This robust and sustained funding will allow CISA to invest in the capabilities it needs to meet the challenges of defending and hardening our IT and communications infrastructure,” the groups said. “Our daily life, economic vitality, and national security depend on a stable, safe, and resilient digital infrastructure. Defending and hardening that digital infrastructure should be of the utmost priority to Congress,” they said.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.