The Department of Defense has asked for $58.5 billion in fiscal 2024 to support its IT and cybersecurity activities across unclassified and classified domains, according to new budget overview materials released this month.
That $58.5 billion — $45 billion across unclassified and classified IT investments and $13.5 billion for DOD-wide cyber activities, which DefenseScoop previously reported on in March — would be a bump up from the $55.2 billion the department received for fiscal 2023. The department describes the budget as “steadily increasing” year over year.
While the Biden administration’s budget proposal released in March gave some insight into defense IT and cyber programs the Pentagon wants to support in 2024, this topline number for total IT spending was previously unreleased.
The breakdown shows that the vast majority of this requested IT/cyber budget would go toward business, infrastructure and battlespace support, and cyber security operations. The remaining portion would go to cloud and artificial intelligence activities, though other organizations across the DOD like the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) support other efforts in those spaces. The DOD asked for $1.8 billion for AI and machine learning, per earlier budget documents.
With these numbers, it shows that top-level IT and cyber make up just 7% of the DOD’s larger $842 billion budget request for fiscal 2024.
Despite low funding — $2.3 billion — relative to other categories of IT spending, cloud and software modernization are heavily featured in the overview materials.
“Today’s warfighters require a cloud environment capable of greatly accelerating speed to capability, providing assured cybersecurity, and rapidly adapting to changing mission needs. As a key component of the DoD Digital Modernization Strategy and the DoD Software Modernization Strategy, DoD will accelerate cloud adoption via a cloud smart policy by ensuring that there is a mature portfolio of cloud contracts and enabling cloud adoption through automation for the DoD to transition to cloud computing. The cloud funding within the IT/CA budget steadily increased over the last 5 years, representing a fundamental Department shift towards the adoption of cloud services and the reduction of legacy infrastructure,” the overview reads.
The total request shows the scale of Pentagon IT operations compared to the civilian side of government. Across dozens of civilian agencies, the White House requested $74 billion for their IT functions in 2024.