President Obama has announced that his fiscal year 2015 budget request includes $45.6 billion in “base discretionary funding” for the National Intelligence Program — a drop of about 5.3 percent below last year’s request — even as the Administration continues to consider the line-item by line-item details of the intelligence budget request to be classified. The president originally requested $48.2 billion for fiscal year 2014.
“The Budget highlights key NIP-funded activities but does not publicly disclose detailed funding requests for intelligence activities,” says an overview document posted on March 4 on the Web site of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The president said his intelligence budget request would enable the Intelligence Community to:
- Make decisions informed by the most accurate intelligence available;
- Support military operations around the world by addressing both current and future needs;
- Protect federal computer networks, critical infrastructure and the national economy by “adapting to evolving cyberspace capabilities”;
- Enhance information sharing by expanding the government’s use of the IT cloud to increase efficiency and improve data security.
The White House underscored the notion that its intelligence budget request will be sufficient to enable the Administration to pursue three of its key intelligence-related reforms: (1) supporting the new presidential policy directive that governs signals intelligence collection (essentially reining in NSA’s collection of telephone metadata); (2) “rightsizing” the Intelligence Community’s workforce, while simultaneously preserving critical current and future mission capabilities; and (3) reducing the size of “lower priority programs” to enable investments in the “most critical National Intelligence capabilities. “Savings are achieved by reducing personnel, eliminating legacy capabilities, scaling back operations on lower priority missions, and implementing new solutions for the delivery of information technology services,” explains the document.
The president’s overview suggests that the nation’s Intelligence Community will continue to counter weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and disrupt terrorism. “The IC continues to lead operations to defeat Al Qaeda and other violent extremists, penetrate and analyze targets of interest, identify and disrupt counterintelligence threats, and provide strategic warning to policymakers on issues of geopolitical and economic concern.”
Similarly, the IC will continue to have the capability to play a key role in informing military strategy and decision-making. “The IC provides situational awareness for military leaders, particularly as needed for force protection, targeting support, and other timely and actionable intelligence.”
To facilitate information sharing, the president’s budget request, will accentuate the sharing of IT capabilities and services by supporting an integrated cloud hosting environment.
“The Budget represents a focused effort to address the most critical national security requirements while accepting and managing risk within a constrained fiscal environment,” says the document.