FBI gets $18.6 million to beef up cybersecurity capabilities

President Obama signed into law this week a fiscal year 2012 spending bill that provides the FBI an extra $18.6 million to create 42 new positions, including 14 special cyber agent positions, and beef up training to improve its cybersecurity capabilities.

In April, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General said that the FBI’s field offices lack the skills and expertise to investigate cybersecurity intrusions. The audit also found that many field offices are facing a shortage of forensic investigators, intelligence analysts and tactical intelligence.

In the conference report accompanying the spending bill, Congress said that the money was intended “to further the bureau’s investigatory, intelligence gathering and technological capabilities to address malicious cyber intrusions and protect critical infrastructure in the United States from cyber attacks.”

In addition, the funding should be used to expand the training of FBI cyberagents involved in national security intrusion cases. “Such training should focus on increasing the number of agents qualified to understand current techniques and tactics used by those engaged in illicit cyber activities, and respond to shortfall identified” by the audit.

The conference report also directed the FBI to produce an annual national cyber threat assessment for Congress.

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