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DOD Slashes Funding for US Cyber Command’s Hunt Forward Missions

Reduced funding for

hunt forward ops

DOD Slashes Funding for US Cyber Command’s Hunt Forward Missions

The Department of Defense is significantly reducing funding for the so-called hunt forward missions, which are foreign operations carried out by the U.S. Cyber Command to fend off hackers targeting other nations.

The DOD is only asking $147.2 million for the operations for fiscal year 2022, marking a big cut from the $431.6 million budget request in FY2021, C4ISRNET reported.

Budget documents show that funding for equipment used in these operations dipped by $2 million. The current budget request for hardware and software required to equip “hunt forward kits” is at $9.5 million. In comparison, the FY2021 budget was at $11.6 million.

USCYBERCOM began the hunt forward missions in 2018. In 2020, the combatant command conducted 11 such operations in nine countries to provide election security.

An undisclosed number of cyber experts were sent to Montenegro last year to gain insights into cyberthreats from adversaries before the elections in the country. Montenegro is a recurring target of Russian hackers, with espionage group APT28 identified as culprits behind cyberattacks on the country’s government agencies and media outlets in 2016 and 2017.

While the budget for hunt forward missions saw a large decline, funding for USCYBERCOM’s Joint Cyber Command and Control system is poised for a significant increase.

The FY2022 defense spending plan for the system is set at $79 million, which more than doubles the $38.4 million budget request in FY2021.

The JCC2 system helps USCYBERCOM plan missions by providing situational awareness, battle management capabilities and information about cyber forces’ readiness levels.

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Category: Cybersecurity