The Senate Appropriations Committee released the remaining nine fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding bills and included various funding bumps for cybersecurity, as well as funding for artificial intelligence (AI) and microchip development programs.

The committee’s print boosts the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) $62 million more than estimated for cyber activities, creates a $500 million program to increase tactical applications of AI across the service branches, and funds a pair of microelectronics programs, with the nation facing a shortage.

“This defense bill strengthens our military and ensures the brave men and women that protect this country have the resources they need to keep Americans safe. It makes key investments to address the most pressing needs of our military, so we don’t lose ground to our adversaries,” Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said in the print’s summary.

“It also makes common-sense cuts to underperforming programs and instead focuses on ensuring that our troops are well trained and well equipped with the most up-to-date technology. It’s critical that we work together to move this bill forward to protect our nation,” Tester added.

The funding increase for DISA is to be used to help harden the Department of Defense (DoD) from cyber threats. The bill also gives a $23 million increase to the U.S. Cyber Command for training improvement, and an additional $70 million for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to push initiatives on AI, cybersecurity, and data analytics.

The $500 million for AI programs across all the military branches is paired with another $100 million to the DoD to help recruit, retain, and develop the talent necessary to advance the department’s use of AI.

The committee also makes significant investments in microelectronics. The print appropriates a $230 million bump for “trusted and assured” microelectronics, totaling $739.2 million, as well as a $44 million increase in funding for microelectronics technology development and support, totaling $204.82 million.

The committee also gives an additional $80 million more than the president’s budget request for DARPA’s Electronics Resurgence Initiative 2.0. The White House requested $330.5 million for the microelectronics program at the DoD research and development arm; the budget appropriates $410.5 million for the program.

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