When assessing budgetary needs related to national security issues, it is necessary to single out the most threatening emerging problems in this sphere. The USA faces some security hazards, such as terrorism, production of weapons of mass destruction, extremism, drug trafficking, and cyberattacks (“Understanding the threat” n.d.). The allocation of resources depends on the level of seriousness of each of these factors, as well as their potential to undermine the stability of the country’s defense and security. Hence, the two security-related issues that seem to deserve considerable budgetary support are cybersecurity and terrorism.
Cyber threats are the most serious and fastest-growing in the current stage of the country’s development. According to the National Security Agency, cyberattacks grow in number and severity of their effect on an annual basis (“Understanding the threat” n.d.). Cybercriminals both in the USA and abroad are gaining more and more experience and skills, which they employ to perform their vicious crimes. It is undeniable that the Internet has brought the country a vast majority of opportunities, including personal, educational, and professional.
People rely on the Internet to order goods, make payments, and store their private data. However, along with evident benefits opened up by cyberspace, there are also hidden risks that can cause substantial harm to individual users, organizations, and even the whole system of U.S. security. Hackers’ intrusions, phishing, malware placement, and other illegal activities frequented in cyberspace can lead to disastrous outcomes.
There are two main reasons for cybercrimes: financial gain and the endeavor to gain a political or military advantage over the USA. The cost of cybercrime increases every year, reaching billions of dollars and not likely to stop progressing (“Understanding the threat” n.d.). Whereas financial cybercrime poses a threat to individual users and companies, cyber threats from other nations are the most dangerous for U.S. security. Cybercrimes aimed at obtaining secret military information or data on foreign policies are especially dangerous. To mitigate the risks of cyberattacks, it is necessary to allocate sufficient funds for the specialists working in the sphere of cybersecurity. Without protecting digital data, the USA will not be able to ensure the highest security measures for its citizens and the ministry of defense.
The rationale behind the need to allocate more money to cybersecurity is that currently, there is no overarching framework legislation in the USA that would incorporate an interpretation of all priorities and strategic objectives of this dimension of security. Hence, it is critical to improving the state of cybersecurity, which requires additional financial contributions (Pernik et al. 2016, 7). The protective strategies that have been developed so far offer only a narrow focus on national priorities in cybersecurity questions. Meanwhile, it is of utmost importance to create a reliable and all-inclusive cybersecurity strategy that would make it possible to resist cyberattacks and raise the country’s security to a whole new level.
To increase the awareness of cybercrimes and enhance the ability to protect the country’s resources against them, the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative (CNCI) was created. The CNCI takes measures to defend against a variety of cyber threats, covering such entities as intelligence, law enforcement, the military, and counterintelligence (Pernik et al. 2016, 10). The CNCI pursues its goals by performing the following actions: increasing situational awareness, establishing the possibility of prompt response to cyberattacks and preventing intrusions, improving counterintelligence opportunities, expanding the reach of cyber education, conducting research, and creating preclusion strategies (Pernik et al. 2016, 10).
To fulfill each of these functions successfully, it is necessary to educate and employ specialists, create special programs and software, and arrange the highest level of protection for these measures. Therefore, it is crucial to increase the budgetary spending on cybersecurity to enhance this link in the defense chain of the USA.
Along with cybercrimes, terrorism remains one of the greatest threats to U.S. security. While cyberattacks have gained popularity within the past few decades, terrorist attacks have a much longer and graved history. The scope of terrorists’ activity may frequently be larger than that of cyber criminals despite the former being arranged without the help of the Internet. At the same time, terrorists are becoming more and more skillful in employing web resources to fulfill their disastrous goals (“Understanding the threat” n.d.). Social media are the most favored means of terrorists’ information dissemination.
This fact justifies the selection of the two most damaging issues to U.S. security, as well as their hierarchy. That is, the most important issues to fight against are cyberattacks and terrorism, so the allocation of funds should be concentrated on these dimensions. Terrorist attacks on the USA are often associated with the country’s involvement in international affairs, including its attempts to improve the situation in several failed states (Lynch 2016, 24–25). Apart from this, there is a variety of reasons, however unjustified, why terrorists aim at the USA.
The most dangerous aspect of terrorist attacks is that they target a massive number of people simultaneously. Furthermore, the motives of terrorist attacks are never possible to explain, rage and violence being their major triggers (Snow 2017, 253). Terrorists’ actions result in taking away the lives of many people or destroying property. Sometimes, terrorist attacks aim at impacting the future behavior of the selected target group. During such attacks, terrorists do not kill people but frighten them and the authorities instead (Snow 2017, 254). Whatever plans a terrorist group has, they inevitably end up undermining the social stability and security of a country.
The USA is particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks; hence, it is necessary to allocate more money to anti-terrorism research and actions. By owning sufficient financial support, U.S. security organizations will be able to investigate the matter more deeply, locate terrorists, and prevent the fulfillment of their destructive plans. Hence, this branch of security is the second one in the importance sequence that requires additional costs.
Cybersecurity and protection against terrorist attacks are the most burning issues facing U.S. national security at present. With the advent and rapid development of technologies, criminal activists have gained much more possibilities to fulfill their illegal plans. Every citizen’s life, as well as the welfare of the whole country, is contingent on the effectiveness of security measures taken. Therefore, the allocation of financial resources should be primarily directed on these issues in order to provide anti-terrorism and cyber threat-resistance working groups with the opportunity to have enough funds for purchasing and utilizing the most effective software. Without appropriate funding, these urgent security needs will be impossible to meet, which can lead to considerable national and international security problems.
Lynch, Marc. 2016. “Failed States and Ungoverned Spaces.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 668, no. 1: 24–35.
Pernik, Piret, Jesse Wojtkowiak, and Alexander Verschoor-Kirss. 2016. National Cyber Security Organisation: United States. Web.
Snow, Donald M. 2017. National Security. 6th ed. New York: Routledge.
“Understanding the Threat.” n.d. National Security Agency Central Security Service. Web.