The White House says it doesn’t care if the Obama administration’s “information assurance” efforts cost jobs or undermine trust.
But the White House’s announcement Wednesday night, when it announced that it will spend $2.7 billion to improve security and improve technology for the nation’s embassies, does provide a glimpse of how President Obama is preparing to confront the growing threats of terrorism from abroad.
The announcement, which followed the resignation of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the killing of three other Americans in Libya, was a surprise, said the White.
But it was “an important part of our strategy to reduce our dependence on external threats, to increase our ability to protect our homeland,” the administration said in a statement.
The administration will focus on “intelligence and law enforcement, cybersecurity, and intelligence-sharing.”
The administration also pledged $4 billion for training and technology upgrades to help the embassies and consulates better protect against terrorist attacks.
“The administration will continue to lead by example in the fight against terrorism,” the statement said.
But aides to the president were not happy with the news.
“This isn’t good news,” said one top aide.
“It’s a lot of money to pay for nothing.
It’s not a lot.”
But administration officials emphasized that the $2 billion was not the same as the $6 billion spent in the first half of last year, the last months of President George W. Bush’s presidency and the beginning of Obama’s.
It will be funded through a combination of grants and other funds.
The president’s budget office is projecting the government will spend roughly $1.6 billion to increase security, and the administration says it will make a similar investment in cyberdefense.
It says it is spending $2 million for an information assurance program to improve the technology for embassies.
The president has been criticized for taking a hard line on Islamic extremists since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and for not taking more aggressive action against the Taliban and other groups that have attacked the United States and its allies.
The attacks, along with the anthrax attacks on the U.S. military base at Fort Hood in Texas, prompted a series of retaliatory measures, including a ban on travel by people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The administration has spent more than $60 billion since the attacks to bolster the U-2 spy plane, the plane that first spotted Osama bin Laden and flew him to Pakistan to be interrogated by the U,N.
The planes were deployed to collect intelligence on the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militants in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
In addition to the new security initiative, the administration announced it will work with partners on cybersecurity, cyberdefense and other issues.
The White House has also announced a series to improve information sharing among embassies.
The plan calls for a “National Information Sharing Framework” to facilitate sharing of data from embassies to the National Security Agency, which has been ordered to provide more information about Americans overseas.
The goal is to build a better understanding of the threats to Americans, the president’s statement said, as well as a better system for sharing information on threats and the ways they are addressed.
The new plan will not include the $3.9 billion earmarked for a new $20 billion cybersecurity program.
The Obama administration has not yet specified how many Americans will be affected by the new initiative, and whether the money will be used for people from those countries.
The White has not said how many embassies will be targeted.
The agency will only say it will provide information on the number of Americans that will be impacted.
The agency has said it will share information with embassies on threats like cyberattacks and the number and type of people who have visited those embassies, including how often they visit.
But the White did not specify how much the information would be used.
The $2-billion spending plan is the first since last fall, when the administration was forced to cancel a planned $2 trillion infrastructure investment for the country.