Better integration of cybersecurity capabilities within Human Intelligence (HUMINT) missions is now a key priority for the Intelligence Community (IC).
According to this FCW story, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plans to embed cyber specialists into the agency’s operational divisions, which would help to analyze and mitigate foreign threats to U.S. computer systems.
This effort is part of CIA Director John Brennan’s plan to ramp up the agency’s cyber espionage capabilities and signals potential workforce reorganization changes at the agency.
As this Washington Post article highlights, the new focus reflects a shift away from conventional espionage, which is becoming increasingly outmoded “amid the exploding use of smartphones, social media and other technologies.”
In addition, the CIA is even considering creating a new cyber-directorate, putting the agency’s technology experts on equal footing with the operations and analysis branches. These branches have been the pillars of the agency’s organizational structure for decades.
A challenge for bringing the effort to life is the CIA’s competition with the National Security Agency (NSA) for both budget and manpower. As the FCW discussed, the CIA requested $685.4 million for computer network operations in fiscal 2013, compared with $1 billion requested by the NSA.
Countering emerging threats in the cyber arena will always come with challenges – especially when countering a faceless enemy from rogue nations. As former CIA Director General Michael Hayden discussed last year, cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and more needs to be done to defend ourselves from cyber attacks.
By taking the steps to integrate cybersecurity efforts within HUMINT missions, we are naming the CIA as our latest “GovTransformer.” Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.