Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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CIA Joins 21st Century|With Digital Directorate

(CN) - Citing "fundamental shifts in the national security landscape" and the break-neck pace of tech advances, CIA Director John Brennan said the nation's spy agency will soon get its first digital innovations directorate.

In a message to CIA employees made public last week, Brennan said the double-edged sword of the digital revolution "holds great promise for mission excellence while posing serious threats to the security of our operations and information, as well as to U.S. interests more broadly."

The new Directorate of Digital Innovations will be tasked with speeding the CIA's digital and cyber capabilities, Brennan said. It joins four other longstanding directorates responsible for clandestine operations, analysis, spy gadgets and logistics.

Brennan said the time has come for the CIA to "modernize the way we do business," especially in light of recent high-profile cyber attacks by North Korea and Iran on U.S.-based businesses.

"The pace of world events and technological change demands that agency leaders be able to make decisions with agility, at the appropriate level, with the right information, and in the interests of the broader enterprise," Brennan said. "We must have the capacity to make the sound strategic decisions needed to build a better agency and run it efficiently, even as we respond to urgent external requirements. We must empower our officers to address the operational, analytical, technological, support, and other issues that are at the heart of what we do every day."

To that end, the agency will also set up 10 "mission centers" with regional and issue focuses that will bridge the gap between the directorates and enable better sharing of information, Brennan said - an ongoing problem even after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and subsequent recommendations for reform by the 9/11 Commission.

The changes will be made "as rapidly as possible," Brennan said.

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