William J. Burns, director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), detailed some of the most important actions that they are undertaking to deter foreign adversaries in the realm of cybersecurity at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit on September 8.


One of these actions that Burns expressed his support for was being able to share information with allies against foreign adversaries, which he attributes has helped with the war in Ukraine.


“When President Biden had decided very carefully and very selectively to make public some of our secrets, it’s played a very effective role over the last six months, and I think it can continue to, again, if we make it the exception, not the rule,” said Burns.


“I think on many other missions around the world, that sharing of intelligence, and doing emphatically quickly with our partners, is a really important tool or instrument of American national security policy, declassified intelligence parts of it and making it public is a different kind of tool,” said Burns


Burns also stipulated that part of helping to deter foreign adversaries is partly led by private technological innovation and that government and private industry must continually work to foster these relationships.


“I think 60 or 70 years ago, the truth was, the US government was investing very heavily at the height of the Cold War and lead in research and development. And so, you know, the federal government to some extent drives innovation, but then again, as all of you know better than I do. It’s the private sector today that drives innovation,” said Burns.


Burns also ended his discussion on standing up to foreign adversaries by making it clear that government agencies need to find more ways of retaining talented individuals in the cybersecurity sector.


“We face a real challenge and building greater flexibility and how we connect better with the private sector. We’re never going to be able to match the private sector salaries or, you know, economic benefits that you can find,” said Burns.


“What we can offer though, are fascinating problems to solve along the lines of what we were discussing before, we can also provide a significant group of people to try and solve those problems with smart dedicated people and an opportunity whether it’s for short periods of service or a whole career,” said Burns.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.