DNI Coats: Optimizing Technology Essential to Intelligence Community

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Monday that the intelligence community (IC) will be prioritizing a comprehensive cybersecurity posture, machine-augmented intelligence, and modern data management as “foundational priorities” in the coming years, following a year-long reexamination of the IC known as the IC2025 initiative.

In a joint statement with Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Susan Gordon, Coats said that intelligence agency leaders are in alignment on achieving these optimized technology goals due to the expanding threats they are witnessing.

“The IC leadership has a shared vision,” the two intel leaders said. “We know the IC has never been better or more integrated, but our current best may not be good enough to address future competition.”

They noted that IC2025 brought together the “entire community” to ensure “that the IC is positioned to stay ahead of the diverse, complex, and growing threats facing the nation.”

In total, Coats and Gordon articulated six foundational priorities they called “essential to mission success”:

  • Augmenting Intelligence Using Machines
  • The Right, Trusted, Agile Workforce
  • Comprehensive Cyber Posture
  • Modern Data Management and Infrastructure
  • Private Sector Partnerships
  • Acquisition Agility

“These are key initiatives that IC leaders agree we must pursue together to realize our vision and enable mission,” they said, adding that the priorities are reflected in the Consolidated Intelligence Guidance for the FY2020-24 budget.

Other leaders of intelligence organizations recently said machine learning, automated insights, and deep learning are transforming the way the IC acts on credible information and spoke with cautious optimism of the new opportunities afforded by technology.

Together, Coats and Gordon charged all IC officers with thinking more critically about how they do their jobs.

“We would like every IC officer to think about this vision and apply it in your work. Identify opportunities to improve processes and scale up innovations. Apply capabilities to the highest priorities. Share and fuse information,” they said. “We know what we need to do. Now we need the courage and unity of purpose to get it done.”

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