The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) is planning to make enormous changes to the agency with a new focus on cyber crime.
In what is seen as one of the biggest changes to the agency in its 70 year history, the CIA director John Brennan has said that the agency will be focusing effort firmly on cyber operations and incorporating digital innovations.
According to a report by Reuters, Brennan said he is creating new units within the CIA, called “mission centres,” intended to concentrate the agency’s focus on specific challenges or geographic areas, such as weapons proliferation or Africa.
He added that the CIA is to establish a new “Directorate of Digital Innovation” to lead efforts to track and take advantage of advances in cyber technology to gather intelligence.
The changes within the CIA are to attempt to keep up with the rapidly changing landscape of technology.
According to Reuters, Brennan said the new digital directorate will have equal status within the agency with four other directorates which have existed for years.
He said: “Our ability to carry out our responsibilities for human intelligence and national security responsibilities has become more challenging”
“And so what we need to do as an agency is make sure we’re able to understand all of the aspects of that digital environment.”
The increase in digital warfare being used not only by rouge states such as North Korea but also by terrorist groups such as Islamic State has meant that the world of terrorism has changed dramatically and the CIA need to be able to keep up with the threats that are being posed constantly.
Brennan said that he believes that the 10 new mission centres will work to draw together all of the expertise across the agency to help focus action and target specific areas more effectively.
According to Reuters, the competition between spy agencies and between units within agencies has led to “stove piping” of information that should have been widely shared and to critical information falling through bureaucratic cracks, Brennan and other U.S. intelligence officials said. It is hoped that this could be a way to prevent this culture from continuing into the future to the detriment of the USA as a whole.
“I know there are seams right now, but what we’ve tried to do with these mission centers is cover the entire universe, regionally and functionally, and so something that’s going on in the world falls into one of those buckets,” Brennan said to Reuters.