U.S. Intelligence Community Releases 2019 Strategy

Today in Security: U.S. Intelligence Community Releases 2019 Strategy

​The U.S. intelligence community will prioritize innovation and information sharing in an effort to become more agile and maintain superiority over foreign adversaries, according to the 2019 National Intelligence Strategy (NIS).

“This strategy is based on the core principle of seeking the truth and speaking the truth to our policymakers and the American people in order to protect our country,” said U.S. Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats in a statement. “As a community, we must become more agile, build and leverage partnerships, and apply the most advanced technologies in pursuit of unmatched insights. The 2019 NIS provides a roadmap to achieve this end.”

​Coats released the strategy on Thursday. It is designed to guide the direction of the nation’s 17 intelligence community elements for the next four years.

“Traditional adversaries will continue attempts to gain and assert influence, taking advantage of changing conditions in the international environment—including the weakening of the post-WWII international order and dominance of Western democratic ideals, increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West, and shifts in the global economy,” the strategy said.

The United States continues to face threats from its traditional adversaries of Russia, China, and North Korea. However, they will leverage advances in technology to pose “new and evolving threats—particularly in the realm of space, cyberspace, computing, and other emerging, disruptive technologies,” the strategy explained. “Technological advances will enable a wider range of actors to acquire sophisticated capabilities that were previously available only to well-resourced states.”

In cyberspace, for instance, threat actors will continue to use cyber methods to challenge public trust in institutions, governance​, and norms.

“As the cyber capabilities of our adversaries grow, they will pose increasing threats to U.S. security, including critical infrastructure, public health and safety, economic prosperity, and stability,” the strategy said.

This analysis is consistent with recent survey findings from​ the Pew Research Center, which discovered that most people say cyberattacks on national information, public infrastructure, and elections are likely.

“When it comes to the likelihood of cyberattacks, most say that an attack where sensitive national security information will be accessed is either very or somewhat likely (or volunteer that this has already happened),” according to Pew. “A median of 74 percent across the 26 countries hold this view.”

And of those surveyed, Pew found that Americans were most likely to say cyberattacks will happen that will damage public infrastructure, tamper with elections, or compromise national security information.

Americans may have this perception due to the discovery that along with election meddling, Russia has already compromised third-party vendors to gain access to power companies’ systems.

​ “Once inside the computers…the hackers modified code in the systems to record information about power grid operations,” according to previous coverage by Security Management. “The operatives wrapped up their scouting mission by carefully covering their tracks, leaving questions as to whether malware remains on affected computer systems. The intrusion also raises concerns about what exactly the Russians were trying to accomplish—the official report is vague about what impacts, if any, the attack has had on the electric grid, or what might come next.”