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
“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
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.”