The Central Intelligence Agency is creating a new directorate focused on cyber operations as part of major structural reorganization the agency announced Friday to, in part, “leverage the digital revolution” across U.S. intelligence missions worldwide.
The new “Directorate of Digital Innovation” will underpin other major changes that CIA Director John O. Brennan said focus on a goal of revamping the agency’s relevance in an increasingly Internet-driven and cyber-connected world.
In a presentation to reporters this week, Mr. Brennan said he also will create other new units within the CIA, called “mission centers,” intended to concentrate on specific challenges or geographic areas, such as weapons proliferation or Africa, according to Reuters.
However, the new cyber operations appear to the most significant development within the wider restructuring. A statement circulated Friday by the CIA’s office of public affairs said Mr. Brennan told agency employees in an internal memo that “we must place our activities and operations in the digital domain at the very center of all our mission endeavors.”
“To that end, we will establish a senior leadership position to oversee the acceleration of digital and cyber integration across all of our mission areas,” Mr. Brennan said in the memo.
The National Security Agency (NSA) is considered the top U.S. intelligence operation for cyber-related activities, including electronic eavesdropping. But officials say the changing world has triggered growing calls for digitally-focused change within the CIA — particularly since Mr. Brennan took over in 2013.
Mr. Brennan said this week that the new digital directorate will have equal status within the agency with four existing directorates, which include a general directorate of intelligence, a national clandestine service, a directorate of support and a directorate of science and technology.
“Our ability to carry out our responsibilities for human intelligence and national security responsibilities has become more challenging” in today’s digital world, Mr. Brennan said this week, according to Reuters. “What we need to do as an agency is make sure we’re able to understand all of the aspects of that digital environment.”