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DOD Leaders Share Their Intelligence Threat Assessments

June 11, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

The fiscal year 2022 Defense Department's $715 billion budget request includes $23.3 billion for the military intelligence program and defense intelligence leaders addressed the capabilities and gaps of military intelligence.

Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security Ronald Moultrie; Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency, and chief of Central Security Service; and Army Lt. Gen. Scott D. Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, provided testimony at a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations hearing on fiscal year 2022 defense intelligence enterprise posture.

Troops put up a tent.
Field Training
Members of 102nd Intelligence Wing participate in a field training exercise held on Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass., June 9, 2021.
Photo By: Senior Airman Junhao Yu, Air National Guard
VIRIN: 210609-Z-WU509-495
A woman in a military uniform types on a laptop.
IT Specialist
Army Spc. Josephine Lunde, a communications IT specialist, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, completes a host analysis scenario at a cyber defense engagement at the Sheraton Hotel, Djibouti, Feb. 17, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Senior Airman Taylor Davis
VIRIN: 210217-F-YK577-1049

The intelligence professionals at the Defense Department work every day to address the current and future threats facing the United States, said Moultrie.

The department develops its military intelligence program in coordination with the director of national intelligence to align the intelligence capabilities between defense and national priorities, while avoiding unintentional duplication, he said.

The expansion of the competitive space beyond traditional military domains and geographic boundaries increases and complicates demands for defense intelligence, collection, analysis and planning, he said.

Challenges from strategic competitors such as Russia and China, rogue states such as Iran and North Korean, and violent extremists require that the defense intelligence enterprise invest in the ability to seamlessly share and fuse information, synchronize capabilities and expand partnerships with other government agencies, the private sector, academia and partner nations, he said.

The department is taking a whole-of-government approach, which includes reviewing classification processes, pursuing wider dissemination of classified information through alliances and partnerships, and the thoughtful release to the public of certain unclassified information to support U.S. interests, Moultrie said.

The department is focused on countering insider threats through better vetting procedures and protecting its vital supply chain, he said.

"Most important to our continued intelligence advantage will be building and retaining a diverse workforce capable of meeting the new challenges of the 21st century. It must have digital literacy and advanced skills to harness emerging technologies and adapt to ever changing threat environments. It must be a workforce that is free of sexual harassment and intolerant of violent extremism, at any level, and it must also be equitable, inclusive and one [that] reflects the nation it serves," he said.

Moultrie also mentioned that the department will work closely with allies and partners in sharing intelligence.

Nakasone said the NSA's focus is on two missions: signals intelligence and cybersecurity. The signals intelligence mission achieves access to adversaries' network and data, which provides the nation with an information advantage in competition crisis or conflict.

A man climbs a tower.
High Climb
Harley Campbell, 96th Communications Squadron, begins his climb up a 90-foot training tower Feb. 25, 2021 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. Campbell is part of the Cable and Antenna Systems Section of the 96th CS, known as “Cable Dawgs.” They are responsible for the upkeep and protection of the base’s cyber infrastructure.
Photo By: Samuel King Jr., Air Force
VIRIN: 210225-F-OC707-0704C
A man works with network gear.
Cyber Engineer
Stan Woodford, 2nd Audiovisual Squadron chief cyber engineer, prepares the squadron’s mobile production truck to livestream a Space Force induction ceremony at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Feb. 5, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Jazmin Granger
VIRIN: 210205-F-WS125-0002

The cybersecurity mission prevents cyber threats to U.S. national security systems and critical infrastructure, with a special emphasis on the defense industrial base, and weapons security, he said.

The NSA's military intelligence program provides resources for vital cryptologic capabilities to increase the ability of the defense intelligence enterprise to deliver accurate and timely intelligence to combatant commanders and deployed forces, he said.

Berrier said today's threat environment reflects rapid, significant technological change in adversarial challenges in every operating domain. 

"I am committed to ensuring DIA is positioned to meet these challenges by modernizing key capabilities across the top secret IT network, our foundational military intelligence mission and our ballistic missile technical collection architecture," he said.