CIA Director John Brennan delivers remarks at GWU intel conference series
On October 27, CIA Director John Brennan delivered the opening remarks at the Conference on the Ethos and Profession of Intelligence, held at George Washington University. An excerpt of his speech appears below.
CIA began this annual conference series last year with an event at Georgetown University. We did it because, like any other part of the US Government, the Agency and our Intelligence Community partners must have the trust and confidence of the citizens we serve in order to carry out our mission.
Earning that trust requires that we get out and explain our work, articulate our values, and lay out our fundamental motives and objectives. And the fact is, there are many aspects of our profession beyond the clandestine sphere that lend themselves to public discourse.
So in addition to providing an opportunity to engage with the people we serve, this conference provides a forum from which we can benefit from outside views and gain a better perspective on the issues we confront.
. . .
Before we begin our panel discussions, I want to say a few words about what CIA is doing to prepare for the challenges of the 21st century. For as interesting as these challenges are to discuss, what ultimately matters is the steps we are taking to address them. And I am proud to say that at CIA, we are already putting many of the ideas you will hear about today into action.
As many of you know, nearly eight months ago we launched our Agency Modernization Program. It is essentially CIA’s blueprint for the future. It draws on best practices from across the Intelligence Community and from the private sector, on issues ranging from how we develop our workforce to how we integrate our capabilities and expertise.
Our plan is driven by two fundamental shifts in the national security landscape that I alluded to earlier:
- The first is an increase in the range and complexity of the challenges confronting our Nation’s policymakers.
- The second is the technological advances that are transforming the world in which we live and operate.
Our Modernization Program is designed to give us the capability and the agility to thrive in this new age. On October 1st, we achieved a key milestone in our program with the establishment our new Directorate of Digital Innovation—our first new Directorate since the 1960s—which will accelerate the integration of our digital and cyber capabilities across all our mission areas, while infusing those capabilities throughout the Agency.
On the same day, we also stood up our ten Mission Centers: six focused on regions, like Africa and the Near East, and four focused on functional issues, such as counterterrorism and counterintelligence. These centers exemplify the integrated way that CIA will work in the future.
In the months and years to come, these changes—combined with the other elements of our Modernization Program—will help CIA harness all our strengths so we can better address the full spectrum of national security threats. They will make our relationships with our IC partners and our counterparts overseas more streamlined and more effective. And they will enable the Agency to do an even better job of operating in the multidisciplinary and ever-more technical environments that come with our mission today—and that will be even more prevalent tomorrow.
Director Brennan’s full remarks are available here.