ODNI releases top officials’ joint statement for the record on foreign cyber threats to the US
On January 5, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released the joint statement for the record from DNI James Clapper, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Marcel Lettre, and Adm. Michael Rogers, NSA director. This statement formed part of their testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. An excerpt of the unclassified statement follows:
Perhaps the most significant counterintelligence threat to our nation, both currently and in the future, involves the rapid development and proliferation of disruptive, advanced technologies that provide adversaries with capabilities that even just a few years ago were not considered plausible. Sophisticated technical collection through a variety of means is available to more adversaries than ever before and can occur virtually anywhere and involve telephones, computers, Internet, cell phones, wired and wireless networks, as well as conversations and activities in offices, homes, vehicles, and public spaces. Disruptive technology is being built and fielded at an unprecedented rate, and we are already dealing with the consequences of a hyperconnected world. The complexity of technological advances, both in the tools themselves and the methods used to compromise them, necessitates a much greater technical and cyber literacy than what was required of us even five years ago.
As we face this ever-changing cyber threat environment, the Intelligence Community and U.S. Cyber Command have been hardening internal U.S. Government systems, increasing knowledge and awareness among industry and the community, and engaging more closely with a host of partners to share best practices and threat information. The National Security Agency, in particular, has taken aggressive measures to hire and retain the cybersecurity talent needed to operate in this challenging environment. In addition, Cyber Command leverages the capacity and capabilities of 133 Cyber Mission Force teams that are responsible for synchronizing and executing cyber operations to support combatant command operations, and for the defense and security of service component and Department of Defense Information Networks. Cyber Command has established close working relationships with both international and interagency partners and stands ready to support a whole of nation response. The National
Counterintelligence and Security Center’s (NCSC) innovative public awareness campaign has resulted in placing numerous short informative videos on its public-facing website concerning cyber and associated threats, which are of immediate, practical use to federal, industry and community partners alike. NCSC also established a National Counterintelligence Task Force for Critical Infrastructure to coordinate counterintelligence efforts to mitigate this threat.
While many government organizations can make a unique contribution to securing our networks and the nation, no one agency has the capability to do so alone. The security of systems and networks is not the responsibility of one person or one agency or one industry, but rather requires a whole of nation response and a culture of cybersecurity among all users of the information space across private and public sectors.
The Intelligence Community and U.S. Cyber Command have been working to provide the Secretary of Defense and DoD policymakers with effective options for operational cyber responses to threats to U.S. interests. This remains a work in progress, and we welcome the assistance of this Committee in ensuring that we have the resources and authorities to succeed in this mission.
The full statement is available here.