DNI Discusses Intelligence Community’s Role in Cybersecurity at RSA Conference

DNI Discusses Intelligence Community’s Role in Cybersecurity at RSA Conference

Friday, 10 June 2022 16:15

DNI Discusses Intelligence Community’s Role in Cybersecurity at RSA Conference


Story by Adelia Henderson, ODNI Office of Strategic Communications


Every year, the RSA Conference (RSAC) brings together over 40,000 people to collaborate on emerging trends and strategies to best address current and future cyber threats.


At this year’s conference in San Francisco on June 6, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines offered insights into the Intelligence Community’s evolving role in cybersecurity.


During her fireside chat “Rethinking the Cybersecurity Challenge from an IC Perspective” with Michèle Flournoy, Haines outlined how the developing cybersecurity space has changed the threat picture both domestically and abroad, citing critical infrastructure as an example.


“So much of the critical infrastructure that is of interest to us from a national security perspective is in the United States,” said Haines. “We have to make sure that we're actually managing to collect on adversaries as they are trying to attack assets in the United States. Often they're doing so from places within the United States on our infrastructure.”


Haines also emphasized to the audience of 3,000+ the importance of public-private partnerships in protecting cyberspace.


“One of the challenges here is that so much of our critical infrastructure, our cyber infrastructure, is privately owned,” said Haines, “and that obviously has an implication for us in terms of trying to protect it and think about it in the context of national security.”


Haines said that historically, the government has not been good at collaborating with the private sector on challenges, and that must change in the future.


“We could stand to learn a lot from others,” she said. “It's critical to us to make sure that we're keeping those channels of communication open, and that we're also brainstorming together about what responses can be and other ideas for how we can actually affect the challenges we're facing.”


In closing, the DNI told the audience that the IC needs a diverse workforce to better serve the mission.


“Each of you, particularly the Scholars that I met today, have a diversity of thought, of experience, of perspectives that is absolutely critical in the US government right now,” said Haines.


“I just think that we will not succeed in the future unless we have many of you to shake things up for us, and to make us think about things differently.”


As part of ODNI’s ongoing efforts to prioritize recruitment, Haines met with over 50 RSAC Security Scholars from colleges across the nation who are interested in cybersecurity careers. The students asked her questions about opportunities in the IC, leadership, overcoming adversity, and the future of intelligence.