Commission presses for greater focus on intelligence community R&D

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A commission charged with reviewing intelligence community research and development efforts argues that the United States risks losing its technological advantage in key areas such as cryptography and massive data analytics.

In the unclassified report (.pdf) posted online by Secrecy News, the National Commission for the Review of the Research and Development Programs of the U.S. Intelligence Community argues that a global diffusion of R&D, along with increasing sophistication abroad, will be increasing challenges to American national security.

Among other finds, the commission says that there currently exists inadequate intelligence R&D strategic planning. The intelligence community has spent the last decade supporting immediate military necessities, at the cost of strategic endeavors, the report says. The positions of assistant deputy director of national intelligence for science and technology should be consolidated into the position of the director of science and technology within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, it adds, and Congress should give the ODNI authority to annually reprogram R&D funds into new or existing projects without prior notification.

The intelligence community should also improve its comprehension of foreign science and technology development strategies, and use that knowledge to develop its own requirements and programs, the report says.

"Foreign countries' growing expertise and proficiency in a number of emerging or potentially disruptive technologies and industries--gained either by improving their own capabilities, by using surreptitious methods, or by taking advantage of an erosion of U.S. capabilities and U.S. control over critical supply chains--have the potential to cause great harm to the national security of the United States and its allies," the report says.

It also calls for intelligence agencies to develop collection methods that take advantage of "fast-forming and low-signal threats, including 'do-it-yourself' capabilities and economic espionage," and to augment its existing talent pool through innovation sharing with other government agencies, academia, national laboratories and the private sector.

For more:
- download the report from Secrecy News (.pdf)

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