Stacey Dixon, who works as the United States principal deputy director in charge of the national intelligence, stated on October 6 at the GEOINT 2021 Symposium that US intelligence agencies are keen to employ cutting-edge commercial technology and tools, but they require assurances about the security of the data given. Dixon, who formerly served as the deputy director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, said the NGA and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) are increasingly relying on the private sector for analytics and imagery.
“You have a lot of great ideas. “You turn them into algorithms, systems, or platforms which we can purchase,” Dixon explained. Algorithms, systems, and platforms, on the other hand, “are only as good as we’ve demonstrated they are through thorough independent testing and assessment,” she noted. Dixon also stressed the importance of organizations “doubling down in regards of the investments that you’re making to defend your companies, secure your IP, and protect your skills” in light of escalating cybersecurity threats.
Commercial products and services are being adopted by intelligence agencies, and they want to know what actions companies are undertaking to make their products resilient and secure. “We supply intelligence to our clients in settings which are often far from ideal, both during conflict and during peacetime,” Dixon added. “We might be compelled to work with limited data, bandwidth, or even in a degraded environment.” The lives of many people are on the line, and failing is not an option.”
Companies should invest in cybersecurity, insider threat assessments, and network security, for example. “In addition to the fantastic, inventive skills that are being produced and developed,” Dixon added, “those are the things which I want to see.”
Dixon also stated that intelligence agencies must take steps to strengthen industrial engagement. “While the benefits of government engagement have remained large, the responsibilities and restrictions enforced by the government have also remained significant,” Dixon added. “We’ve progressed from a period in which the government was the largest consumer to a period in which competition reigns supreme.” Government must maintain to pivot in order for this vital industry to thrive, and to remain your most ardent backer, if not necessarily your largest funder.”
Dixon singled out the commercial remote sensing license procedure, which he described as “slow, opaque, and burdensome.” The Intelligence Community Commercial Space Council was established in October 2020 by the Office of Director of the National Intelligence to help address the problem.
“ODNI brought together all of the diverse IC space interests so that our community could engage the DoD (Departments of Defense), State, Interior, and Commerce with a single voice,” Dixon said. “We want to build a comprehensive and coordinated policy that will boost the commercial remote sensing community’s economic potential.” Working with the IC, these agencies were able to cut the time it required to examine new licensing in half in less than 3 years.”