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Countering cyber threats through digital innovation

By Chasen Thoennes Defense Intelligence Agency


Optimization and innovation are major topics this week at the 2018 Defense Intelligence Agency Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Worldwide Conference. 


Andrew Hallman, deputy director of CIA for digital innovation, stressed the need to optimize the intelligence community and modernize the user experience for the way people actually work.


“The national security threats that we face, which are increasingly represented within the digital domain, are growing in size, range, number, speed and complexity,” Hallman said, Aug. 14 to conference attendees. 


He went on to detail how the power to destabilize no longer lies solely in the hands of nation states. Conflict within the cyber domain is initiated and conducted by both state and non-state actors and cyber actors are aided by the commercialization of offensive cyber weapons. 


“We face an existential battle for truth in the digital domain, we see it in the news every day, fueled by malign actors’ attempts to put at risk our most cherished institutions of democracy in our daily political, social and economic discourse, as well as our electoral process,” Hallman stated. 


Hallman also highlighted the dangerous side of data.


Data is inherently dual use and like many other benefits of mankind, it is also being weaponized,” said Hallman. “The airplane was not originally designed as a weapon of war, yet it fundamentally influenced every aspect of the world’s battle space, and so too has data.”


Hallman added that to counter this threat, today’s digital battle space will require continuous evolution and adaptation of intelligence at an even more rapid pace. In order to accomplish this, he underscored the need to further develop the intelligence community’s anticipatory analysis infrastructure by leveraging tools such as automated intelligence and machine learning to collect, analyze and disseminate information in real time. Speed in decision-making is a necessity in today’s cyber environment.


Hosted annually, DoDIIS is the largest intelligence community conference that brings together experts fromgovernment, military, industry, and academia in order to tackle the information technology challenges and complexities impacting the mission user.