The CIA is planning one of the largest reorganizations in the agency's history, The Washington Post reports. CIA director John Brennan unveiled the plans in a press briefing today, saying the agency will focus more on cybersecurity issues and digital espionage. In addition to undergoing a massive structural overhaul, the CIA will create a new "Directorate of Digital Innovation" to track advances and threats in cyberspace.
"Our ability to carry out our responsibilities for human intelligence and national security responsibilities has become more challenging," Brennan said. "And so what we need to do as an agency is make sure we’re able to understand all of the aspects of that digital environment."
It's an attempt to "cover the entire universe."
Brennan ambitiously called the plan an attempt to "cover the entire universe" and ensure that intelligence doesn't fall through bureaucratic cracks when moving between agency units.
The announcement comes amidst several controversies that have rocked the CIA recently. It's only been a few months since the agency was caught lying about the details of US torture, and this past summer it admitted to spying on Congress.
But the plan seems more concerned with responding to threats against the US than fixing the CIA's internal problems. Among the changes outlined today is the creation of 10 new "mission centers" that will pair spies with intelligence analysts and focus on areas like counter-terrorism, espionage, and weapon storage, The New York Times reports. Brennan hopes to remove confusion about which agency limbs are responsible for tracking certain threats. Thousands of spies will be reassigned.
The White House has backed the plan, but some intelligence officials see the reorganization as short-sighted. Mark Lowenthal, a former senior CIA official, said the reorganization "is not going to go down smoothly." He claimed the plans lack a focus on the future and too strongly prioritize day-to-day concerns.
This is the government's latest step towards improving cybersecurity. Last month, the Obama administration announced the creation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC), a 50-person agency responsible for analyzing and coordinating responses to cyberthreats.
The CIA has teased these changes for months, but today is the first time the agency has laid out its plan in detail. No time table has yet been announced for the reorganization.