DIA chief warns of tech threats

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) warned the Senate this week that the threats to America are going to become more diverse and technologically complex as the decade progresses.

Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby, addressing the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Feb. 11, said that the ubiquity of many technologies and the increased accessibility to information on the Internet has somewhat leveled the playing field between the United States and terrorist organizations and smaller nations that would do this country harm.

"New vulnerabilities, interdependencies and capabilities are being created in both advanced and less-developed states," he said. "The globalization of 'R&D-intensive' technologies is according smaller countries, groups and individuals access to capabilities previously limited to major power

The likelihood of attacks against the U.S. information or power infrastructure, coupled with a computer attack, is ever increasing, Jacoby said. The open nature of American society and ease with which technology and information move around the globe make counterintelligence and security difficult.

"Adversaries recognize our reliance on advanced information systems and understand that information superiority provides the U.S. unique advantages," he said. Attacks against information nodes and computer networks "are relatively inexpensive, can have a disproportionate impact on a target, and offer some degree of anonymity.

"I expect this threat to grow significantly over the next several years."

Jacoby warned that the defense intelligence committee is being stretched too thin and is being forced to sacrifice longer-term capabilities in order to respond to current situations.

He concluded by saying that increasing the intelligence transformation process will be the centerpiece of his tenure as DIA's director. That process, he said, is "intended to improve our capability to provide strategic warning, facilitate better effects-based campaigns, provide greater insights into adversaries' intentions, improve preparation of the intelligence and operational battlespace, and more effectively support homeland defense."

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