The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director Scott Berrier concluded the 13th Annual Billington CyberSecurity Summit by discussing where the Federal agency is in terms of its intelligence supporting cyber warfighting, and where it needs to go.

Berrier said that the cyber community is actively having conversations to define how they can grow and move forward with transforming intelligence, and he listed four ways the DIA is planning to do that:

  • Intelligence advantage – seeing first, knowing first, and providing that information to the Department of Defense, he said;
  • Culture of innovation – getting insight from the public;
  • Allies and partnerships – probably the most important effort, Berrier said; and
  • Adapted workforce – recruiting the right talent at the right time and giving them the tools to be successful.

One project they are currently working on, according to Berrier, is replacing an “effective but dated” database that tracks military forces around the world. They are planning to have the newer version – called Machine-assisted Analytic Rapid-repository System (MARS) – running by 2024.

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MARS will be infused with artificial intelligence and machine learning to make it a “much richer program,” Berrier said.

He said that a large gap in the intelligence community right now is not knowing what’s going on inside of cyber facilities and if any networks are being attacked.

“You may know where a cyber facility is physically located, but you really don’t know what activities are going on inside that facility, you don’t know what tools are being taken advantage of, you don’t know what networks are being operated on,” Berrier said.

“When you add the layer of complexity of all the publicly available information, what’s going on on social media,” he continued, “we definitely have to be better.”

There have been several changes in the DIA, he said, and clearly a lot more to come. But, Berrier said, what will never change is the agency’s mission of commitment to military intelligence.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.