The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) by early next year plans to establish a mission group of intelligence analysts and experts to monitor China and its growing threat to the U.S., particularly in the cyber arena, according to an agency official.


The new China Mission Group will function as DIA’s repository for China knowledge and know-how, providing insight necessary insight not just to DIA but also outside partners “for deep expertise” on China, according to John Kirchhofer, chief of staff at the DIA.


“It’s as simple as this, we created a box and we called it China,” Kirchhofer said during a Nov. 29 virtual Intelligence and National Security Alliance event. “If you are in DIA and you’re working in China, you’re in that box.”


Kirchhofer explained that while some in the intelligence community continues to zero in on Europe, and particularly on Russian activity, “that is not where the long-term threat lies.”


DIA plans to move more resources to the Pacific region because the shift in attention to China will help build resiliency in the event of a crisis, and provide some needed redundancy in the event of worst-case scenarios, according to Kirchhofer.


“This is us integrating to the maximum extent possible on an existential threat to the long-term success of the United States,” Kirchhofer explained,


According to Federal officials from the FBI and Homeland Security poses the “greatest long-term threat” to the United States, especially when it comes to cyber threats. Officials have warned that China – among other adversaries – is “growing more aggressive, more brazen, [and] more capable.”


DIA expects the China Mission Group will reach full operational capacity early next year.


“It’s very exciting, and I think that is putting our money where our mouth is,” he added. “It shows our long-term commitment to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and the potential fight against China.”

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.