National Security

New intelligence strategy identifies emerging tech as major threat

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday released the strategy meant to guide the U.S. intelligence community over the next four years, placing an emphasis on threats posed by new and emerging technologies.

The 2019 National Intelligence Strategy released by the Trump administration sets forth objectives for the intelligence community in a rapidly changing strategic environment where the United States faces both more traditional threats from nation states and extremist groups as well as burgeoning challenges posed by artificial intelligence, automation and other technologies.

{mosads}“The strategic environment is changing rapidly and the United States faces an increasingly complex and uncertain world in which threats are becoming ever more diverse and interconnected,” the document states. 

Tuesday’s release represents the fourth iteration of the nation’s intelligence strategy. The objectives laid out in it do not differ greatly from those offered in the 2014 strategy document released during the Obama administration; namely, the intelligence community plans to focus on providing intelligence to counter cyber threats, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and the threat from foreign intelligence operations. 

Nevertheless, the document places significant emphasis on threats posed by technological advancements.

“Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, automation, and high performance computing are advancing computational capabilities that can be economically beneficial, however these advances also enable new and improved military and intelligence capabilities for our adversaries,” the strategy states.

“Advances in nano- and bio-technologies have the potential to cure diseases and modify human performance, but without common ethical standards and shared interests to govern these developments, they have the potential to pose significant threats to U.S. interests and security,” it states.

The document also recognizes growing strategic challenges in space and cyberspace, including digital threats that could damage critical infrastructure or impact public safety and economic stability.

“While the [intelligence community] remains focused on confronting a number of conventional challenges to U.S. national security posed by our adversaries, advances in technology are driving evolutionary and revolutionary change across multiple fronts,” the strategy says.

“The [intelligence community] will have to become more agile, innovative, and resilient to deal effectively with these threats and the ever more volatile world that shapes them,” it says. 

Updated at 6:23 p.m.

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