When it comes to cybersecurity, the four-year prognosis laid out by the Untied States intelligence community is stark.
“Nearly all information, communication networks, and systems will be at risk for years to come,” the 2019 national intelligence strategy reads. The strategy, which was released Jan. 22 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is a four-year road-map for the American intelligence community.
While the strategy touches on other topics, such as counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation, cybersecurity is listed as a top priority.
“As the cyber capabilities of our adversaries grow, they will pose increasing threats to U.S. security, including critical infrastructure, public health and safety, economic prosperity, and stability,” the document reads.
The national intelligence strategy singles out China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as the largest nation-stater threats to the United States. It accused those countries of weakening the post-WWII order and taking advantage of “increasingly isolationist tendencies in the West.”
“Our adversaries are increasingly leveraging rapid advances in technology to pose new and evolving threats— particularly in the realm of space, cyberspace, computing, and other emerging, disruptive technologies.”
To combat the rise of cyberthreats, the intelligence community said that it planned to expand its production of public threat intelligence reports of those hacks that target the public sector and critical infrastructure. The focus on public attribution began under the Obama administration, but has expanded during the Trump administration.
Although it is unclear exactly how much of the intelligence community’s budget is dedicated to cybersecurity because those figures are classified, the expectation is that spending may have increased in recent years. The Pentagon’s cybersecurity funding increased by more than $300 million in the last fiscal year, according to data from the White House.
However the national intelligence strategy made clear that budget size was not the only important input. It also highlighted the workforce gap, saying that the intelligence community “must attract and retain the right, trusted, agile workforce that possesses skills such as the critical analytic, scientific, technological, engineering, math, cyber, and foreign language skills required to support current and future mission challenges.”
Justin Lynch is the Associate Editor at Fifth Domain. He has written for the New Yorker, the Associated Press, Foreign Policy, the Atlantic, and others. Follow him on Twitter @just1nlynch.