Intelligence agencies are looking for commercial equipment that is durable and dependable

Stacey Dixon, who works as the United States principal deputy director in charge of the national intelligence, stated on October 6 at GEOINT 2021 Symposium that US intelligence agencies are keen to employ cutting-edge commercial products and technology, but they require assurances about the security of the data given. Dixon, who previously worked as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s deputy director, said the NGA, as well as the National Reconnaissance Office, are increasingly relying on the private industry for imagery and analytics.

“You have a lot of great ideas. “You turn them into algorithms, systems, or even platforms that we can purchase,” Dixon explained. Algorithms, systems, and platforms, on the other hand, “are only as good as we’ve demonstrated they are through thorough independent testing and assessment,” she noted. Dixon also stressed the importance of organizations “doubling down in respect of the investments which you are making to defend your firms, protect your IP, and protect your skills” in light of escalating cybersecurity threats.

Commercial services and products are being adopted by intelligence agencies, and they want to know what actions firms are taking to ensure their products are safe and resilient. “We supply intelligence to our clients in settings which are often far from ideal, both during conflict and during peacetime,” Dixon added. “We might be compelled to work with limited data, bandwidth, or even in a degraded environment.” The lives of many people are on the line, and failure is not even an option.” Companies should invest in cybersecurity, insider threat assessments, and network security, for example.

“In addition to the fantastic, inventive skills that are being produced and developed,” Dixon added, “those are the stuff that I want to see.” Dixon also stated that intelligence agencies must take steps to strengthen industrial engagement.

“While the gains of government engagement have remained large, the responsibilities and restrictions enforced by the government have also remained significant,” Dixon added. “We’ve progressed from a period in which the government was the largest consumer to a period in which competition reigns supreme.” Government must remain to pivot in order for this vital industry to thrive, and to remain your most ardent backer, if not necessarily your largest funder.”

Dixon singled out the commercial remote sensing license procedure, which he described as “slow, opaque, and burdensome.” The Intelligence Community Commercial Space Council was established in October 2020 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to help address the problem.

“ODNI brought together all of the diverse IC space interests so that our community could involve the Departments of Defense (DoD), State, Interior, and Commerce with a single voice,” Dixon said. “We want to build an effective and coordinated strategy that will boost the commercial remote sensing community’s economic potential.” Working with the IC, these agencies were able to cut the time it takes to examine new licensing in half in less than 3 years.”

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