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NSA, Intelligence Community Leaders Lift Veil on Strategic Priorities During 2022 Intelligence and National Security Summit

Approaching eight months following Russia’s initial attack on Ukraine, the IC leaders provided an assessment of our adversary’s capabilities.

National Security Agency (NSA) Deputy Director George Barnes recently sat alongside leaders from five Intelligence Community (IC) counterparts to discuss the IC’s response to current events, emerging threats, and collaboration between government, industry, and academia at the 2022 Intelligence and National Security Summit.

When each panelist was asked to discuss how their Agency’s focuses have shifted in the year since the previous summit, Mr. Barnes detailed NSA’s commitment to building a world-class workforce to prevail in strategic competition.

“The workforce of the future has many choices … We are trying to reengineer the way we engage with our future,” he said, emphasizing how attracting a next-generation workforce is critical to continuing NSA’s mission success.

The two-day annual summit, held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland’s National Harbor, featured more than 70 exhibitor booths from government, industry, and academia — including NSA. Summit attendees filled hundreds of seats in the primary ballroom for the IC leader’s panel, titled “Strategic Intelligence Challenges.”

‘A Coalition of Nations’

Panel moderator J.J. Green, national security correspondent for Washington, D.C.’s WTOP Radio, maintained a heavy focus on one of our Nation’s and the world’s most prominent, unpredictable threats: Russia.

Approaching eight months following Russia’s initial attack on Ukraine, the IC leaders provided an assessment of our adversary’s capabilities.

“I believe Russia planned for an occupation, not necessarily an invasion,” said LTG Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. “That has set them back because they underestimated the Ukrainian will to fight.”

Navy Vice ADM Frank D. Whitworth III, director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, agreed with Berrier’s remarks, adding that although Russia initially underestimated Ukrainian pushback, they are still able to pivot.

“They’ve become a learning organization, and they adjust,” Whitworth III said. “We’ll see what comes next. We’re going to be vigilant no matter what.”

Underscoring the IC’s vigilance, Mr. Barnes detailed NSA’s focus on preventing potential Russian cyberattacks as they continue to struggle on the ground in Ukraine.

“Things aren’t working out too well on the ground [for Russia]. So we continue to watch for indicators they will exert influences, capabilities, or technologies they have,” he said. “They’re extremely capable, as we’ve seen in their operations against others.”

Mr. Barnes also emphasized ongoing efforts by NSA and the greater IC to thwart potential Russian cyberattacks and malign influence as we approach the 2022 midterm elections in November.

“Year round, we are focused on the cybersecurity risks they pose to the U.S. and our allies,” he said. “We are continuing to look at [the elections] to make sure that, as they’re watching Ukraine, they’re not planning attacks elsewhere.”

The IC leaders drew parallels between the behaviors of Russia’s government pre-attack on Ukraine and increasing tensions with China concerning Taiwan.

“One of the most powerful things we have is a coalition of nations exerting pressure on Russia for its behavior,” Mr. Barnes said. “China is watching very closely to see what the repercussions would be.”

NSA’s Exhibit Booth: ‘A Crowd Favorite’

For the duration of the summit, a dedicated team manning the NSA booth welcomed hundreds of attendees to learn more about the Agency’s missionpotential career opportunities, or how their small businesses could collaborate with NSA.

“Thank you so much for being here and helping attract the talent we need,” Mr. Barnes said to the NSA group when he visited the booth on day two of the summit. “I’m so happy to hear that NSA has been a crowd favorite,” he added during the panel.

Small business owners, college students, IC employees, and many more flocked to the NSA booth during the summit. As Mr. Barnes stopped by, NSA’s hub was also visited by Dr. Chris Scolese, director of the National Reconnaissance Office.

“This looks great, you guys are doing a fantastic job,” Dr. Scolese said, acknowledging the NSA team for attracting attention and spreading the word about the Agency’s mission.

Conference attendees expressed their gratitude for the wealth of knowledge the NSA team shared with them.

“I learned more about NSA in this five-minute conversation than I ever have before,” one guest said.

Mr. Barnes commended the team’s efforts to help build the Agency’s diverse, expert workforce — a top priority for NSA leaders.

“I can’t express enough how valuable this is,” he said. “It means so much to have a strong, dedicated team behind us every day.”

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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