The CIA officially launched its new cyber-focused directorate today , capping a massive internal reorganization that intelligence officials say will also include the agency’s first ever creation of six regional command centers aimed at streamlining U.S. spying activities across the globe.
The establishment of the new Directorate for Digital Innovation (DDI) marks the first time in more than 50 years that the agency has formed a new directorate, and it is expected to be a cornerstone of CIA Director John O. Brennan’s legacy at the agency.
Yet, while CIA officials have touted the DDI’s creation as the mantelpiece of an internal reorganization that has been occurring behind-the-scenes for months, it is the formation of the new “mission” centers — including ones for counterintelligence, weapons and counterproliferation, and counterterrorism — that is most likely to shake up the agency’s personnel around the world.
In sum, the reorganization includes the creation of 10 separate centers: six of which have a regional-based focus — Africa, East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Eurasia, the Near East, South and Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere; and four of which have a mission-based focus — counterintelligence, counterterrorism, global issues, and weapons and counterproliferation.
But it is the creation of the DDI that is likely to garner more attention, as cyber espionage has taken center stage in the intelligence world in recent years — especially in light of massive hacking incidents that U.S. officials blame on China, North Korea, Iran and a host of non-state actors.
CIA Director John Brennan was quoted in the statement as saying: “The Modernization effort is about much more than changing the way CIA is organized; it is about how we work together every day to bring the best of the Agency to the challenges we face. This kind of change will take time.”