tv INSA Intelligence Conference Sue Gordon Remarks CSPAN September 20, 2017 7:20pm-8:01pm EDT
provider. principal deputy director of national security sue gordon outlined her agency's top priorities during intelligence and national security summit in washington recently. this includes a north korean nuclear threat and the iran nuclear deal. the intelligence and national security alliance and the armed forces communications and electronic association hosted this 40-minute summit. >> thank you, jill. and as sue and i were listening to that introduction we agreed we saved the best for last. and of course, representing formerly, formerly -- one of the great agencies. indeed, sue, it's perfect to see you again and congratulations. >> thank you. >> on your new position. i think it's been a little over a month. >> it has. >> so -- >> i thought i would be better by now but i'm working on it. >> yeah.
so confirmed on the 4th of august, a little over a month but of course you have been in the intelligence community for a few more years than a little over a month. so let's jump right into this. how would you characterize the sta state? what is working well and what do we need to improve on? >> great question, before i answer, let me offer the apologies for the director. he really wanted to be here. unfortunately, maybe as a sign of the times in terms of how this administration views intelligence he had a principal's meeting that he had to go to. why was the principal's meeting set today? it's because i wanted to be here and i have 30 years of pretty slick trade craft. so -- keeping to his bad luck it was actual purposeful design. so here is what i would say about the community. i'm old, and i've seen a lot.
we have never been better. the capabilities that we bring to bear are as stunning as any i've seen, and i've seen a lot. the level of integration that we effect throughout the community is the best that i have ever seen. and if you ask me one of the most exciting things that has happened in the last five years was the inclusion of fbi that they have made as an intelligence partner and what that allowed us to do as adversaries figuring out coming to the united states, basic challenge for the intelligence services and this department has seen a lot of great things. so we're awfully good and we're not good enough. intelligence is the business of
advantage. that is really fundamentally what we do. and for all of the work that we are doing boy, it's tough to stay ahead. i think what we're doing well, is each organization is advancing its capabilities in a tough environment. i think operating in a digital environment that is increasingly transparent to adversaries that may see you and what we have to do to be able to understand that. i think about the cia and the challenges of operating the world where you must be who you are. because of what has happened in terms of what they know. i think about mga and the challenges of harnessing the
potential that you can only imagine in the past and yet you still have to figure out how to do it and i could go on and on. so i think one of the challenges, just, the continued growth in each of our disciplines that make up the whole. we're not fast enough. we're not -- the overhead we impose on ourselves is great, in a world where speed matters. not casualness. but effective speed. when we have business processes that don't keep up and we have barriers to effective sharing, we put ourselves at a disadvantage in a world where information and speed and analysis is the premium. >> sue, along those lines we had a panel earlier this morning about acquisition reform. >> yep. >> and we actually just heard the directors of the agencies
talk a little about that. and in fact, kevin minors was a part of that panel. and he coined, i believe kevin coined this, crtc, cost, realism, technically credible, as opposed to the state lpca. what can be down from the dni's perspective on truly getting to the acquisitions, stream lining the aca acquisitions? >> three things, clarity admissions, what are we trying to accomplish? i know we like to beat on the mechanisms that we have but there are many types of mechanisms if you know what you want to do and you can articulate it. one of the things we want to add is to be incredibly clear on where we need to go for the future. second thing is environment where the new capabilities can
be added more quickly. i'm not going to talk a lot about eyesight but the imperatives of having a place where we can insert capabilities quickly, securely and bring the admissions quickly, the dni i think we can do that, to provide the foundation for collective efforts, i think we can do. the third thing is to really work on the issue of risks. it still feels that we acquire things as though those are going to be the things that last forever so we better make should be we have it right. in my estimation we have to be right enough. because things are moving so quickly that if you know, software and hardware solutions changes six months to a year and it takes us six months to get something together, so we have to be more thoughtful about the risks that we are taking. again, this is something that the dni and i can do to help
level set what we're willing to accept by the processes that we by and large set the stashndard for. >> okay, good, three very specific things. not going to talk about eyesight there. >> we can, but -- >> you also did mention integration, which of course was a focus for your predecessor. so is that still part of the dni's and your decision continuing on integration. >> heck, no, we think that we should all go our way alone. do not treat that -- it's a joke, humor, lighten up. in the intelligence community, you can be this way. so i -- integration is our life line. and let's talk about -- the dni has a pretty simple but
difficult to achieve responsibility. the first is to make sure the best of the intelligence community is brought to bear at the moment of decision, right? not one voice or perspective. not one person adding something, we bring the best we have to offer. that is the fundamentals of integration. update you and you do it for a purpose, it's measurable. that is what especially the dni and i have. the second responsibility is to make sure we created an environment where each of our crafts can expand as they need, in other words to help clear the way. that, too, is a different kind of integration, and adds to the processes and policies that govern in a way to make sure we are established in a way to work. so i see no dimmunition of integration. i think where we can still grow is we are viewing information as
additi additive. let's bring them altogether and create the sum of what we have. the next step is to learn how to create together. to create -- do something new that each one couldn't do alone. so i still think there is growth we can do and how we think about integration. that is our imperative with the dni. we just surveyed the community on the question of what the dni does well and what it does not do well. and i think we got as close to -- as wherever we're going to get to a mandate to exert leadership and the notion of bringing things together for a new purpose so we'll push on that really hard. >> that is good, getting that feedback. and you -- you just touched on this a little bit. and i had a up can -- couple of folks ask if you could talk about two reviews under way. there is an internal odi and officials review. and then there is also the future of the community. so if you could talk about
those, please. >> so i think if we all went to our separate rooms and talked about what -- we could kind of all come to the same conclusion, that fundamental premise that we've always had, and this is my paraphrase, knowing the truth, being beyond the horizon and allowing our policymakers to add before the event dictates. is pretty constant. i think one thing that has changed we moved from a world of data scarcities, and abundance, where we used to go and look at the information that nobody else had. and now we have a world of so much information that we have to make sense of it so if you think about the intelligence community that is going forward how do you take the data that is available and do something special with it so we know something a little
sooner. i think they must continue to provide the advantage that it always had. the dni only exists to enable that. so you have to have that vision of where you want to go in order to be able to say now what is the dni going to do after that? and that is the odni effectiveness study, i'm going to say effectiveness over efficiency, because we've gotten into really bad trouble saying we can do things faster and cheaper. we want to be more effective. what are we looking for, say, the functions we must perform. not the boxes we currently have or the functions we currently do but what we noticed to do to perform. there are probably four big functions, which of which we do well, some of which we're not doing well. we have to help the community build more capacity, whether that is in artificial intelligence or cyber, we have the capacity. i think you can see that there
is some benefit and i'll just choose what we're all doing in terms of being able to make use of all the data that exists whether it's ai or automation or intelligence, we're all spending money. are we getting there? one of the functions we have is to make that type of leadership to make sure when we do it we're actually processing in a direction of outcome and we can fit within the line of budget. so the second is adding context. that is what we do right now with our national intelligence management. with the job of integration, mostly to add that context. it is not creating our own independent work, it's actually taking what is out there and producing something that is there. the third thing is, i'm going to say this negatively. but you could say it positively. i'm going to say we ought to reduce friction or we could accelerate the community and be positive, but we have to get rid
of the overhead, i'm so worried about what we're imposing on ourselves. >> so are the agencies that are sitting here right before you. >> right, and again that is the function we have whether that is the new business processes or looking at some of the policies or just the number of things we do or the way we task them, all of these things are crushing us. the last one is we need to build new bridges to partners outside the intelligence community. whether that is the private sector, in academic, a lot of the resources, neatly enough it will constantly change as the community changes. >> but it ought to be what is reflected in our budgets, we ought to measure the accomplishments and provide for the room the ability to be
really successful. >> and it gives you a priority. >> it does, it's pretty easy that it works -- >> so let's follow up. the building on the capacity and capability. so this audience, and you just said it's also building bridges. you have industry and academia, and other government institutions as well as dod. you know? let's characterize, how are they doing? supporting you? how are you doing in partnering with them? and what more can and ought you to be doing together? >> well, that is a lot of questions there. out of time? so i'll choose two areas that you think are really important. and i'll try and answer your questions. so i'm going to take the data piece on ai, and automation and
augmentation, if you look at what the u.s. government is spending on that we spend a fair amount. it is nothing compared to what we spend in the private sector on the exact same thing. how are we going to use the money we have to influence the money that is being spent because we know two things, one, if we just let the private sector go in that area, they will advance it but they will not necessarily advance on their own in ways that solve our problem. and our problems are that we are simply going to be unable to make use of all of this information that exists, and that can help us provide more advantage if we continue to do so. all right, so all the money -- out there. we have some money we have to leverage it because we have needs that may or may not be met. and are on the government side i think are too desperate in our
approaches. whether it's that is where we spend the money or how many times we go talk to the same partner wiabout the same thing t ever having that turn into a purposeful conversation. i think the dni and the doc need to have the same conversation as part of the same icontin youyou -- for us to have effective conversations between the government and people who may or may not because of the whole privacy discussion want to participate or not. that is one, cyber is another one. will we agree as a nation we need to get our act together on cyber a little bit more?
just a quick show of hands. what is interesting about the cyber problem is 90% of the issue is non-governmental. right? private sector, or it's -- yet what we have is the ability to know things somewhat in advance, but we can't see them in the same way, so how are we going to work together in a trusted way to be able to share what we both know in order to better protect the nation. it's a different kind of partnership that we need to. but it does require each side to find a way to trust and respect trust each other a bit to come to joint solutions and respect the value population of both sides. so just two areas, i think that
is what you need to do. one of the things we need to do and i'll put this on the dni, what they said. i think we need to engage the conversation with the american people because this whole security and privacy is too often set up as oppositional -- >> either/or. >> what i somewhatay to people time, we're on the same side. the people on the government swear to uphold the constitution of the united states, which is predicated on the notion of individual rights and privacies. so this is one where we are going to have to reframe our conversation, because i think if we spoke about what we do, whether it's from 702 that i know you talked about earlier, for this kind of public or private partnership i think there is much more common ground than we presume. >> good, we did talk about 702
earlier. i think i'd like to give you an opportunity to add to that conversations that you may like to add. is it a priority for the dni? >> yeah, i don't think there is anything more important between now and the end of the year than to get it continued. it's just -- it's simply a capability that we know has greater effect, that we can't replace any other way. we're confident that we have the guidelines, procedures in place in order to protect the rights and purposes of the american populist. and we have to do this. we have to do it. i think we have to be able to describe it in not only the ways that we effect it and govern it but i also think we need to talk more candidly about what it is, and what it is not. i think in the aftermath, too many people think that this is just quitting huge segments of
the population at risk for being sucked up into some great abyss that people insist is the law. that is not the case at all. as i'm sure the previous panel said it's a very simple program. it allows you to target non-u.s. persons who are credibly believed to be outside the united states for the purpose of foreign intelligence. you have to have a reason for targeting. it is not a large number of targets, and what i would say if you're not talking to one of those people -- you're not -- in existence. in this world. i think we need to talk more openly because i think if the american people knew they would support it as strongly as we did because of the benefits it provides. >> and i know admiral rogers has been out there trying to tell that story as well as director ray. so you adding your voice to that conversation i think is good. we did hear from two members of
congress this morning who felt that it would be reauthorized. now, that was only two -- 535. >> but it's also important that we're able to talk about it. definitely, this forum is so important. we learned our lesson when we didn't have a voice, we have to be able to have a voice and tell our story. >> well, we appreciate you appearing here, so -- cyber. we've got some questions from the audience, i'll kind of integrate them in with the questions that i have already started with. it shares one on cyber and the role that the ic should have. what role should the ic play on cyber, given that the cyber domain tends to player the lines between offense and defense, and between espionage and the actions, should the intelligence community be conducting offensive cyber operations? >> the intelligence community -- that is such a great question.
the intelligence community is disproportionately in the business of collecting foreign intelligence. in this world, most of the information exists in the digital domain and you have to be able to go and get it, and it doesn't necessarily all just transit big pipes. it exists in lots of places where you need to go and get it. but the purpose of it is to do the historic purpose of the intelligence community, is to know a little bit more and go where the data resides. so in terms of authorities, those are pretty clearly delineated, again, by law it is blurred because the domain is blurry. it intersects each other. but the authorities to conduct certain actions are either given to agencies, nsa authorities,
cyber com authorities. foreign intelligence collection authorities and covert action authorities. you would think they're blurry domains where we conduct the activities, but what governs the activities are pretty clear and interesting. >> okay, sue, in just about every panel, at least that i have sat in yesterday and today the issue of security clearance reform has come up. >> what? >> so you're not surprised that i have just uttered those words. >> i know, it's weird -- >> the dni, actually there has been some suggestions, there is a lot of complaints that the dni of course is a security agency. what everybody wants to know,
acqui inquiring minds, what are you going to do to fix it? we need a trusted reliable source. but the work force is one, that is not going to be static, you are not going to have a lot of people like me in this community for 37 years kind of straight through. we want them to be able to move in and out. i want to be able to attract the best talent, i don't want to lose them in the 15 months that it takes in order for them to get through. i want people to be able to move in and out of our contractors. i want to be able to tap the
expertise of the private sector to fill the gaps in our knowledge or the time gaps so that i can hire staff people to do it. right now our system just is not designed to support that type of mobility with the security that we want and the protections we need to have. we will not succeed if we don't take this on. what makes me concerned is, how many times have we tried this? the panel, we will lead the effort to provide this, both in terms of the vetting process and the other side, which is your security in general. and i could apply the exact same things through our information system. where our security systems are not designed to allow us to quickly understand the risks of putting no capabilities in. i can't tell you how long it will take.
i do know that the energy around us is the -- i do believe -- this is an exciting time for us. we have great interest in the administration and us getting on with it. almost everyone is begging us to clean this up and produce something that will work. if we squander this moment where everyone is aligned to say we must do something, because each one of us is protecting how we've done things more than what we must be able to do, then you'll have a situation pretty quickly. so you know, i wish i could promise you moe more in a time frame of exactly how we do it. this is a partnership we're
going to have to effect. it's the topic of conversation of how far the agency is willing to lean in. this is one lacing up our shoes tighter, we're going to have to reimagine our situation, there is a lot of folks in this room who have ideas and technologies. and you know, are willing to help here, i'll just put a plug in the work that we've down with our security clearance process reform group. >> looking at the faces in the room. >> and there are some real concrete recommendations out there. you have some good pilots under way also. you talked about the information systems, the whole continuous monitoring piece and of course continuous evaluation. so let us know, and that is the collective us, so we can do that. >> i will, i will. one thing we're going to have to do as a community, i mentioned
this earlier. zero loss is the way i grew up. right? for all of the good reasons that we know, all the sources and methods that we have, all the things we want to protect. the reality is, zero loss is not something that we're achieving today and it's probably not the right thing. if you look at some of the security that is implemented in a world that you don't have to have zero loss but you do measuring and policy surrounding i think there will be waste on it. so i'll take you up on it. >> it is about risks, there is a question here on leaks. there have been leaks. >> yes. >> there will be more leaks. >> yes. >> i mean, it is a question of risks. >> it is, i'll say that unauthorized disclosure of classified information is always bad. it's always bad. but i will also say that some of the burden is on us.
because we have classification systems that are pretty hard to understand when you classify the information so it's hard to know always where your line is. so no leaking. it's bad. it gives us a disadvantage. no deciding what is real secrets and not. we build our capability with things that deliver great capability but we as a collective have to look at this because it's a crazy world in terms of what is outside our system and putting us in conflict sm conflict. >> speaking of capabilities, here is a question from the audience, intelligence community is focused on terrorism and on the wars in iraq and afghanistan for 15 years now. more than. has the ic sacrificed the ability to understand strategic
targets like china and russia? >> and -- >> close -- and you -- >> close final set of resources. have to apply them to the challenges of the day. hard to argue with the choices we made about counterterrorism following 9/11 and what that meant about very different targets, very different set of capabilities you had to have and a lot energy to prosecute at the it speed it was evolving in. a very different way than nation states did. if you look at it that way, you could say it had a cost against the resources we. when i started i was in the
office of weapons research and there are about 750 people, 749 of whom did the former soviet union and one person did china and he also did the rest of the world. as the wall came down as proliferation became important, we took those capables and applied them throughout the foundation. do we cover the world's threats better than we did before? yes. i do believe that strategic is one of the things my national intelligence manager should be focusing on. how do we make sure we're prepared for the future so when it comes we're waiting? we're out of questions. >> oh, we are not out of questions. oh, no.
no. but we got the five-minute warning. >> awesome. i'll answer everything in a tweet from now on. >> and i won't say in a wrap-up yet. pardon me. i haven't given you a chance to really take a step back and say what are the priorities of the office? have you and the d and, i had had a chance? you've been there a month, he's been there eight months. what are the top things you're working on where you focussed? how's it going? >> so, one of the things that's really fun about having a dni from that community is intelligence that make as difference. so i'm going to choose the priorities that -- some which get chosen for us and some of
which are enduring. we mentioned 702. we have to drive that across the finish line. al north korea is on a path that seems inexerable with capability that is advancing every day with demonstrations that prove their aspirations are not a pipe dream and what is the u.s. and the world's response going to be? and it's building a coalition because the presser we're going to have to put is widespread. iran, another priority as we look at not only the influence in the region because of the conflicts in that area but also
just continue looking to make sure it puts us in a good place. counterspace. an area of tremendous independence and capability for us. how we're better positioned to understand the threats we face and to support a growing industry part of the great strength of this nation. counterterrorism, it's a very different face than it was post 9/11. it's a very different face than even fighting the war in syria against isis. it's like a half-filled water balloon. when you squeeze on one end, it comes out the other end. this great mass of capability that seems to be able to effect terror and what's the intelligence piece of that? how do we get intelligence to
i'm going to say nonnational security partners whether that's for cyber or intelligence that can support local law enforcement. and the last one is just this notion of foreign influence in geo politics in general. how do we understand what that is? because it effects everything from the order of the world to understanding what we're seeing. >> other than that. there are a ton more questions here, sue, as you can imagine and one was on the homeland front and working with state, local, tribal and why is it still so hard? another one on how are we doing integrating and working with our international partners? i mean you mentioned coalition forces, but we had had a panel earlier today on counterterrorism. and then representatives from
the uk, canada and -- what's your assessment on how we're doing on the international front and on the homeland front? >> the homeland is interesting. we're finding ways to be able to use the organizations that have the responsibility for interaction to give them better intelligence in a form they can use to share it that's a little clunky still. but i think there's places where it's going really well. there's one where they're figuring how to use it. what's interesting even on the homeland is some of the capabilities that we grew that makes us needing to partner with them now are capabilities that are inhad creasingly available in the open. so i think there's almost a
temporal effect of how nuch intelligence community has to stay present or how much we need to see now for a capability to come. i'm really excited on the interhinte international partner front. one, we're probably better than weevl rr been in a long time, including the integration of their officers with our officers in more places. on lots of different levels. i think the next place we're going to have to go is to share information quickly, dig tale and that's dpoeing to require us to advance on the security front. because these rules we have in terms of how you share with whom you share are not silly and so we have to find a way to effect them in a digital environment so we can get the sharing with it partners we know we need to get the information they increasi
increasingly have and we have and then right into each other's processies to do it. and make sure that it's done in a way that you can trust the information you have. because that's the other side, right? i can put a lot of information in the system but what our life blood has been is trusted information and how do we effect that? but on the partner front i think you see a lot of movement. >> we got the one-minute warning about three minutes ago. we appreciate your time, we appreciate what you're doing. [ applause ] and i think i can speak on behalf of everyone here. we are certainly glad you have taken on this next challenge and you have our principal deputy
director. >> one of the truly terrible titles. >> i'd just like to say a few words before everyone makes for the door very quickly and that's a big thanks. a thanks to our staffs and all of the volunteers. a lot lot of work goes it to making these events successful. a bob sha, thank you so much, bob. the partnership invaluable to put on a summit such as this. thank you to our sponsors. couldn't have done it without you as with well as our exhibiters. and really the last thanks is to everyone, the audience. i gave you a challenge at the beginning for audience participati participation. we have far more questions not only here in this session but in
all of the sessions that we ever could have gotten to. so the active participation my challenge worked. so i'm going to give you a challenge as aio walk out the door. you'll all get an email with a survey. please take that two minutes to answer the survey. we'll make next year's summit better. so thank you all. be safe going home and sue, again, thank you so much.