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tv   National Intelligence Director Discusses Challenges  CSPAN  November 18, 2021 9:43pm-10:42pm EST

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director avril haines talked about challenges facing the country. she touches on china, cyber infrastructure security and opportunities for women in the intelligence community, among other topics. from the american bar association, this is about an hour. and now to introduce our very
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distinguished guest. we are truly delighted to have with us avril haines, director of national intelligence. she is the first woman director of national intelligence and the first woman ever to lead the u.s. intelligence community. the -- dni haines has also held other leadership positions and national security, including principal deputy national security adviser, and deputy director of central intelligence agency. she got her start in national security as a lawyer. and she got her law degree from georgetown law, as did sandra day o'connor. so they are well represented here. she learns served as a lawyer in the state department and on the hill. and in the national security council, where i had the pleasure of working with her.
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she is also a distinguished former member of the standing committee on law and national security. so i could go on about dni haines, she has an interesting backstory. but i won't take any more time away from the conversation. i will just close by saying that anyone who has met avril haines, knows that in addition to being a extraordinary talented, dedicated public servant, she is a generous person, and a lot of time is devoted by her to helping people negotiate and navigate the security field. so i can't think of a better conversation. and so thank you jim, for being
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with us and i'm looking forward to the conversation. >> thank you so much, mary. >> good afternoon. mary, let me say thank you, for taking time out of your schedule, we are so pleased to have you. i want to start off with the question about the visit that you took. we saw a couple of weeks ago, he went down to florida and visited with the florida international -- and summery intelligence would love to have you visit. so can you tell us about why you are hoping to accomplish? >> sure, before i get started on that, can i just say how wonderful it is to be with you jennifer and mary, mary, who is
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my favorite boss. -- at the national security council when she was regional adviser i was her deputy and it was an extraordinary privilege. and i can think of two women who are better suited in national security, the two of you are just remarkable. and it's just that piece of the wider community that i feel like we have the great honor to be a part of a national security, i mean, both women and men. it is things that i learned at that time, that are critical -- i appreciate that. -- and marries work over the years, it's so important i think to have these moments where you can actually be part of the
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community and honestly just be able to talk about the challenges that you face and give the opportunities that you are looking at and how you think about the law and your professional career and i know that i just benefited so enormously from other mentors in the course of my career. and i'm really just grateful that you are doing this. i'm really honored to be here. frankly, i feel like i should be interviewing the two of you. but anyway, on florida, it was a very conscious selection. a few things. one is that the university i went to is the center of academic excellence for the intelligence community, among a series of universities in that network that we've been developing. it has also brought us a wealth of students who have been
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interested in the intelligence community, who have gone out in a series of spaces. and have been part of programs that are run there, to interact with people. some of them former, some folks who work in the military, who work with us. a whole series of different people. and i've really been incredibly impressed by the talent there. but it was also -- i mentioned at the outset -- it was a signal because it was, among other things, a mostly hispanic student body. it has remarkable diversity in the student body generally. and i am really absolutely committed, it's among my highest priorities, to see the intelligence community become more diverse and inclusive and equitable in our work. i think it's critical -- i mean, i realize that you
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think about these things as well and have worked on these issues too, as have so many of the folks with us -- but for me it's a mission issue. and i believe we work better as an intelligence community in our workforce, more effectively, if we are a diverse community. and that is true for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that if you are trying to understand the world, having a diverse community is going to be more effective. but it's also about the fact that, from my perspective, i believe that government institutions have a responsibility to reflect america. i have so often seen how bringing different perspectives to the table changes the conversation in ways that allow us to make decisions we didn't realize we were making. issues we didn't realize we are overlooking. and it's a critical aspect of understanding why you want folks with different perspectives, experiences and knowledge sitting at the table. and certainly in my career,
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i've seen how much of a difference that makes and i really believe that that's important, in reflecting america, to serve america. so there are those pieces of the puzzle. and finally, i would say, in addition to the ethical pieces there, i want to work in a diverse, inclusive environment. and i expect other folks want to work in an inclusive environment. i believe that that's important and something that has been interesting, is how much there has been among the leadership, the components, the importance of having a diverse and talented workforce. and that is a piece of ensuring that they are the future we want them to be. so it was a long answer, sorry, to a short question. but i had a great time and really met some extraordinary people there. and i look forward to visit
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some universities around the country. >> it was great and i know you are focused on diversity. and diversity of background. but also diversity of perspective. i wanted to ask you a question that i hear from young people, interested in international security law, and what's the path of experiences i should get? what's kind of organization should i work for? and having that kind of variety, that diversity of experience. you have worked in executive branches of a number of communities. and the outside governments. so i'm wondering, what advice do you have about whether the particular experiences to try to have, to try to work, in order to have the kind of perspective that you are talking about wanting to bring
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into the i.t. and government? >> yeah, it's a great question. in the context of working in government, i have been blessed by working in a whole series of institutions. i found to be really valuable to me. in other words, i think i've been able to do my job more effectively as a consequence of having different places and understandings better. what were the equities that they were likely to be focused on? and how could i make an argument more effectively to them? and what i thought was in the best interest of the government generally, and also the institution i sat in. and having worked in legislative and executive branches, and the judicial branch, i felt every one of them had a different character. you know? and a key focus area, ways in which they would argue their position. and even the law differs, right? it's kind of an interesting thing to learn that, in the
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executive branch, we have one position about how to interpret a provision of the constitution, where is in the legislative branch, they may have a slightly different position, long held. and then there's a dispute and you begin to understand why there is that dispute. and what are the institutional equities that led to that interpretation. and that makes it easier to navigate, honestly. to understand and seek out these issues, and discussed with your client about what these risks are. somebody else is going to be ticked off, they have a likely response, and so on. i found that to be true also within the executive branch. i had a lot of opportunities to work with different institutions, the state department, the white house, the intelligence community. the cia, obviously. all this taught me something. to answer your question more directly, i do think it is useful to try different parts of the government.
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obviously, there is no perfect way to approach this. and you may decide there are different things, different professional careers you are pursuing. but even just getting out of the institution that you want to be in, let's say, for your career, it is useful because you get a different perspective of it from another place. you know? you get a feel for what is the caricature of the state department or what is the character of the icy. and how can you contest that when you need to? you also get a chance to make friends and understand better the networks available to you when you need to get something done. and that is critical, working in government. i suspect also in a variety of other institutions i've worked at outside of government. but when i have thought about my own career, i sometimes ask people about this, and offer it as a way to think about things.
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i have often tried to think about, what are the sort of skills that i had an opportunity to work on as a lawyer? for example, as a policy maker or intelligence officer? what are the skills that i feel like i'm not as great at? there are a lot of them. and whether or not the job that i'm looking at next might help me with some of those. i have thought about the different her respective's that i might learn about, for instance. so if you are thinking about nonproliferation issues, you may want to work in an office that does work on the region, the regions you think are going to be most interesting for those issues, to get that other substantive knowledge, in order to really bring it together with what it is you are doing. you are doing. and third is the institutional piece we've been discussing, which i think is useful. i have found in my own
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experience from a legal perspective, i did think that working in different branches was really interesting to understand the different approaches to the law. i also found that working in an international organization which really just totally fascinating. and a completely different perspective. because i had an interest in international law, it helped me -- working in the legislative branch better. and the executive branch work -- you know, having worked in international organizations, it helped me in a u.s. government position, because i had a better understanding of some of the challenges of those organizations. both the limitations and the opportunities for how you can work with them, to further the positions you are focused on. so all the things i found to be worthwhile, to think about, for whatever particular professional career you are interested in. >> thank you.
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so there is that diversity aspect. obviously, you are a woman in a field that has largely been mail for a long time. and that's changing. sometimes when you are the only woman in the room, some people find that uncomfortable. i am wondering, for instance, if you can tell us about being the woman in the room. and if you have any of those kinds of experiences, what's kills or qualities you draw on to be successful in those circumstances. >> yeah. i'm so interested in your thoughts as well, jennifer. >> there are a couple of things i've discovered, and i have no idea if they will be worthwhile to other people. but when is that, you know,
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there are some people that just react to you for reasons that have nothing to do with you in a sense, personally. whether it is because you are a woman, and they make assumptions about you, or for other reasons. there are so many, in some respects. and something i have come to feel is, first of all, it is useful to talk about this with other people that you work with sometimes. both women and men and, i have found. and sometimes that's because you check your judgment. was it because i said something stupid or was it because they were just reacting to me as a woman? it's how -- it's trying to parse that for yourself, that tends to be a challenging thing, as you go through things. and that is useful to get a feel for how other people have experienced a person or an
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event with colleagues that you trust and like. but another part of it -- it's where i have picked up a reaction that's a particularly strong one, if you are sitting at that wall, or not being listened to. it's really rare that it has to do with you. it's so much more likely. and sometimes it's just something we are someone has a bad day. but it can be more likely that it is to do with that person. and keep in mind to not take it personally. you actually just power through and try to do the best job that you can, in a sense. and except that there are going to be some challenges that you can't overcome. that there are many that you can overtime. then you tend to serve yourself well in those circumstances. and i have found a number of
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places where i have a thought exercise or myself -- you have someone who seems to have that kind of reaction to women. and i pretend that they're like an uncle in my family. so part of the challenges, making sure that you don't stop listening to them. don't lose respect forit is in s something you do when you are being treated in a particular way, that you think is, you know, nothing to do with you. and you say, why is this unacceptable? but you still have to deal with those folks -- and getting the best out of them is really important and a lot of the time you can break you personally in a way that changes the dynamic, that actually allows things to go forward. that should not let you, --
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let me say this, it shouldn't affect how you are perceiving yourself. another aspyou can't begin to e way that people are viewing you. you have to surprise them, make sure that you maintain who you are in certain circumstances. it is critical that you also recognize that, you know, a lot of people are not perfect, myself included. i do stupid things all the time and make a tremendous number of mistakes. when i want to keep on doing is being, ultimately, part of the work i did at the time and that i brought my best to the table, that i worked to try to get the best answer, that i, you know, listened to everybody i needed to listen to, and that i am ultimately moving forward on that basis. i think those kinds of things, that it is a lot easier to talk about that it is to do. i have not always succeeded.
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i really do think that recognizing, you know, how other people are treating you, is on them, and do your best to be as generous as possible, and just focus on the work. it is often works well. another thing that i have learned is, just by going through so many institutions and jobs, it is very different in different places. you know, the same government, even the same institution, you can be in one office and, and two offices in one institution, they can both be very heavily male dominated, or it is a different issue with diversity, majority dominated space, and yet, in one office, the culture can be phenomenal and allow you
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to thrive. and the other, it can be very challenging. i think your experience is not what's every other woman or other person's experience is, that is important. you might not have concerns, but they may be totally reasonable for them to have. recognize that ultimately, once you end up in a management position, really, it is the women who are going to be listening to this, hopefully, from a legal perspective, we'll be. the thing you have to make space for is the people coming up underneath you and really create a culture an atmosphere that allows them to be who they need to be. and that changes overtime. each entered generation, i am inspired by the young women in the intelligence community. they're absolutely incredible. they're having a different experience than i had. they are approaching it in a different way. i want to facilitate what makes sense for them, and not just
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would i remember i needed. it is critical, i think, for us to grow and keep on listening to each generation as it moves through these experiences. >> i will tell you, that resonates so much with my own experience. >> does it, wow? >> let me shift and ask you one other background question. another really interesting part of your background is that you bridge the legal and policy roles, that you were a lawyer and legal supervisor and now you are a policy maker. you have your own lawyers. i'm sure that you have advice for either side of that coin. either as a lawyer advising a policy maker, or a policy maker. you've seen it from both sides of the relationship. >> yeah, it is a fascinating area, frankly. i have spent so much time thinking about. it a couple of things.
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one thing that i felt that i don't think we've spent time enough on, is teaching people how to be effective in meetings. we spent so much time in meetings. i have lots of views about that. i really think there is something unethical about not saying when you think in a meeting. i think that is an incredible aspect of our work. if you have a seat at a table, you are often representing other people, and so, you need to make sure you are doing the best to represent your work. but you are also the person sitting at the table, so if you don't say what you think, who else is going to say what you think? it is critical to bring everything you can in those moments. i think another aspect of it is understanding what your role is at the table. this gets to the question that you are asking about, the legal policy piece. but also for the intelligence
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community, intelligence officers that are different from the legal. in each of these roles, thinking about what is appropriate and what is not, it is important. even though i believe it under other circumstances, you need to break the appropriate roles. here's what i mean by that. if you are, i remember somebody saying this to me once. if, they put it in the context of someone working with the president. but it is true in a lot of circumstances, really. if the president asks you an opinion on something, and wants to know, you should tell them. if you are in the room, you should give it to them. i believe that to some extent. but i think that there are limitations to that. here's how i think about it. as a lawyer, obviously, you are at the table to provide the legal view. you are not there for the policy, you're not there to provide an intelligence analysis.
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there are a lot of reasons for why it is critical for you to understand that role and represent that at the table. part of it is, you are representing, generally, the death parchment of defense, the general counsel, you come to the table and bring the department of defenses general councils view to that table and you have associates behind you. i had that context and i was legal adviser at an sec, or i was trying to represent different agencies and departments. so, you have a responsibility, in that sense. the system, generally the process that has been set up, with that in mind, that you have a lawyer at the table, so that you can incorporate that into the thinking decision-making that is being conducted, right? that is true for the policy maker and for the intelligence officer. each plays a role in that sense. they are bringing forward what
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it is that they are building, or offices, have worked on. their best view for those areas. for the intelligence community, there is an enormous trade craft that goes into analytic work. when i put a judgment that the intelligence community has come forward with, this is not something somebody just decided that morning when they woke up, right? there is a lot of work that goes into, okay, we have a basis for that judgment, we have trade craft, we have thought about it, we have certain level of confidence that we are associating with that judgment. so, it is hopefully more reliable, it is something that the policy makers understand in that context. they're able to base their decision-making on those issues. that is one piece of it. another piece of it, too, is that you are,, you are in the position, which you are providing to that decision-making process the best advice for those issues.
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so, if you are representing the military at the table, you are assumed to have an understanding of what it means to achieve certain military objectives and to provide hear best advice on the capacity to do. so if you turn to the diplomat in the room, and you asked them, what is their military advice? that is a circumstance in which i think it is in appropriate for the diplomat to say, i'm simply not qualified. i don't have the experience that military visor here has. that is not my role. that is not something i should be providing advice on and i don't want to, in fact, provide information that would, you know, corrupt, or that would ultimately bias the discussion in a way that is unhelpful or unacceptable, right? similarly, from an intelligence community perspective, i think there are certain things i am certainly not going to provide military device at the table,
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similarly. that is a piece of it. there is another reason, to particularly for lawyers. i know i talk about this is a lawyer, and i've had mentors a thought about this to, which is that your credibility is at stake based on what it is you are providing advice on, right? as a lawyer, if you weigh in on the policy discussion, people will assume that your legal advice is tied to your policy views to some extent. it is almost like, when you recuse yourself, even if there is not an actual conflict, you may do so simply because there is an appearance of conflict. there is, essentially, a point at which people will simply not trust that you're objective on an issue. that is true for intelligent officers as well. it is kind of a, you are sitting at the table and providing judgments, and you are perceived as having a policy perspective. there is just less trust in your analytic perspective on an issue. if you are, in effect,
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providing -- one-sided the discussion over the other. it is, i think that is another reason why you want to temper your interest in providing additional perspectives at the table. i certainly thought that was important in all of these roles. i do think that there is a moment at which you are asked your thoughts on something. it may be an ex cycle issue, it may be something where you feel as if there is a moment in which you are being ask your personal view on an issue that is less about expertise and more about, what do you think is the right answer? and i think in those moments, leaders sometimes what you know, those perspectives for the people that work for them. it is important to put them out there. it is challenging, in many respects. actually saying which you think it's so much harder than you realize. before you get into the
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situations that you have to do it in a way that, i'm always trying to be kind, but also trying to be direct and honest about why it is you think that, what's your view is, because you are almost always disagreeing with somebody who frequently, you respect and care about and think is taking a candid and reasonable view in a situation. but, anyway, i think all of those are critical to thinking through this. the final thing i will say about the lawyer versus policy maker dynamic, i think is so, i'm sure you've gone through this too, but often, policy makers will not want to make a decision and just give it to the lawyers. that is not okay. it is very frustrating. it can be, a dock on something, i think it is important for policymakers to actually say [inaudible] it is not that you
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should always take a decision on every issue that is put before you, because there are moments when the decision is not right, or there is more information to be gathered. or maybe you're not ready. there are all sorts of reasons why you make a decision in a particular moment. but i do think it is important to be as, you know, as direct as you can and to help lawyers really focus on the thing you are actually interested in doing and make sure that you are dealing with that on the other side of it, as a lawyer, i hated it when policymakers would be at celebrations and someone would be like, this lawyer was great because they were a, yes lawyer. and i'm like, what does that mean? that is a terrible thing to say about them. you have to be able to accept it when your lawyer says, no.
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from our perspective, that is not legal. but rarely, there are things that are cut and dry. it is, sort of, more likely that you are in a situation where the lawyer is saying, you know, look. here is what is legal, here is what is not legal. there is a lot of great space in between, here is where you are taking increasing risks. the increasing risk might be litigation, or some other type of risk, congressional disagreement or, a variety of other things. those are things to be, you know considered. that is a great lawyer a great lawyer in my view helps you understand the landscape you are operating in. and it really helps you understand, among the things, what the implications are our decision beyond the particular decision you are taking, which so challenging to do in those moments. because you often have a group of folks in front of you who are looking to make a decision
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about a particular crisis issue. or whatever you are focused on. and they are focused on the best outcome, obviously, in the context they are in, as well they should be, in many respect. but part of what the lawyer is able to tell you is, here is the line we have crossed and not, and here is why. so the implications for how the government operates institutionally, in a variety of areas. and often those will not be strict legal rules, but they will be important to understanding the implications of your decision. i am someone -- i had the blessing of having wonderful lawyers when i have been in positions like i am now or in policy positions. and our general counsel, chris, is just spectacular -- >> -- >> yeah, right? he's also been in other opportunities, like in the
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department of justice, those institutions. so he is always value added at the meetings. as his office, made up of spectacular lawyers. i could not be prouder sitting next to them, getting advice from every circumstance. so it is focusing on what you have to do, but i am constantly learning and need to focus on what i am supposed to be doing. so i am very lucky in that respect. >> i will say, when you have lawyers for you, you are very lucky. >> yes. >> let me switch over and ask you about what you have learned in your experience at dni. how about surprises, what is the most surprising thing in your job? >> i am so bad at this question. [laughs] not so much the surprise but
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every morning, one of the most fun things about the job is reading the presidents daily brief. it's not fun because it's filled with happiness and joy. but it is remarkable what the intelligence community produces every day for the president. and for his senior advisers, the military, for policymakers, folks across government and the national security enterprise. and it is always, in some respects, there isn't aspect that is surprising -- sometimes in a good way, sometimes not so good ways -- but there are so many aspects of the role we are focused on, in the context of national security. everyone comments on the fact that our definition of national security has gotten bigger over the last several years. and that increasingly, of a righty of different types of expertise are critical to our work.
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and i get to see that on a daily basis. i mean, really, just extraordinary the different types of expertise that are called upon to actually understand the challenges we are facing. whether it is technology, in the context of climates, a whole range of things. its resources, water. just really a wide, wide range. and it's part of why we need to recruit in such an extraordinary way in order to bring talent of every type and expertise into the intelligence community. the intelligbut it also keeps ts absolutely fascinating and really, intellectually, when you are learning new things, you feel more alive. and that's a great part of what the intelligence community has to offer. so please, please apply, if that's not obvious, to the intelligence community. i hope you will. >> so that's a great answer, i did not expect it.
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>> [laughs] >> how about hurdles? have you encountered any of those, or roadblocks, and your new jobs? >> there are a lot of challenges. one thing i found really interesting coming in -- i spend a lot of time on the budget, learning a tremendous amount about the budget. it's one of the big pieces of my job. and trying to be a steward of resources, but also thinking things through innocence, kind of a vision for the future of the intelligence community, with the senior leaders who are managing the various elements within the intelligence community. and there are a lot of them. they are 17 agencies besides the dni, which is the 18th. and we try to get together as we are formulating the annual budget, we did that right after i got into the job, to think through, like, what are our
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priorities? how are we going to talk about the budget to congress and others? and focus on it in a way that matches what we think is most important for the future of the intelligence community? what was really interesting about that, was, well, everyone says china's top of the list. we call it an unparalleled priority. all the kinds of ways to talk about it and it stretches across a range of issues for us, obviously. the reality is, the main things everyone agreed on where structural issues. so the priorities that people identified were recruiting and retaining a talented and diverse workforce, that was top of the list. and that is a critical priority across the board. another one was, essentially, investing in science and technology to maintain a competitive edge. there's also ways you can think about that in the context of our work, whether it is focused on science and technology for
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us to do our mission more effectively, or in the context of understanding science and technology more effectively in order to do, you know, affective collection and analysis. and revealing, innocence, where we are as compared to the rest of the world in these matters. or it's in the context of thinking through how we bring to bear science ethnology on a range of issues, including resilience for critical infrastructure, those pieces of the puzzle. so that was another big piece for us. a third was really, classically, partnerships. partnerships not just with the private sector, which is where a lot of those folks sit in on and it's a critical issue for us. it's one we spend a lot of time on. and i feel like it's been a perennial issue. anybody in government has been saying, for a long time, we need to improve public private partnerships. it's just increasingly true and we still remain challenged in
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many spaces on that issue. but it's also partnership with, frankly, other parts of government, state, local, tribal entities across the country. it is also about partnership with allies around the world, it's partnership with academia, it's partnership with a whole series of different entities as we increasingly have to think through, how are we leveraging what they do and what we do, in order to actually have an impact. and so that was a third piece of the puzzle. of course, a fourth ways bringing in long-standing issues in day-to-day work. so climate is a huge one of those destabilizing issues. one of the long term trends and how do we bring the science that is behind that into our day today work on intelligence? so, in places where you don't
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think about it necessarily being part of our analytic work, we wanted to be. if you are thinking about the impact of something like the jcpoa with iran. is there a climate impact? right? so all the ways that we normally focus it on, there's also other types of expertise. technology expertise. expertise in the context of economics. it's a whole series of different areas critical, so that things don't get lifted up effectively. resilience was a big piece of it. infrastructure that we have. cyber was at the top of that list, so are a lot of other things. as i pointed out, what was so interesting to me was just the overarching view among heads of components that, if we are going to be effective in
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actually addressing challenges we are facing today, recognizing how increasingly complex they are, how fast the paces for which we are facing them. and how quickly the landscape is changing in many respects. we have to build strong institutions that are adaptable and capable of moving with that threat. thso that is critical, i think, to us actually dealing with what's ahead in the future. and the most important thing i hope to do with while i am here. >> that all makes so much sense. i noticed that the landscape moving -- i'm curious, the threat environment, it has changed a lot. not just in the past ten years but the past five. and it seems to be accelerating in the way it is changing. and i'm wondering if you can tell us about your general
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observations about that, how it's changing and the and hence role of cyber and what you are seeing, that picture of the threat environment shifting. >> yeah. it's interesting. the way you asked the question, i think in some respects -- what is most interesting is what you are sharing, as opposed to threats we have had for a long time, thinking about weapons of mass destruction or issues that are sort of classic in a variety of places. i would say a couple of things. one is -- as you point out, even in your question, the line between what is domestic and international has largely collapsed in many respects. this is something that i think policy makers have talked about quite a bit.
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but it is particularly interesting for the intelligence community being perceptive about how we manage that. because the intelligence community is institutionally, like, when you look back on what's actually created the office of the director of national intelligence, it was essentially 9/11. and the outgrowth of that circumstance. and there was a law that was passed, it established both the office of the director of national intelligence and in the national counter-terrorism center. and one of the things that it specifically focused on in that was actually bringing together the domestic and the international intelligence on terrorism and saying, we want the national counter-terrorism center to produce a comprehensive strategy that is based on domestic and international intelligence. and that is essential for the
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country more generally. so this is an aspect of what we are supposed to be doing, really trying to understand how it is that we bring a picture to policy makers that brings those two things together. and it is true in terrorism and that's maybe a more obvious thing to people. but it's also true in a whole series of other areas. if you think about election interference, or even just other types of foreign malign influence, you really can't tell the story about what's happening internationally and what it is that adversaries are focused on in trying to influence the united states, if you don't actually have the context of, well, what are they influencing? what are they saying that they want to influence? what's the impact of that influence? so in many respects we are trying to bring these pictures
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together to help policy makers see the whole. looking at cyber, so much of what is happening on cyber, it's happening on infrastructure. that's within the united states. because so much of the cyber infrastructure is in the united states. and we rely on it so much. and yet we are concerned about actors from outside the united states. and so one aspect of this is understanding how we do that. while, at the same time, we recognize that there are strict limitations and different sets of laws and frameworks in effect that exist for how it is that we collect and treat and disseminate information that we collect. information we collect on foreigners outside the united states, versus, people in the united states. and in that we are managing within the intelligence community, a range of operators who are proficient in different spaces. the cia's focus externally, the
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fbi internally. so you have the spaces where you have to bring together the picture but you also have to maintain the frameworks that separate these pieces out in ways that are both intellectually understandable, but also that our spectacle of civil liberties and privacy and the different protections that we have. and thinking that through is a huge piece of what we have to do. it is becoming increasingly complicated in these spaces as we see increasingly challenge jiang to pull apart. respectively, i think it will be interesting aspect of how things are shifting. another part of it, from my perspective, i think one that so many of us talk about, i fundamentally believe it and i see the huge impact on this,
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when we are looking at, given increasing globalization, increasing mobilization around the world, the reality is, threats have been, you know, really almost any place around the world. it can quickly become a threat to the united states. it is not that we are interested in every threat around the world that we have to prioritize. but things that are most important or interest, and so on. but whether it is a pandemic or it is some other aspect, terrorist, or things like that, you have to recognize that things like this can be on your doorstep in a relatively short period of time. so, realizing how we collect and provide the kinds of mornings that is useful for policy makers, is critical part of the job. but increasingly, i think we recognize that partners and allies are really the only way in which we are actually going to be effective in dealing with
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this, right? because not only do you want countries where the threat first hits to be more resilient and effective at addressing it, and working with them to address where it is so that it doesn't move outwards. but you also need them to set up and establish structures that are, sort of, durable structures that helped to provide for that indication and warning across a range of issues. the in the intelligence community, i think a big thing the president talks about is, that we are consistently trying to make sure that we're thinking that through, i mentioned in that partnership piece with partners and allies, but we are also trying to provide analysis that helps our policy makers understand, not only what we see, but also how other countries, our partners and allies, are perceiving an issue. how it is being perceived by
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those that are not our partners and allies, so that we can navigate that landscape more effectively. it is another aspect of our work that is not focused on so much, but is absolutely critical to us being effective in setting up for good policy making, decision-making. >> i am struck by your answer. the way in which so many things are shifting and we need new kinds of partnerships and different ways of bringing information together because of the ways, you know, that things are changing. you know, the intelligence community, born out of 9/11, it's very much absorbed by counter-terrorism work as a mission at the beginning, but the world is shifting and there are so many other concerns that are drying the icy's attention. how do you turn the community who used to be --
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to other priorities? how do you balance it? >> it is a constant issue. i was just meeting with my british-incher locator yesterday. we were talking about these issues. it is not just us facing this issue. our allies and partners are to. part of it is, obviously, maintaining vigilance on terrorism, which we believe continues to be an issue that we have to remain vigilant on. working through how we do that appropriately. but at the same time, no matter where you put your resources, you are taking on risks, right? if i look across the intelligence community, we have, you know, in almost infinite list of threats and issues that we want to cover and that we are being asked questions about. so, a big piece of the game is prioritizing. we have a national priorities intelligence process that is,
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essentially, dictated by the policy that we perceive as being most important. and we work to ensure that we are effectively prioritizing based on, eventually, their priorities. i would say that one of the most remarkably bipartisan perspectives that we have is on the challenge of china. and thinking that through. often, this is framed as, how are we shifting resources from counter-terrorism to china? and are we doing enough to do that? and it is challenging from a number of different perspectives. i think that the short answer is, yes. we are doing that. and i believe that we have been doing that for quite some time, thinking through how it is we allocate our resources effectively against a variety of issues, not just china, and cte, but that becomes a two
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dimensional caricature of this debate. but i would say that some of the challenges to doing that effectively, that are less obvious, are as follows. one is, a remarkable number of those in the national security community have spent a piece of their career on counter-terrorism. one of the things that i always found with this is that, just like when you learn a new word and suddenly you feel like you are hearing it all the time, right? when people have spent a lot of time on the middle east and counter-terrorism, they are more likely to spot those issues and pull them forward then they are other issues that are -- they are less familiar with. there is a transition within the community, moving from counter-terrorism in the middle east, to being a common feature of almost everyone's career in
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a senior level of the intelligence community. now they're shifting a bit to occupy other spaces. something i remember seeing when i worked in the cia was how we knew the president wanted more analytic products on asia and the western hemisphere, right? and yet we kept on producing ctv, middle east. and part of it was folks naturally go, that is really important, and so pull that. another piece of it is that it tends to be the more urgent crisis, as opposed to the long term issue. if you are in the intelligence community and we have something in the, morning it is a more obvious space for you to be pushing analysis. and so that ends up, sometimes, being -- so another part of shifting is, just like when you're in books, the urgent ends up crowding the important, similarly here, you
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have to make a constant effort to taking the long term pieces of competition with china, as opposed to the media threats of counter-terrorism. so, balancing that in the way, is a part of it. another part, honestly, the intelligence community, if you have a crisis and there is the potential for impact, that is one of those clear areas where you raise your hand. as a consequence, those pieces tend to get written more frequently. when you're looking for things to then put into the book, and analyze piece, the fact that those things have been written quite a bit, and these are well written, you are like, yes, this looks good, there are all kinds of things you don't realize. our challenge is to actually make some of the shifts in ways that are effective to complicate -- the longer term vision of what
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you're trying to do. so i have already seen a significant shift from when i was last in government to now. it is, you know, something we are trying to move forward. another part is that we're trying to focus in on that we are trying to prioritize the counter-terrorism threat that is most important and that we invest in, and what is the piece of the china challenge that will be most focused on? how do we get the biggest bang for our buck? how do we make sure that we are allocating our resources in a way that will be most effective for the policy? anyway, sorry. too long of an answer. >> no problem. i think that brings us to our close. so, thank you again for the great discussion. so good to see you and talk to you. we are grateful that you joined today. thank you very much. >> it was such a pleasure to
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get to see you and merry. thank you so much. it is really lovely, and good luck to everybody out. they're all right. thank you.
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