Fireside Chat with LTG Berrier
Kari A. Bingen: Good afternoon, everyone – our guests here in person and online as well. My name is Kari Bingen. I’m the director of the Aerospace Security Project here at CSIS, the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
We are honored today to be joined by Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. General Berrier is a career intelligence officer – Army intelligence officer. (Laughter.) He has had leadership positions as a director of intelligence, which we call a J2, in Afghanistan, in U.S. Central Command, U.S. Forces Korea; director of Army Intelligence, which is where we first met. And I think that was a really pivotal time, too, because you were working through that transition from counterterrorism to China, Russia, full-spectrum operations.
Lieutenant General Scott Berrier: Still working through that.
Ms. Bingen: Well, we’ll be able to hit on that. Plus, now the director of DIA.
DIA is responsible for producing intelligence on foreign militaries for defense leaders and our warfighters. We have a lot to discuss today on those responsibilities, how you do it, and how DIA is postured to meet geostrategic challenges ahead. We’ll cover current events – what’s happening in Israel, what’s happening in Ukraine; technology and innovation; strategic competition; allies/partners; intelligence; tradecraft; and the workforce. So a lot to cover today.
Emily Harding: And I’m Emily Harding. Along with Kari, I work here at CSIS in the International Security Program.
It’s actually apt that you’re joining us today. We just launched a brand-new program here at CSIS on Intelligence, National Security, and Technology – the INT Program for those following along in the intelligence community, a little inside joke. We plan to be the go-to outside source for the intelligence community when they want to think through some of the biggest, thorniest, most difficult issues facing the intelligence community for the next 10 years, especially when it comes to incorporating technology. So I’m excited to talk to you today about how you’ve done that at DIA and done it quite well.
But, first off, a note for our audience. We have a QR code you can scan if you want to submit a question. Those will pop up on our handy-dandy little iPads, and then we can ask them to the director. And then, also, you can submit it online or you can do it in the room.
I also wanted to ask kind of THE question. We wanted to have you here as your time at DIA sort of winds down as a way for you to share your wisdom with all of us as you – as you head off to retirement, but you’re not retired yet. What are your plans? (Laughs.)
LTG Berrier: No, I’m not. Before I get to that, though, I want to thank both of you for having me here today. Kari and Emily, thank you both for your service to our nation and our IC. You’ve both had a huge impact and still impacting, so thank you.
But, yeah, we were supposed to have a change of directorship about a month ago between me and Lieutenant General Jeff Kruse. He is – he is caught up in the Senate confirmation process, which is on hold because of a political issue with the Pentagon and the Senate related to reproductive health care. So I will be – I will be in the position until Jeff is confirmed. And in such time as the secretary still will have me and the chairman and the secretary of the Army and the chief of staff of the Army want me in the job, I’ll be in the job.
Ms. Harding: Well, thank you for your service.
LTG Berrier: Thank you.
Ms. Bingen: And you know, you make a commitment to your family. You have plans upon retirement. So thank you for staying with it as long as it takes.
LTG Berrier: Thanks, Kari.
Ms. Bingen: If I can start us off by having you give us a little bit of an overview for DIA, you know, the world is a lot different now than when it was when you joined the Army back in 1987.
LTG Berrier: ’84.
Ms. Bingen: ’84. And different than when you joined DIA just a few years ago. So, when you arrived in 2020, what were you seeking to accomplish? What were your priorities? How has the strategic environment evolved throughout your time in the business?
LTG Berrier: Yeah, Kari, thanks for the question. I was thinking about how we maintain relevancy at DIA and this – and this notion – this thought about strategic competition. And you know, I often think about that time back in 1984 where, you know, it was a – it was a bipolar world between USA-USSR, NATO-the Warsaw Pact. And I thought that was complicated then, but it actually wasn’t as complicated as we thought it was. We had the Soviets down, we knew their playbook, and we basically outspent them.
And then – and then that period in between, from about 1990 to 2001, was the era of getting ready, and we got ready for a war – all the services – that we really didn’t fight.
And then 9/11 happens, and that’s a very difficult military to be in when you join a unit, you train with them, you deploy, you inflict loss, you take loss, families are taking care of the home front, and then you do that 15 times. And as we came out of that – and about the time that we met, when I was on the Army staff, I started thinking deeply about strategic competition. And the Army had generated the New Gen Warfare Study for Russia, and how that really propelled Army modernization at the time, and how we pivot, actually, to strategic competition.
So I was thinking about that in 2020 when I took over from Bob Ashley at DIA. And DIA is a really interesting place, as you know. The one thing that hasn’t changed at DIA – which is the same today as it was in 1960 – is what we are for, and what DIA is for is foundational military intelligence. We are supposed to be the master sense-makers of the STREET (ph) sheet – strategic, operational, tactical military environments around the world. That is to say, we’re supposed to know everything there is to know about foreign militaries: how they’re trained, how they’re equipped, when they would fight, how they would fight, why they would fight, where their – where their bases are, and what times – what types of capabilities they’re acquiring. And we still do that today.
I think – I think the difference is – and this is not your mom or your dad’s DIA. We’ve had to really take an innovative approach to the organization to be able to pivot to strategic competition. We’ll probably talk about that a bit later. But the organization today is nothing like it was three years ago, and we continue to evolve and improve it to meet the demands.
Ms. Harding: I look forward to hearing more about that evolution. You’ve done really tremendous work there.
But let’s turn to hot topics for just a minute. It is a time in the world where there are two intense conflicts going on the U.S. is not directly involved in, but certainly at least tangentially involved in. When you think about the Israeli intelligence services, what do you think they’re focused on right now? And what are we watching across the region?
LTG Berrier: Sure. Well, I think our partners in Israel are really focused on internal Israeli security right now and what’s happening in Gaza, so they’re embroiled in that fight right now against Hamas, who attacked them on the 7th in October in ways that we should not speak of here. And so they are – they are out to really destroy Hamas right now, and that is unfolding as we speak.
I think the Israeli intelligence services and their security services overall are focused completely on what’s happening inside Israel. They’re also thinking about what’s happening on their northern border, thinking about the West Bank, but also thinking about where they’re vulnerable and where their vulnerabilities are right now. And I think in terms of partnership we can probably help them and we are helping them right now try to understand what the regional reactions are to all this – what the Iranians are thinking, what the Shia militia groups are thinking in Iraq and Syria, what the Houthis are thinking and doing, and really, through that, understanding what our own vulnerabilities are in this crisis.
Ms. Harding: Mmm hmm. It’s a really complicated regional picture.
LTG Berrier: It is.
Ms. Harding: And with Iran having made decades’ worth of threats against Israel, you have to kind of wonder whether they think this is their moment or whether they think that this is not the moment.
Shifting over to Ukraine, let’s talk about that for just a second. There’s been offensive and counteroffensive, and then kind of a descent into a – not a stalemate, we’re not going to call it a stalemate, but a very static battlefield in a lot of ways. But huge expenditures of munitions, and then some really innovative approaches to warfare, especially when it comes to things like drone activity and then meshing very old technology with very new technology. So, in your view, what have we learned from the Ukraine conflict so far?
LTG Berrier: Great question. You could have a – you could talk about this for a couple of days, Emily.
I think, you know, the biggest thing for us is, you know, our preconceived notions about the – what the Russian military was turned out to be not true. And there are a lot of reasons for that, and we can – we can peel that back if we need to. But having intimate understanding of militaries is really where we’re supposed to be, and I think we’ve learned a lot through this – through this crisis.
And the other thing that we’ve learned is sharing is really, really important. So our DNI and our president made a very bold decision to declassify sensitive intelligence so that we could alert the world to what was happening here and what Russia was about to do. DIA’s role in this with our partners in European Command was to set up a network for intelligence sharing with our Ukrainian partners and then our NATO partners as well, and to keep them in the loop with what’s going on, to include our Five Eyes partners as well. So the ability to have policy rapidly develop to do that, to have a(n) infrastructure to be able to share, really, really key. And then keeping your eye on enemy forces and tracking them throughout the battle every day is really, really key.
We’ve learned a lot of lessons. We’ve learned a lot about will to fight and assessing a will to fight. We’ve created a couple of tradecraft notes about that and things that we need to look at as we go forward.
Ms. Harding: That’s one of the hardest things to measure, the will to fight.
LTG Berrier: It is.
Ms. Harding: You need on-the-ground information and then a certain amount of intangibles that’s just almost impossible to know as an intelligence analyst.
LTG Berrier: Leadership being one of them.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. Exactly.
Ms. Bingen: That’s a great point. So John McLaughlin, who is an intel leader that many of us admire – he was the acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, friend and mentor to many of us here at CSIS – he has quoted Brent Scowcroft before, former national security adviser to Ford and G.H.W. Bush, but he has said, “The role of intelligence is to narrow the range of uncertainty when difficult decisions have to be made.” You know, I just think in the present day we are just awash in data and information, everything from that exquisite collection to 24/7 news cycle, social media, even disinformation. But even amongst all that, you know, you rarely get that smoking-gun piece of information or intelligence to act on. So how are we thinking through training analysts within this paradigm of just so much information? How do you – how do you reduce that uncertainty?
LTG Berrier: That’s a great question. You know, the first – the first line of effort in our DIA strategy is intelligence advantage, and for me intelligence advantage is understanding the environment and being able to deliver decision space to senior leaders who have to – have to make those decisions. So the ability to quickly dissect on what’s happening in a given situation and being able to provide the ground source of truth is key to everything that we’re trying to do.
And so when I think about the datasets that are out there and the ability to employ AI tools to be able to dissect that – and when you think about the data, not only the pristine data that we – are derived from NTM sources and pristine collection, but just a plethora of open-source data that’s out there and data you can buy commercially – the ability to have those tools to quickly sift that so analysts can step back and think about what’s happening. Because the AI in handling the big data will give you trends, but it doesn’t give you an enemy commander’s intent. And so the analytical call to say this is what they’re thinking and why they’re thinking it can – AI can help with that, but at the end of the day it comes down to analysts talking and doing the work that they do so well.
Ms. Bingen: And then there’s this tension where decision-makers, they need speed. They need an answer at the time that they need it. But then, as an analyst, you want to continue to get information so that you can reduce that uncertainty and have confidence in the judgment or the recommendation that you’re providing.
LTG Berrier: Yeah.
Ms. Bingen: How do you see that tension playing out?
LTG Berrier: Well, the Pentagon battle rhythm has an enforcement mechanism all its own, and it’s all about time. It’s the secretary’s time. It’s the chairman’s time. So we have to deliver every day on time. And there is several organizations in the Pentagon that I know you’re familiar with – ESO and then what we do in the Joint Staff J2 – tie closely to all of our analysts back at DIA and then through the COCOMs to be able to get that information quickly assessed and in the right format for our senior leaders every single morning. So that cycle doesn’t stop.
Ms. Bingen: OK.
Ms. Harding: So let’s pull that AI thread just a little bit more since you brought it up. How do you see the evolution of something like AI in the intelligence business? It’s one of those where, as an intelligence professional formerly myself, you know, you don’t want to depend on a tool that you don’t trust yet, and we’re still a long way from trust in AI systems.
LTG Berrier: Right. Right.
Ms. Harding: Do you have a thought about how AI could slowly and confidently be incorporated into what we do?
LTG Berrier: I do. And so let me – let me go back to our roots of foundational military intelligence, and we have a database called MIDB – the Military Intelligence Integrated Database. We’ve had it since the late 1980s. And if you were to look at an MIDB record, you might see a satellite photo there with an Excel spreadsheet that describes what that thing is.
We are transitioning to a platform called MARS. It’s the Machine-Assisted Analytic Rapid Repository. And it takes everything that’s in MIDB but infuses it with the tools that we have available today from all of those sources. And so not only – not only a satellite image and a description, but you will have a map database infused with lots of different open-source datapoints that will tell you what’s going on there – information that we can buy, other information that we can steal. And it gives analysts, through alarms and tippers, ways to analyze what’s happening and techniques that we haven’t used before.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. That’s a great example of how we’re already sort of starting down that road.
LTG Berrier: Absolutely.
Ms. Harding: But we’re going to do it carefully and we’re going to do it deliberately.
LTG Berrier: Very carefully and deliberately and lawfully.
Ms. Harding: And lawfully.
Well, so, on that note, it would be criminal of me to not ask at least one question about the 702 program. This is a program that is part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and has been in place since 2008, for our audience; was reauthorized in 2018; and is now up for reauthorization again here in 2023. And it has become controversial for reasons that I fail to completely understand because so much of it is a misunderstanding about the way that the law actually works and the restrictions in place on it. I just want to ask you to say a little bit about how 702 informs what DIA does.
LTG Berrier: Sure. So for 702 practically, DIA has sort of a different role in 702 in that we take everything that 702 collection delivers and we put that into our all-source picture. We’re not – we’re not going to federal courts and seeking 702 warrants. That’s not what we do. But we take everything that’s delivered from that, and it’s absolutely critical to what we do every single day. It’s a huge amount of data that we have to have.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. There’s an outstanding figure that’s something like 60 percent of articles in the PDB include at least some 702 information. And I think what’s going on right now in Israel and Gaza has been an added reminder that, you know, terrorism is still a feature of our lives and we cannot, cannot be blinded to the kind of information that 702 provides.
LTG Berrier: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Ms. Bingen: So I want to come back to MARS.
LTG Berrier: OK.
Ms. Bingen: Because I was fortunate to work with you and your predecessor, Lieutenant General Ashley, as you all were standing up MARS at DIA, and it is phenomenal to think, you know, this is a master data repository of all of these order-of-battle objects, be it facilities, infrastructure, military units, records around the world on military activities. But now you just have so much more information, as you were saying. We need to look at space and at cyber. So the technology needed to be able to bring that together and make it more dynamic is, I think, the challenge in front of you, paired with the tradecraft.
So I guess I want to ask on MARS, what role do you see the private sector playing? How do you leverage what they’re doing? And how is DIA thinking about the acquisition of these capabilities where you’re constantly – you know, the pace of technology is just moving so fast?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. So we have to have best of breed in all these capabilities. And so through the DevSecOps process we’ve been able to develop algorithms with our commercial partners that actually deliver really, really quickly. Having the ability to do that in the open and in unclassified form was really key for us to developing MARS. There are some security issues that prevent us from always doing that, but that is the way that we have to go to make MARS the very best that it can be, because we know that we’re not going to have all of the development capability in a – in a government organization so we have to go to commercial partners to able to deliver that. I think we’ve done that really, really well. MARS is an evolution. It will go IOC here in the spring and FOC in ’25, and we have to make sure that we do the things correctly to be able to integrate completely MIDB and also share that with our partners. It’s critical to them as well.
Ms. Bingen: OK. Strategic competition. And we just talked about this at the beginning. DOD/DIA, we’re good at that, I’ll say, order-of-battle information – how many ships, how many tanks does red have versus blue have, how many aircraft. It very much is preparing for military conflict. But strategic competition with China, it’s more than military; it’s economic political, diplomatic, in the information realm. Perhaps not an area DIA has traditionally operated in or maybe emphasized as much. So what role do you see DIA playing in this era of strategic competition? And what is needed from defense intelligence across those different areas?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. So I think – I think the days of an analyst walking into a senior leader’s office with a finished intelligence product and saying, sir or ma’am, you’ve got a really terrible problem, and then – and then we leave and go off and work the next intelligence problem, we have to be able to do more than that. And so with our Title 50 authorities, we can do some of that. And so we have to think about what this report means, and what it means for the department, and how DIA and really the intelligence community at large can assist in solving that strategic-competition problem.
So, back to my opener here about when I came to DIA in 2020, we did a study and looked at how we were set for strategic competition, and we really weren’t. So we came back, and we reorganized internally to create an office called the Director of Global Integration. Our DDGI, Mr. Greg Ryckman, is really sort of the J3 of DIA, who has the authority to move assets and resources across the entire DIA enterprise to make sure that we are meeting the department’s intelligence needs and strategic-competition needs.
We also stood up this thing called the China Mission Group, which takes all of our China analysts, our collectors, our counterintelligence professionals, mission managers into one space that focuses completely on the China problem set; working very, very closely with our Indo-Pacific Regional Center, which takes the rest of the – of the Indo-Pacific; and again, working that closely with INDOPACOM, the Joint Staff J2, and the – and the secretary and staff in the department.
Ms. Bingen: And then just, as you know, about two weeks ago there was a U.S. Strategic Posture Commission that came out with a report looking at our nuclear posture vis-à-vis now two nuclear – very nuclear-capable peer adversaries, both in terms of Russia and China. So that’s really the other end of the spectrum to some of the information, strategic competition below the level of armed conflict, that end of the spectrum. But as we think about deterring two nuclear-armed peers who may be working together in certain areas, how do you think about that end of the spectrum as well? And how do you organize to address that challenge, as well as having to do the strategic-competition piece?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. Just – if we just peel that back for a second and think about what the NDS said in 2018, when we identified China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, violent extremist organizations, with the intent not to drive those entities together. And we talked about this with the chairman a couple of nights ago.
So I think, you know, in the – in the role of DIA, what we have to do is illuminate everything that’s going on between these adversaries. There is a very interesting nexus happening right now between Iran, Russia, and North Korea that is really, really disturbing, vis-à-vis what’s happening in Ukraine right now. And we’re watching similar things play out in Israeli-Hamas crisis. So we have to be very, very vigilant with our IC partners in watching all of this.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. So we mentioned one innovation there, which is the creation of the J3 position for DIA, who can move resources around. I want to talk a little bit more about the culture of innovation that you have set up at DIA. One of your lines of efforts is intelligence strategy. And as part of that strategy, you’ve talked about creating a culture of innovation at your agency. So what’s the difference between a culture of innovation and what we often hear derogatorily referred to as innovation theater, where we talk about how important innovation is but we never quite get there?
LTG Berrier: Yeah, I think you have to put your money where your mouth is. And so for DIA, and this is – this is on the business side DIA, this is not on the intelligence mission side of DIA. If you looked at our HR system, at DIA, it hadn’t changed since about the late 1970s, or ’80s. Still moving – imagine, an organization like DIA – still moving paper files around, still doing medical records checks as files move around. It’s insane. And so we’ve invested millions of dollars to upgrade that business system so that we can be much more efficient. It’s a sign to the workforce that we care. We’re going to make their life easier. We’re going to make payroll easier. We’re going to make their medical easier. And so we’re working on this right now really, really aggressively. And we think – we think it’s – that, in itself, changes the culture inside the organization.
Ms. Harding: It always amazed me, working in the intelligence community, how we could have the whiz-bangy-est whiz-bang toys for use in the field, and then you’d go to HR and everything was on paper. (Laughs.) It’s just shocking.
LTG Berrier: Part of our problem is we have a global organization, right? And we’re in all of the combatant command JIOCs. And so think of the DIA officers that are assigned to Honolulu, Hawaii, or Stuttgart, Germany, and they need – they need help from our HR team, and we can’t move that quickly. Now, we’ll be able to do that.
Ms. Harding: And how are you thinking about cyber and how cyber operations fit into that bigger, broader organizational culture? And I will ask you the question about cyber force. Do you think we need to head down that road?
LTG Berrier: Well, I would say that we need to get our act together on intelligence support to cyber operations. And so there’s a long dialogue going on right now with Cyber Command, with NSA, with the Hill on what does right look like for intelligence support to cyber? DIA is not postured right now to deliver everything that we probably could. There will be a cyber module in March, which will be very – which will be very helpful. But if you look at – if you look at all of the services, whether it’s Air Force, Army, Navy, think of the Office of Naval Intelligence, think of the National Ground Intelligence Center, think of National Air and Space Intelligence Center. Should there be an intelligence center that supports cyber, I think the answer to that is yes. And we’re going to work very, very closely with our Cyber Command and NSA partners to – and Congress – to actually explore what that looks like and what it needs to be.
Ms. Harding: That’s really exciting.
LTG Berrier: It is exciting.
Ms. Harding: And that leads me to the follow-on question about talent management. I have literally been all over the world talking to people about the future of cyber conflict. And the number one issue everybody raises is talent. I have such a hard time finding people who really understand this space, and who can come in, and are willing to work for me as opposed to going to work for a big tech conglomerate who can pay twice the salary.
LTG Berrier: Yeah, that’s the problem. We have to be able to embrace people with our mission. Like, the mission is so important, and it’s so rewarding. You know, finding the right STEM candidates in all of these universities and attracting them to the mission is really where we have to be. It’s got to be a little bit about pride in America. It’s got to be a little bit of pride in the IC, and pride in what you’re doing, and pride in working with a great team. And if you don’t come to DIA, then there’s always – there’s always life at CIA, there’s always life at NSA, there’s always life at NGA. But come to the IC. And we hope you choose DIA. But, I mean, there’s just a lot going on and there’s a lot to do.
Ms. Harding: There’s a lot of great stuff to do. One of the pitches that I always make is that you can come to the IC and you can do things legally that you can’t do legally anywhere else. (Laughter.)
LTG Berrier: You won’t be able to talk about it at home much, but you’ll get a lot of job satisfaction.
Ms. Harding: But, boy, you’ll have a lot of fun.
LTG Berrier: Yeah.
Ms. Harding: Absolutely. (Laughs.) Do you want to move on to?
Ms. Bingen: Sure. If I can come back to strategic competition.
LTG Berrier: Yes.
Ms. Bingen: I’m going to start weaving in a few of our audience questions here as well. But so the deputy secretary of defense has said that we want our adversaries, we want Xi Jinping, to think today is not the day. So how are we doing, from a defense intelligence perspective, in understanding how the PRC, understanding how that leadership, ticks? And helping to inform decisions on our own posture to ensure that today is not the day?
LTG Berrier: Right. There is a – there’s a really interesting nexus between our INDOPACOM J2 teammates, our China mission group at DIA, and a new center that we’ve stood up in Australia called Combined Intelligence Center Australia, in Canberra, that is looking at this very problem. So we’re trying to understand the warning problem of a lifetime with the PRC, but also how they think. And so it’s about having the right accesses in the right partnerships.
And so one of the things I always say is, in the United States our asymmetric advantage in the IC is that all of the intelligence leaders know each other. I grew up in the Army with Paul Nakasone. I’ve known Trey Whitworth for almost 20 years. And all of the leaders are really, really good friends, and we’ve got a great boss. And so that is our asymmetric advantage. Taking that asymmetric advantage and applying it to new partnerships in the Indo-Pacific is really how we’re going to win. And so we’ve got to be there with more for non-traditional partners in the Indo-Pacific, and we have to be there for them. Because if we’re not, we know that the Chinese will be.
Ms. Bingen: And so I’m going to weave that into a question here from our British friends in the Ministry of Defense. So we have always talked in terms of either state adversaries or non-state actors being the focus of our operations, training, and intelligence. However, given what were happening today, seeing a state versus state conflict and state versus non-state conflict happening, do we need to break away from that paradigm or that separation?
LTG Berrier: Well, it’s an interesting thought. You know, we – DIA is globally postured. And so, as master sense-makers of the entire environment here, we’ve got to be able to walk and chew gum. And our secretary said that the other day. So the ability to keep an eye on terrorist threats to the United States, non-state actors, and the ability to shift to strategic competition, is going to be paramount for us. And we have to be able to do both.
Ms. Harding: Drawing on that partnership team a little bit more, you mentioned Indo-Pacific. I know that a real strength of the U.S. intelligence community in general is its partnerships around the world. There’s only so much money in the world, and certainly only so much time, and you can’t be everywhere, all the time, all at once. So talk a little bit about how you view the role of partnerships and intelligence more broadly, maybe European partnerships as well.
LTG Berrier: Absolutely. In our new construct with the deputy director of global integration, he has an office called the Partner Mission Integration Office. And so we put partnerships all in one office. Whether that’s partnerships like we have with CSIS, whether that’s foreign partnerships, academic partnerships. They’re all under one partnership umbrella that allows us to have a common operating picture on partnerships.
Some of the partnerships that we had in the last 20 years may not be the partnerships that we need going forward. So the common operational picture on partnerships allows you to see where you can divest a little bit and where you need to invest a little bit. And so as we pivot to the Pacific, we’re certainly watching that right now. Australians and New Zealanders, key partners in the Indo-Pacific, but there are others as well. Meeting with Vietnam, meeting with the Philippines, meeting with some of the – some of the smaller nations in the Indo-Pacific are really, really key. And then as we – as we transfer back to Europe, those have been traditional partnerships for a long time.
Whether that’s NATO, whether that’s as a part of the Five Eyes, or with our Nordic partners, always thinking about how we can maximize the benefit of a partnership and what we need to do. And actually, getting something back, instead of just giving. And right now I think we’re in a really good place in Europe and the Indo-Pacific with partners. Really pleased with where that’s going.
Ms. Harding: Absolutely. We were just on our research trip to Albania and Montenegro. And we were talking about their cyberattacks last summer – the summer before last. And both of them were just over the top effusive in their praise of how effective NATO had been in stepping up and really helping them, and how grateful they were that that alliance was there and strong.
LTG Berrier: Absolutely. Awesome.
Ms. Bingen: Let me get a little bit into some details on roles and missions that DIA has that maybe others don’t necessarily realize.
LTG Berrier: Sure.
Ms. Bingen: Can you talk a little bit about your counterintelligence mission and some of the challenges that you have there, and opportunities going forward?
LTG Berrier: Sure. Sure. So a very robust Office of Counterintelligence exists within our Director of Operations. Really focused on security, counterintelligence investigations, and following supply chain risk management, and protecting that. So it’s a protection mission as well as an offensive mission. Our CI force is a little different than, say, Army counterintelligence, or naval NCIS, or OSI. So we are focused on a lot of analysis and protection, not only for our own DIA workforce, but also our partners as well.
Ms. Bingen: And then you also have a defense attaché mission. And we’re very fortunate to have several of our allies and partners here who are defense attachés from their country. But you also work at training our defense attachés that go out in the world and build partnerships.
LTG Berrier: Sure. DIA has the – has the responsibility to train and support our defense attaché service. Really think of all of our military diplomats of all services on embassy platforms across the world. We have resident attachés in 143 countries with accreditation into 180 countries. And just think of – think of the partnership that that gives us with those nations. And right now, in my mind, I’m thinking about our senior defense official and attaché in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv right now. He’s been critical for us. He and that team are really, really enlightening us on what’s happening and keeping us informed. It’s a critical partnership. When I think about him and the relationship that that team has to U.S. Central Command, and then back to DIA, it’s a really interesting and effective ecosystem.
Ms. Bingen: And then one of the ways that those attachés are armed with sharing information is through the different networks that you operate. So another role that I don’t think folks realize is you are responsible for JWICS, which is that classified IT network and information sharing system.
LTG Berrier: Right. Right. So not many – I think it’s not really all that well known. We run the top secret network for the U.S. federal government. And so whether that’s at the at the NSC, or whether that’s in the Pentagon, DIA is responsible for all that. We think it’s probably – it is the most secure network in government right now. And we aim to keep it that way, through a very robust modernization effort that’s been ongoing now for several years.
Ms. Bingen: So with all of those different types of roles and responsibilities, another question came in from Amanda Thorpe who works in the Senate. And she said, how do you effectively balance DIA’s obligations as a functional manager for elements of the defense intelligence enterprise with management of DIA’s own internal requirements, and thinking about all of these different mission responsibilities that you have?
LTG Berrier: Hi, Amanda. That’s a very Amanda question. (Laughter.) I would just say, so we now call it defense intelligence enterprise management. So I’m responsible for eight different disciplines within the IC. And really, what that means is, we set the sort of the rules of the road, and policies for each one of these disciplines, whether it’s human intelligence, counterintelligence, measurement, and signatures intelligence, open-source intelligence, all source analysis. We are the ones that have to be the regulators of each one of those enterprises.
And I would say, just off the cuff, some of them are older and well established, like all source analysis. Some of them, like OSINT, are brand new. And so there is an unevenness across the agency on how many people we have managing those functions. And when you have a base budget that is barely keeping up with inflation, it’s tough to invest new people in some of those functions. So it’s a balance every single day on how we manage those enterprises and how many people we can put towards it. But we’re thinking about it a lot.
Ms. Harding: Commitment to the mission is always there, so I know you guys get it done. But it cannot be easy with the amount of resources that you have.
Another question from the audience, from one of our military fellows here at CSIS. How have the high-profile leaks of classified information over the last few years impacted the IC’s ability to collect and distribute sensitive intelligence, especially with regard to international partners? Anytime you see a leak, like the alleged leak last year, you know, apparently a kid trying to impress some other kids not a foreign intelligence service, you do you kind of take a step back and question how do we manage the need to know with the spreading of potentially sensitive information?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. Shocking. Shocking and disappointing on so many levels, for sure. So, you know, in my time in the IC I’ve been – I’ve lived through the Snowden, I’ve lived through Manning, and now – and now this one as well. All of those could have been prevented with the right controls in place, to include this latest one. And so I think, you know, it’s a combination of having the right technology in place, but also having leaders in the right mindset. And so understanding why an individual might have access and seeing what he or she is doing every single day on net is really, really key.
And so it’s about engaged leadership. It’s a serious interest in the lives of others. And so I really think that we have the technology. We’re moving that technology that that will put checks – more checks and balances in place to be able to control this much better. And, to our partners, I would say: Hey, listen. Trust us. We can do this. And we need you to trust us. And we want to – we want to trust you as well. And so let’s continue to work it together and be the best that we can be.
Ms. Harding: Yeah, as a percentage of people who have access to information, the leaks are just infinitesimally tiny. But when they do happen, it’s a moment where you’re, like, oh, come on. Like, really? This really didn’t need to happen.
LTG Berrier: It is, yeah. Very disappointing.
Ms. Harding: Very disappointing.
LTG Berrier: Can I just – can I touch on that for a second, though?
Ms. Harding: Please, yeah.
LTG Berrier: So it does get back to organizational culture. And so when I – when I talk to new officers at DIA, I often link our oath. And one line in the oath says that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office in which I’m about to enter. And then when you come into DIA, you’ll see – you’ll see our values and our creed. Committed to excellence in defense of the nation. We will be excellent. And then – and then we vet our new employees. And we do a lot to understand who they are and make sure that they’re good to go. And they get a blue IC badge.
And so the combination of that blue IC badge, the oath, and our creed, is a deal. It’s a contract. You can’t break that contract. And so as I try to instill the sense of security, and commitment, and obligation into our workforce, that has to be talked about every day. We all have a commitment. And as you go about your duties on a daily basis, sometimes it’s easy to forget that basic obligation to protect information. But you have a blue badge for reason, because we trust you. And we don’t get anything done in the IC without trust.
Ms. Harding: Mmm hmm, absolutely. And you take that blue badge with an understanding that you’re going to get to do some really cool things behind closed doors, but it stays behind closed doors. As much as you would like to – yeah.
LTG Berrier: Keys of the kingdom. Yeah, keys of the kingdom.
Ms. Harding: Yeah.
Ms. Bingen: That’s a really great point. OK, let me ask a question from Joshua Himes, who’s within the Joint Staff J2. And those Joint Staff J2, director of intelligence.
LTG Berrier: He’s got – he’s got a little – Josh, you have a little time on your hands. (Laughter.)
Ms. Bingen: Yeah. You’re not busy at all, right? But they’re all DIA employees. So I wanted to make that point. And he asked, in 2011 then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told West Point cadets, quote, “when it comes to predicting the nature and location of our next military engagements, our record has been perfect. We have never once gotten it right,” end-quote. (Laughter.) But it’s a fair point. So looking forward, where do you see that potential unanticipated conflict? And is the intelligence community, DIA, are we agile enough to adjust to, you know, the unpredicted, without losing focus on those great-power competition priorities?
LTG Berrier: Right. So I think that’s a great question, Josh. And I would say that the reorganization that we’ve taken a DIA, I hope, gives us the agility to understand and see what’s coming over the horizon. And so we want to – we want to be here today to support Pentagon leadership with what they need to decide today. But we’ve also got to be there 10 years down the road. And the way we’re organized right now I think gives us a current operations focus, and then a future operations focus.
And then I think the other piece that makes DIA really unique is this relationship that we have with combatant commands. So it’s not just DIA that’s thinking about this. All of our combatant commands are thinking about it, which gives us really, really unique insights into global operations.
Ms. Bingen: And all those combatant command intelligence staff, they are all DIA employees.
LTG Berrier: They are all DIA employees.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. So on that great-power competition piece, one of our – another one fellows, Michael Darrah, asks: As you mentioned, experts were widely surprised at the inability of the Russian Armed Forces to execute combat missions at the tactical level in Ukraine. How do you then go about assessing PLA forces, especially given that they haven’t been directly involved in significant combat in decades? And, actually, one of our scholars here at CSIS, Eliot Cohen, is looking at this question from an outsider’s perspective. As we had gotten so much wrong about the Ukrainians and also the Russians, are we looking at other potential adversaries the right way and not making those same mistakes again?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. So I think, first off, on bias, we have to be able to step back from our own personal biases and professional biases about this. You know, when you look at –when you look at Russia, you know, we did – the Army did a Russia new gen warfare study in about 2016 and 2017. And that army looked pretty good. They had gone from smaller Soviet-era tactical formations to battalion battle tactical groups. They acquired new kit. It appeared to be really, really good.
But some of the things in the Soviet system didn’t transition into the Russian system. They still didn’t have an NCO corps. They still didn’t do foundational training very, very well. And, honestly, through years of counterterrorism analysis and operations, we kind of took our eye off the ball of that. We lost a lot of Russian Soviet military expertise. And there were some things in that system that had not changed, and we missed that a bit. We missed that in our assessment.
I think with the growth of the PRC military across all spectrums, we have had our eye on this for the last five or six years with a high degree of intensity. And so I think we’re taking a different view of this. We know that they’re pulling together a lot of capabilities. And I always talk about the greatest theft of intellectual property in the history of mankind has been their stealing of our secrets and our technology. And they’re trying to apply that into –
Ms. Harding: That F-35 over there, that looks kind of familiar, huh?
LTG Berrier: Yeah, very interesting. And they’re trying to apply that to do some of the things that we are very, very good at. And so they watched us over the last 20 years. They watched the ability that we could employ precision fires and do command control. And they are aspirational in that regard right now. And so we have to watch them very, very carefully as they – as they continue to grow and develop, and what their messaging is.
Ms. Harding: Yeah, one of the great challenges, I think, for an intelligence organization too is that you can steal secrets, but there has to be something there to steal. And the thing that you’re stealing, you have to be able to interpret it properly. And when you look at an authoritarian regime where its military is lying to itself – in the Russian system, a lot of corruption, a lot of people saying that there are a certain number of troops available when in actuality some of those are going to be ghost soldiers. Yeah, sure, I did the maintenance on that tank. Absolutely, I did. Even though absolutely they did not. And then looking at what that means when you look at other militaries around the world. And with China in particular, because they haven’t fought a war since 1979. Like, how do you correct for a military that is lying to itself?
LTG Berrier: Yeah, so I think – I think on the on the Russian system, you know, you – when you compare it to the U.S. system, it takes probably two months to train a tank crew. That’s a crew operating one tank. It takes months if not years to get that crew to interoperate with other tank crews to be an effective armor unit or mechanized infantry unit. What we’re seeing on the Russian side is, hey, get in that tank and go. There’s really not a whole lot of training. That is not the way to do it. And so I think the Chinese are also taking lessons from this, and examining that, and thinking through what a potential scenario would be in warfare in the Indo-Pacific region, however that may unfold, and in trying to learn those lessons. I think Taiwan is taking some lessons away as well.
Ms. Bingen: Well, and what is striking to me as well is it is easier to count something – looking at ships, tanks, how they perform. But, to your point, it’s when you start bringing that all together, and you look at how do they do joint operations? How do their different services connect? How well trained are they? What are their operational concepts or how they would employ these types of weapon systems? You know, that is a key part of what DIA, your analysts do every day, right?
LTG Berrier: It’s foundational. Yeah, and working with our INDOPACOM partners, I think we do this every day very, very well.
Ms. Bingen: That’s super.
So let me shift here. Let’s see, from Masao Dahlgren, who’s one of our bright analysts here at CSIS. He asks: As we’ve seen in Ukraine, C4ISR – so, command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance – C4ISR overmatch matters greatly for winning battles. But these capabilities are often inherently difficult to demonstrate to adversaries. So how do we deter, when modern warfare increasingly depends on capabilities that we can’t show?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. It’s a great question and a great thought. I’m not sure what the answer to that question is. But I do know that C4ISR, and our way of war, is much different than it is in other nations’ ways of war. And the ability for us to hold those tactics, techniques, and procedures close, and only share them with our closest partners, is how – is how we retain them. And so, you know, we have a new warfighting construct called JADC2. Is it a concept? Is it a thing? Is it a series of things? I am concerned about how much we talk about that, and where the future is going, and what network that will reside on, because that is the way that we’re going to win the next war. I want to make sure that we protect that.
Ms. Harding: I think that’s an absolutely critical point. I’m interested in this same question that Masao asked, from the opposite side, which is thinking like the adversary – as one tends to do if one grew up in the intelligence community – (laughs) – how are they looking at picking apart our C4ISR? How are they looking at our highly networked way of fighting and then taking it apart piece by piece so that we can’t communicate with ourselves and with our allies? Defending those networks is going to be critically important. How do you see that offense-defense balance?
LTG Berrier: Well, I see – you know, if you just look at the organizational construct of the PLA, and their cybersecurity forces, and their space force, they’ve done a lot to propel themselves forward very, very rapidly. And so their ability to put that together, I think we have to watch very, very carefully. And then always the defensive mindset of we must protect our networks, and who is going to protect the nation?
Ms. Harding: Redundancy, redundancy, redundancy.
LTG Berrier: Yeah, mmm hmm.
Ms. Bingen: Yeah. And that’s interesting that you said cyber and space, because both of us have been looking at those areas quite a bit, of those are areas that that China, in particular, has been building up capability to target cyber and to counter space because we know how critical those are to our ability to project power and connect distributed forces in the Indo-Pacific.
LTG Berrier: Absolutely, the need to invest in intelligence, support cyber operations, continued investment in space, working with our NGA partners and our other partners is really, really key going forward.
Ms. Harding: And, you know, low-tech solutions like teaching navigating by the stars at the Naval Academy. (Laughs.)
That would be good.
Ms. Harding: Something we’re returning to.
Ms. Bingen: Let’s see here. Let me see what other questions that we have.
Ms. Harding: Let’s do the one about game theory. That one’s kind of fun.
Ms. Bingen: Go for it. Go for it.
Ms. Harding: All right. So from a DIA contractor, Deion Smith: How has gaming theory and artificial intelligence been employed to help policymakers produce better analysis? Has the analysis really changed much versus the legacy way of doing analysis?
LTG Berrier: Yeah. I think – I think it’s an interesting question. And one of the things that – so I’ll take it in a different – slightly different direction. One of the things that we do really, really well at DIA is we try to inject what I call intelligence mission data – how foreign materiel systems actually work, how they beep, how they squeak, how they operate, how they fly, what is the telemetry involved. And we do that very, very well. We put that into a simulation and provide that to our acquisition community so that they can – we can make our stuff better.
Taking that one step further into wargames, I think, is really, really key. So having an accurate wargame that can accurately reflect enemy capabilities or adversary capabilities is really, really key. DIA has a role in that. There are a number of organizations in the IC and the acquisition community that put these games together, but the ability to evolve that rapidly for our most critical – our most critical wargames is really, really important, I think.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. We have –
LTG Berrier: We do contribute to it.
Ms. Harding: Yeah. We have a wargaming capability here in Ben Jensen’s Futures Lab, and there’s some really interesting thought around how you can use massive amounts of computing power to try to account for both some of the order and the chaos of conflict; looking at the order and what you know might happen compared with, you know, the uncertainties, the things that we cannot necessarily predict. And if you can use massive computing power to put those two things together, it’s not going to be predictive, necessarily, but it might be instructive.
LTG Berrier: Sure.
Ms. Bingen: So I’m – there’s a question here from Allison in the audience that I’m going to ask and then modify or adjust a bit. So: With all of the different missions that you have, how do you prioritize and manage them? But then how do you collaborate with other intelligence community and military elements? What does DIA’s collaboration with other IC elements look like now and in the future with all of these different – with all these different threats that you’re facing?
And tied to that, you know, you have some interesting responsibilities where you have a community responsibility. How do you get all the different actors to do what you – what you need them to do?
LTG Berrier: Right. So I think the National Defense Strategy really, really gives us the vector and is the guidepost for DIA and, really, all the intelligence agencies. China, clearly, is the pacing threat. There is – it is number one. There is no other number one. Russia, really, really critical right now as the acute threat. And always keeping an eye on these regional actors, these major regional actors – Iran, North Korea – and then always for violent extremist organizations. So, if you keep the guidepost there and it’s lit, that is the – that is the way you’re going to move forward.
But there are a lot of responsibilities because we’re a global organization and things that we have to do. So we have to make sure that our all-source analysis is backed up by the best tradecraft that we can come up with, because when I’m sitting in front of Congress that’s what I’m – that’s what’s backing me up. We have an analytic line on just about everything. That analytic line has been well-developed by well-trained, highly-intuitive analysts that are using solid tradecraft. Our collection techniques, whether those are human collection or technical collection, have to follow the principles and the rules and laws implicitly; otherwise, we’re not going to be effective. And so using the tools that we have at hand, based on the guideposts and the priorities, following our DIA strategy, and using the organization that we’ve created here in the last couple of years, I think, sets us apart, makes us a little different, and keeps us on the relevant road that we’re on right now.
Ms. Bingen: And then DIA, you are a combat-support agency. So you are supporting our defense leaders. You’re supporting the combatant commands and warfighters. But you have two bosses. You have mom and dad to deal with. You have the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and security, acting on behalf of the SecDef. And you also have the director of national intelligence. I guess I was maybe mom in that relationship a couple of years ago.
LTG Berrier: Yes.
Ms. Bingen: But how do you balance maybe different priorities or different directions that the DIA and the SecDef may have?
LTG Berrier: Well, I love them both, if they’re listening. (Laughter.) That’s a true statement.
Hey, listen, we’re a – we’re a Department of Defense combat-support agency. And so, you know, while the president is customer number one, I’m making sure that the secretary of defense and the chairman and the service secretaries and the combatant commanders have what they need. And so I don’t feel like it’s – I don’t feel like I’m torn between mom and dad. I feel like they’re supporting and complementary; two different funding streams for sure on how we do our mission. But I think – and this I see – as I said before, we all get along. We’re all partners and we meet frequently, which I think is the asymmetric advantage.
Ms. Harding: I love this question that just came in from Katherine Woods in the U.K.: Drawing on the general’s point about lessons learned from Ukraine and our use of tech and innovation in the heat of battle, where are we, as intelligence practitioners, prepared to go in terms of tech agility? This feels as though it will test our ethical standards perhaps, thinking about their use of ordinance on drones.
That is definitely one idea about tech agility. We’ve also seen folks on the ground in Ukraine basically, like, tape iPads to old Soviet weapon systems –
LTG Berrier: Yeah.
Ms. Harding: – and try to make the two work together. And I was at a conference in Estonia this fall where some of the folks who were just in from the battlefield in Ukraine were talking about the iteration cycle on the front lines is about six weeks. And if they don’t have somebody sitting on the front lines, then they are out of the loop when it comes to the innovation cycle and what’s going on on the front lines.
LTG Berrier: Yeah.
Ms. Harding: How do you think about keeping up with that?
LTG Berrier: So I’m really proud of our Science and Technology director. I’m also very, very proud of our Strategic Competition Group. They think about these things deeply. And I didn’t talk about the SCG, but the Strategic Competition Group are about 30 officers at DIA who do nothing but read the most sensitive sources that they can read and think about those things.
That has come in very, very handy in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, working with our Science and Technology director to spin through capabilities and spin them. I won’t talk much more about that. But I feel really, really good about our ability to be agile, and actually to be agile with partners as well, to be able to put capabilities where there’s access and presence and taking advantage of that. I think we’re in a really good space right now.
Ms. Bingen: Can I build on that? There’s another piece of this, too, when I think about the targeting process and how intelligence and targeting connect, which is the Ukrainians, they’re bringing in all different forms of data, whether it’s commercial satellite imagery or data, open-source information. They’re using – they’re bringing it all on their iPads, then get it to different users. That’s a different model than I’d say how we – our intelligence community does.
LTG Berrier: Somewhat alarming in a lot of ways.
Ms. Bingen: And, you know, the risk tolerance is different because of the conflict they’re in. Are there lessons to be gained from that maybe as we look at Taiwan, for example?
LTG Berrier: Sure.
Ms. Bingen: They may be looking more like maybe Ukraine than the United States.
LTG Berrier: Sure. We’ve been able to spin off some development of tactical comms for top-secret level that have been very, very interesting and unique, and I think will apply well as we try to forward-stage capability and things. And so we’ve learned through this conflict that you can be a lot lighter, a lot more agile, with that sort of technology if you really need to be. We’re exploring that and development with our JWICS and our CIO team right now.
Ms. Harding: I do have a lot of faith in thinking that the kind of innovation that we’re seeing on the front lines in Ukraine is also going to be what we see our, you know, 22-, 25-year-old folks out in the field; that, you know, Americans who are like, I know how to use an iPhone; I can make this thing work to my advantage, and really find very creative ways to accomplish the mission –
LTG Berrier: Absolutely.
Ms. Harding: – when given a little bit of authority to do so.
Maybe one more question from the audience. Then we’ll do a little bit of a wrap-up. There’s an interesting question here about what Andrew Fang from Northwestern University is calling cognitive warfare, and especially regarding how China responded to then-Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.
LTG Berrier: Sure.
Ms. Harding: We know that China looks at information warfare as integrated with their full picture of warfare; same thing with Russia. And that’s something that we as the United States are maybe not quite so agile at. There’s something about being a government that believes in, you know, letting people think for themselves – (laughs) – that does not really lend itself to a heavy propaganda hand.
But how are you thinking about the next year when it comes to things like information operations? We have a ton of elections coming up in 2024. Something like nearly half the world’s population is going to vote in an election. How is DIA grappling with that?
LTG Berrier: So I think, from our perspective, right now we want to make sure that we understand how PRC leadership is thinking not only about the Indo-Pacific but how they’re thinking about us, what their threat perceptions are, and what our nation needs to be able to do to counter some of those narratives and messages, working very, very closely with our IC partners in particular, CYBERCOM and NSA. We’re thinking about our own elections coming up and who might try to meddle in those. And having an offensive stance is really, really key, I think, here to be able to defend our networks in going forward.
Ms. Harding: Yeah, thinking through the kind of inoculation the public needs, in addition to be able to spot mis- and disinformation, and also to sort of like ask questions before just automatically hitting like and repost.
LTG Berrier: Absolutely.
Ms. Bingen: So I want to close here and give you an opportunity to talk particularly to the young folks here and then those online. They’re interested in a career in intelligence. What would you say to them? You know, part of the challenge that we talk about here is it is – you are given trust. You are given phenomenal opportunities. But you can’t talk about your work per se. So for someone interested in going into that field, can you talk a little bit about, hey, why should they go to DIA?
LTG Berrier: Yeah.
Ms. Bingen: Why should they join the intelligence community?
LTG Berrier: I would love to. And I appreciate the opportunity to do that. When I think about – when I think about the Defense Intelligence Agency and our 16,500 employees that are globally based, 75 percent of those are civilians; 25 percent are military. And it is a wonderful mix of analysis, collection, science and technology, IT, and really trying to put our nation and the Department of Defense in a position of advantage.
It is a tremendous mission. It is a tremendous calling. If you choose to apply, what I can promise you, as the director, is you will be challenged every single day. We may not be able to pay as much as Google or Amazon or some of the other enterprise that are out there, but you will get job satisfaction every single day. I can say that from nearly 40 years in this business, coming today – coming to work every single day and it’s always different. It’s always exciting. And our nation needs you now.
Ms. Bingen: Very well said. You began your Army journey in 1984, so nearly four decades of service. Your family is about service. You and your wife Annie have deployed in so many different places around the world. You’ve been in hot zones in Afghanistan. You’ve been out to Korea. You’ve really seen the world and supported our intelligence community from around the world. Your sons are both in service now in Congress and the Navy.
So as you think about your career service and your four decades doing intelligence, can you spend a moment here to reflect back on – what are you most proud of?
LTG Berrier: Oh, wow. That’s a – we didn’t talk about that question.
Well, you know, there are a lot of things in 40 years that you come across. I think, number one, being able to keep the family that I have. They are the most amazing people that I’ve ever met. My bride has been on this journey with me from day one and loves soldiers, loves the Army. She loves DIA and the intelligence community.
My sons have been all in the whole way. I now have two grandchildren. I think they’re going to be all in. I’m going to start their security-clearance process early so we can get them into the IC – (laughter) – so I can get them into the IC early.
So I think the number one thing is the ability to do what you love. And to maintain a loving family that loves you back is really key. But there have been a lot of units and a lot of people that I have served with that are embedded into my memory that make this 40 years – it went very, very fast – but so rewarding with the people that you come across in this business.
Ms. Harding: That is a great segue to a closing remark. We’ll give you the last word. I’m going to quote you back to yourself. In the 2022 strategy you said I empower you to employ a creative, offense-oriented mindset that illuminates opportunities for us to outthink, outmaneuver and outmatch our competitors across all mission-enabling functions.
And I think the key word there is I empower you, because the intel community really is based on people. You can layer as much tech as you want to on top of it. But really, in the end, it’s about people making hard decisions behind closed doors and doing the right thing to protect the country. And your comments there about how the people that you’ve worked with are really the things that stand out most to you, I think, rings true for anybody who’s worked in this family of an intelligence community.
LTG Berrier: Right. Well, you know, you can have a strategy for strategic competition. You can have all the right tools. You can modernize JWICS. You can transition MIDB to Mars. But the people are our number one asset at DIA. And whether they’re civilian, whether they’re military, whether they’re our contract workforce, they’re some amazing people. And we’re blessed to have it and blessed to have those folks.
Ms. Harding: So there you go. Go work in the IC.
LTG Berrier: Awesome.
Ms. Harding: I hear the DIA might be coming open at some point –
LTG Berrier: It might be.
Ms. Harding: – somewhat in the future.
LTG Berrier: Maybe another month or two.
Ms. Harding: (Laughs.) Thank you so much for joining us today for our in-person audience and for our online audience. Join me in thanking the general. (Applause.)