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CIA Makes Changes to Adapt to Future Challenges

October 7, 2021


Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William J. Burns announced today adjustments to CIA’s organizational structure and approach to best position it to address current and future national security challenges.  These changes resulted from the strategic reviews Director Burns launched this past spring that focused on areas including China, technology, people, and partnerships.

Director Burns announced the formation of a China Mission Center (CMC) to address the global challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China that cuts across all of the Agency’s mission areas.  Emphasizing that the threat is from the Chinese government, not its people, Director Burns explained that the new mission center will bring a whole-of-Agency response and unify the exceptional work CIA is already doing against this key rival.  “CMC will further strengthen our collective work on the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government,” Director Burns said.

Burns emphasized that CIA will continue to focus sharply on other important threats, including an aggressive Russia, a provocative North Korea and a hostile Iran, as well as combatting terrorism.

The changes Director Burns unveiled also include a new position, the Chief Technology Officer, as well as a Transnational and Technology Mission Center, which will address global issues critical to US competitiveness—including new and emerging technologies, economic security, climate change, and global health.

Additionally, to attract and retain a diverse talent pool of the best and brightest, Director Burns noted changes to processes to significantly reduce the time it takes for applicants to join CIA.  He also announced the launch of the CIA Technology Fellows program to bring promising experts to CIA for one to two years of public service.

CIA’s Deputy Director David S. Cohen will oversee the implementation of these adjustments.

“Throughout our history, CIA has stepped up to meet whatever challenges come our way….  And now facing our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry, CIA will be at the forefront of this effort,” Director Burns told the CIA workforce.  “There’s no doubt we have the talent for the job.  And with the right approach, and the right structure in place, I know we’ll help ensure American leadership and American success on the global stage for decades to come.”