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Intelligence After Next: Stronger Together—Critical Infrastructure Resilience Through a Shared Operational Environment

By Christopher Sledjeski , Sarah Freeman , Max Camp

2023 NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE STRATEGY

Goal 6: Enhance Resilience

To protect U.S. critical infrastructure from cyber threats, the IC must lead an evolution in public-private partnerships. Establishing transparency and robust information exchanges between the IC and private sector will be key to a state of resilience.

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The 2023 National Intelligence Strategy emphasizes the role of the Intelligence Community (IC) in ensuring the resilience of the Nation, its allies, and its partners. The strategy specifically identifies protecting the Nation’s critical infrastructure through a deeper understanding of the implications of destabilizing trends and improved early warning. Transparency and robust information exchanges between the private sector and the IC will be core to realizing a state of resilience.

Traditionally, the U.S. government (USG) has leveraged public-private partnerships (PPPs) for exchanging critical information between parties. To defend U.S. critical infrastructure from adversaries’ cyber operations, a PPP must bring together a diverse mix of threat vector, infrastructure domain, operations, business, and intelligence experience to understand the implications of destabilizing trends, to develop mitigation courses of action, and to improve early warning.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), working with relevant departments and agencies with homeland security and domestic authorities, should spearhead initiatives that address systemic issues with information sharing, transparency, and trust between the public and private sectors. Perhaps most significantly, this kind of new PPP can flourish only by leveraging modern technology, enabling increased data sharing, remote participation, and coordination principles, necessary to ensure resilience against existential threats.

To succeed, the ODNI must promote much needed policy changes, establish standardized technical requirements, and develop capabilities to enhance the transparency and robustness of PPP information exchanges. ODNI is uniquely positioned within the IC to advocate for and to ensure these changes are implemented. Only through an integrated shared operational environment between the IC and critical infrastructure operators can we match the pace of the threat environment. An integrated shared operational environment will advance analysis, improve warning, and encourage development of effective and timely mitigations that enhance our resilience at scale.

Read more research and analysis for the Intelligence Community in our Intelligence After Next paper series.

About Intelligence After Next:

MITRE strives to stimulate thought, dialogue, and action for national security leaders developing the plans, policy, and programs to guide the nation. This series of original papers is focused on the issues, policies, capabilities, and concerns of the Intelligence Community’s workforce as it prepares for the future. Our intent is to share our unique insights and perspectives surrounding a significant national security concern, a persistent or emerging threat, or to detail the integrated solutions and enabling technologies needed to ensure the success of the Intelligence Community.

MITRE has published more than 20 Intelligence After Next papers since 2020. Read them here.

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