On Wednesday, November 18, Dustin Gard-Weiss, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Policy and Capabilities, ODNI, joined INSA President Suzanne Wilson Heckenberg for a discussion about ODNI's recent reorganization, as well as top priorities for FY 2021.
As Policy and Capabilities is still fairly new, Mr. Gard-Weiss described how the Directorate’s mission ensures the Intelligence Community is best postured to meet future national security challenges. He emphasized the importance of remaining agile in order to address the evolving range and scope of threats in both the domestic and global environment.
Mr. Gard-Weiss highlighted his commitment to building and maintaining a dynamic and diverse workforce and discussed the organization’s public-private talent exchange initiative, designed to leverage, develop, and share talent throughout the broader community. He also spoke about the various challenges involved in the data landscape, including the ability to collect all relevant data and present it in a way that best informs decision-making.
Mr. Gard-Weiss discussed his goal of creating and reinforcing a culture of innovation, driven by strong partnerships with government and industry. He noted ODNI’s close partnership with the Department of Defense and the value this relationship holds for the future of AI and machine learning integration into various mission areas. He also noted that speed is at the forefront of improving the acquisition process and highlighted the important role of communication in enabling faster acquisitions between government and industry.
When asked about the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Gard-Weiss responded optimistically, referencing a silver lining in how the community has challenged the paradigm that the IC’s work must be done in a classified environment. He expressed confidence in the community’s ability to execute the mission while working remotely, and was hopeful that many of these adjustments would be here to stay.
Mr. Gard-Weiss concluded the conversation by emphasizing that if we have the right workforce with the right data and the right technology, we will be able to make better, faster, and smarter decisions, ultimately giving us an advantage over our adversaries.
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