On Tuesday, January 13, INSA hosted Senior NSA leader Rob Joyce for Coffee & Conversation. Mr. Joyce, who serves as the Special Liaison Officer at the U.S. Embassy in London, sat down with INSA Executive Vice President John Doyon to discuss a wide range of issues from counterterrorism to great power competition to cybersecurity and more. In his current role, Mr. Joyce is tasked with integrating the NSA’s SIGINT and cybersecurity missions with the UK’s GCHQ and the Five Eyes more broadly. Building synergy on these fronts is crucial to addressing threats from our adversaries.
Mr. Joyce spoke about the unique nature of the US-UK partnership. The two nations share intelligence, analysis, and codebreaking, as well as issue joint analysis and recommendations to appropriate stakeholders. Such a close relationship is not common amongst distinct national security partnerships; the roots of cooperation that began in World War II laid the groundwork for the deep connectivity that the US and UK maintain today.
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The conversation shifted to a discussion regarding the importance of partnerships in the context of great power competition and cyber threats. Although terrorism has been the preeminent national security issue of the century thus far, Mr. Joyce stressed the importance of pivoting to longer-term threats (Great Power Competition) and devoting necessary resources to those areas. Noting there will always be more threats than any one intelligence apparatus can handle on its own, he emphasized importance of leveraging global partnerships.
Mr. Joyce also noted that the U.S. could benefit from the approach the U.K. takes to industry partnership. He cited their “Industry 100” approach, which creates cross-fertilization between the government and industry and builds trust. Mr. Joyce discussed how the majority of critical infrastructure in the U.S. is owned by the private sector and the US must do a better job of working with these various industries to ensure we collaborate effectively to fully optimize resources.
In conclusion, Mr. Joyce explained that the effects of the pandemic and the return of great power competition are his biggest worries. Intelligence sharing, persistent engagement, and leveraging the Department of Justice and other judicial bodies are all tactics that are necessary to face these threats. Nevertheless, the enduring strength of the Five Eyes partnerships gives Mr. Joyce confidence that these nations are well positioned to face the daunting challenges of today.
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