BALTIMORE, MD (November 20, 2013) — Dawn Meyerriecks, the CIA's Deputy Director for Science and Technology, spoke in Baltimore today, sharing her perspective on the importance of intelligence integration.
The CIA is interested in finding solutions to problems, she explained, not in funding the mere "admiration" of the problems themselves. In her view, technology has become increasingly democratized: capabilities once within the reach of only a few well-resourced nation states are now available to poorer states and even to non-state actors, which makes it more important than ever that the United States invest to maintain its technological edge—we can no longer lazily assume that edge is our birthright.
Given the tremendous (and readily quantifiable) value intelligence integration has for national security, and since such integration can be effectively enabled by scientific and technological advances, she outlined the CIA's S&T investment strategy.
The Intelligence Community has two innovation engines, Meyerriecks noted: In-Q-Tel (a venture fund that wants technology, not IP) and IARPA (similar to DARPA, concentrating on furthering analysis, secure operations, and smart collection). She described a few particular research thrusts directed at providing a socio-cultural context for natural language processing and at detecting and overcoming cognitive bias and groupthink on the part of analysts.
Finally, Meyerriecks closed with an invitation to industry to partner with the Intelligence Community, promising an open, intelligent receptivity to well-conceived proposals.
After the general presentation, Deputy Director Meyerriecks sat down with local students in an extended question-and-answer session about her own career path, and the lessons they might draw from it. She urged being open to the opportunities that present themselves, and not to restrict themselves to some preconceived notion of the work they can do, or might like, or might be qualified for.
Dawn Meyerriecks directs the CIA's science and technology program, whose mission is to discover and invent new approaches to intelligence collection and analysis. Before becoming Deputy Director for Science and Technology at CIA, Meyerriecks served as Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Acquisition, Technology, and Facilities. Before that she consulted to government and commercial clients, drawing on her background of increasingly responsible positions at AOL, the Defense Information Systems Agency (including service as that organization's CTO), and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In 2001 Fortune magazine recognized her as one of the world's top 100 intellectual leaders. She holds degrees in electrical engineering, business, and computer science from Carnegie Mellon and Loyola Marymount University.