The CIA announced Thursday that it will form a task force on China at the highest level as part of a campaign by the US government to counter Beijing’s influence.
The group will be one of less than a dozen CIA-operated mission centers, with weekly director-level meetings to develop strategy on China. The intelligence center also announced that it will seek to recruit Chinese-speaking people and that on the other hand it will create a center dedicated to new technologies and global problems, such as climate change and global health.
The government of President Joe Biden has denounced what it calls Chinese aggression on a whole range of economic and security issues, while seeking coincidences on climate change and North Korea and its nuclear weapons, among others.
Senior officials have indicated that there is a transfer of resources towards “great power” competition with China while keeping the fight against terrorism in the foreground.
China represents a particularly difficult target for US intelligence given the insularity of the Communist Party leadership, its massive military and security forces, and its development of cutting-edge counterintelligence technologies.
CIA Director William Burns said in a statement Thursday that the Chinese government is “the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century.”
“Throughout our history, the CIA has faced every challenge that comes our way,” Burns said. “And now, facing the most difficult geopolitical test in this era of great power rivalry, the CIA will be at the forefront of that effort.”
As part of a reorganization of the agency, the CIA will include the mission centers on Iran and North Korea in the existing groups for their respective regions. Both centers were created during the presidency of Donald Trump.
It will also try to resolve recruitment delays, subject to a lengthy process of background checks and security clearances in order to reduce lead times to an average of six months.
In addition, you will appoint a chief technology officer for the first time to be responsible for applying advanced computing methods.