Navy intelligence focused on technological advancement, China challenge

By Aidan Quigley / September 14, 2021 at 5:09 PM

The Office of Naval Intelligence is focused on both the growing threat posed by China and pursuing technological advancements, Rear Adm. Curt Copley, the commander of ONI, said Monday.

Copley, speaking at the Intelligence and National Security Summit co-hosted by the

Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, said the service’s intelligence apparatus is pivoting from the Middle East and terrorism to Russia and China.

“We never took our eye off the adversaries we saw on the horizon, we never took our eyes off the Russians, and certainly as we saw Russia and China ascending, we have continued to track them,” he said. “And now, as strategic competition continues, we are really spending a lot of time re-aligning our talent and resources against those adversaries.”

Copley reiterated the Defense Department’s assessment that China is the country’s pacing threat, but noted the DOD is not taking Russia for granted.

Using technology to remain competitive is a top priority, Copley said.

“I’m very conscious that I am resource-constrained,” he said. “One of the things that gets us out of the resource constraint that [industry] can help us with is technology, when it comes to automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence.”

Copley said automating workflows can free up analysts to re-orient to higher-priority needs.