Counterintelligence Strategic Partnerships

Editor’s Note: The following background and overview of the FBI Counterintelligence Strategic Partnerships Program is from the FBI Strategic Partnership site, we will be providing more information from this site on a periodic basis as a service to the community. -bg

The challenge: to protect United States sensitive information, technologies, and thereby competitiveness in an age of globalization.

Our solution: to foster communication and build awareness through partnerships with key public and private entities by educating and enabling our partners to identify what is at counterintelligence risk and how to protect it. It’s all about identifying the research, information, and technologies that are targeted by our adversaries and establishing an ongoing dialogue and information exchange with partners to change behaviors and reduce opportunities that benefit the opposition’s efforts.

The United States is the world’s leader in innovation. Consider the breakthrough research and development that’s taking place on the nation’s campuses and in research facilities—often on behalf of the government. Sensitive research, much of which occurs in the unclassified realm, is the key to our nation’s global advantage, both economically and militarily.

Our Counterintelligence Strategic Partnerships work to determine and safeguard those technologies which, if compromised, would result in catastrophic losses to national security. Through our relationships with businesses, academia, and U.S. government agencies, the FBI and its counterintelligence community partners are able to identify and effectively protect projects of great importance to the U.S. government. This provides the first line of defense inside facilities where research and development occurs and where intelligence services are focused.

The following initiatives make up our Counterintelligence Strategic Partnerships Program:

Business Alliance

Through the Business Alliance, we are building relationships with cleared defense contractors to enhance their understanding of the threat posed to their programs and personnel by foreign intelligence services and foreign competitors. This dialogue results in an increase in the quality and quantity of counterintelligence-related information shared with the FBI by these contractors, resulting in the disruption of foreign intelligence activities targeting their work.

Through the delivery of counterintelligence education and the sharing of actionable intelligence, we enable business partners to identify counterintelligence vulnerabilities within their organizations. Counterintelligence awareness can result in modifications to their internal behaviors and processes that decrease susceptibility to theft of intellectual property. The protection of our Business Alliance partners’ intellectual property results in tangible benefits to our national security.

For more information, read the brochure on the Business Alliance.

Academic Alliance

The Academic Alliance is a national outreach effort charged with sharing information and establishing a dialogue with academic institutions to increase awareness of threat and national security issues in order to foster a spirit of cooperation.

The Academic Alliance has two distinct outreach components:

1) The National Security Higher Education Advisory Board was created in 2005 and includes presidents and chancellors from some of the nation’s top public and private research schools. The board, which meets approximately three times a year, is a forum for FBI leadership and university presidents to discuss national security issues of mutual concern. Board members also meet with their local FBI offices to discuss issues specific to their region.

2) The College and University Security Effort (CAUSE). Through CAUSE, FBI Special Agents in Charge meet with the heads of local colleges and universities to discuss national security issues and share information and ideas. Topics covered include briefings on national security threats that these research institutions may be facing. We enable counterintelligence protection by explaining how and why some foreign entities may be attempting to steal research and intellectual property.

For more information on these two programs, see Academic Alliance: Working Together to Protect the Nation. Also see our brochure on CAUSE.

Counterintelligence Working Groups

1) National Counterintelligence Working Group (NCIWG)

The National Counterintelligence Working Group was designed to establish strategic interagency partnerships at the senior executive level among the United States Intelligence Community (USIC), academia, industry, and defense contractors. Working through the NCIWG, the USIC has conveyed a consistent message with regard to its efforts to protect our national security.

2) Regional Counterintelligence Working Group (RCIWG)

Regional Counterintelligence Working Groups are composed of U.S. government counterintelligence entities that meet and discuss counterintelligence strategies, initiatives, operations, and best practices pertaining to the counterintelligence mission. The RCIWG facilitates harmonized counterintelligence efforts that leverage component expertise for maximum effectiveness and efficiency.

RTP InfraGard Special Interest Group (RTP/SIG)

Bridging all of these initiatives is the new Research and Technology Protection Special Interest Group on the secure InfraGard website. The website contains actionable and relevant information with defense contractors, industry, and academia on how to protect intellectual property from espionage.

To access this website and find out what steps you can take to educate your workforce and reduce your chances of becoming an intelligence target, join InfraGard—an alliance between the FBI and the public dedicated to preventing physical and electronic attacks against our nation’s critical infrastructure. Learn more and apply by visiting the InfraGard website.

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