On Oct. 7, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced the creation of a mission exclusively dedicated to addressing the “global challenges” posed by communist China. Director William J Burns emphasized that the threat from China is coming from the government and not its people.
The China Mission Center (CMC) is expected to “strengthen” the CIA’s collective work on the “most important geopolitical threat” facing America in the 21st century – “an increasingly adversarial Chinese government.” Burns added that the new mission center will bring about “a whole-of-Agency response” as well as unify the work the CIA is already conducting on the communist regime.
“Throughout our history, CIA has stepped up to meet whatever challenges come our way…. And now facing our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry, CIA will be at the forefront of this effort… There’s no doubt we have the talent for the job. And with the right approach, and the right structure in place, I know we’ll help ensure American leadership and American success on the global stage for decades to come,” Burns said in a statement.
The CMC is the first major initiative Burns has undertaken as the CIA Director; his post started in March. Focusing on the threat posed by the Chinese regime is in line with what Burns warned in the past. During his confirmation hearing in February, Burns had spoken about “outcompeting China” as one of America’s key national security concerns in the “decades ahead.”
A senior official from the CIA revealed to The Epoch Times that the agency plans to mobilize Chinese specialists from around the world and hire Mandarin translators. The establishment of CMC has been lauded by lawmakers.
Democrat Senator Mark Warner, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that he is looking forward to working with the CIA. He said that the intelligence community needs to adapt to the new strategic threat environment. Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is also a member of the Intelligence Committee, has expressed support for the changes announced by Burns.
“The threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party is real and growing… Every part of our government needs to reflect this great power competition in message, structure, and action,” Rubio said in a statement
The establishment of the CMC comes just a few months after the White House released a national security guidance warning that communist China is becoming “more assertive.” Beijing is now in a position where it can combine technological, economic, military, and diplomatic power to challenge a “stable and open international system,” the March report stated.
“In many areas, China’s leaders seek unfair advantages, behave aggressively and coercively, and undermine the rules and values at the heart of an open and stable international system. When the Chinese government’s behavior directly threatens our interests and values, we will answer Beijing’s challenge,” the guidance stated.
In addition to establishing the CMC, Burns also announced a new position at the CIA: Chief Technology Officer. The agency will set up a Transnational and Technology Mission Center that will address global issues which affect American competitiveness.
To attract and retain a diverse talent pool, the CIA will “significantly” reduce the time taken by applicants to join the agency. A CIA Technology Fellows program will also be launched to bring “promising experts” into the agency for up to two years of public service.
Meanwhile, the CIA will also continue focusing on other threats as well, including a “hostile” Iran, an “aggressive” Russia, and a “provocative” North Korea.