The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) announced on Tuesday that it has established an independent organization to monitor the “serious threats” posed by North Korea to the United States.
The “Korea Mission Center” has been organized to “harness the full resources, capabilities, and authorities of the Agency in addressing the nuclear and ballistic missile threat” posed by Pyongyang.
“The new Mission Center draws on experienced officers from across the Agency and integrates them in one entity to bring their expertise and creativity to bear against the North Korea target,” according to a written statement released by the CIA.
The CIA said a veteran operations officer has been appointed as new Assistant Director for Korea and will preside over the mission center, without providing further details.
“The new Mission Center will work closely with the Intelligence Community and the entire U.S. national security community,” the CIA said.
The new organization appears to be the first time that the CIA has created a mission center focused on one specific country: mission centers are usually regionally focused.
“Creating the Korea Mission Center allows us to more purposefully integrate and direct CIA efforts against the serious threats to the United States and its allies emanating from North Korea,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo. “It also reflects the dynamism and agility that CIA brings to evolving national security challenges.”
Speaking at his confirmation hearing in front of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Pompeo said in mid-January that Pyongyang remained one of the most significant international threats to the United States and that the DPRK has “dangerously accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities.”
The CIA director cited the North as a “near-term threat to life and limb of Americans” along with China and Russia and said that the issue was one of “five long-term trends making the urgency of recognizing and supporting intelligence critically important.”
During a visit to South Korea at the beginning of May, the fourth by a senior Trump administration official this year, Pompeo met with ROK and U.S. leaders during a three-day visit to engage in “detailed security discussions”.
And in another recent move to step up U.S. information capabilities, the U.S. Eighth Army stationed in the Republic of Korea (ROK) announced in early March that United States Forces Korea (USFK) is set to re-launch a military unit with the objective of gathering and analyzing human intelligence on North Korea in October.
“In FY (fiscal year) 18, the Brigade plans to reactivate a fifth battalion, the 524th MI Battalion,” the Eight Army said in a publication entitled “ROK Steady 2017” published on March 1.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
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