PBBM reorganizes NICA, forms office for cyber, emerging threats

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

January 23, 2024, 8:40 am

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has reorganized the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) to beef up its intelligence gathering and analysis to ensure national security and promote national interest.

Under Executive Order (EO) 54 inked by Marcos on Jan. 19, the Office of the Deputy Director General (ODDG) for Cyber and Emerging Threats is established under the NICA as the main component of the agency’s reorganization.

The ODDG will provide direction to the overall planning, supervision and coordination of the NICA on counterintelligence and counter-measures against cybersecurity threats, weapons of mass destruction, and other emerging threats that are non-traditional in nature and have the potential to challenge traditional security approaches which may be unsuited in addressing them.

“There is a need to reorganize the NICA to adapt to the evolving threats to national security and ensure a more vigorous intelligence collection, intensify internal and external coordination with foreign and domestic counterparts, and prepare intelligence and security assessments and estimates using data analytics to ensure national security and promote national interest,” EO 54 read.

The ODDG for Cyber and Emerging Threats, which will be headed by a Deputy Director General with the rank of Assistant Secretary to be appointed by the President, will be composed of Directorate for Counterintelligence and Security (DCS) and Directorate for Cyberintelligence and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (DCCWMD).

According to EO 54, the DCS will serve as the NICA’s focal point for the national government's coordination activities on counterintelligence.

The existing DCS under the ODDG for Operations is transferred to the ODDG for Cyber and Emerging Threats.

The DCCWMD, on the other hand, is created to conduct cyberintelligence research using data analytic; and intelligence activities to counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, as well as emerging threats.

It will also lead the NICA's internal response operations; security and safety assessment; network monitoring; and information and communications technology development and management.

Headed by an Assistant Director General with a rank of Director IV, the DCCWMD is also tasked to develop and manage the National Cyber Intelligence Network, and supervise the NICA's Cybersecurity Desks in all Regional Offices.

Based on EO 54, the NICA will have the authority to request the detail of personnel from other government departments, agencies. bureaus, offices, and institutions, subject to the approval of the head of office and availability of personnel, to ensure the effective coordination, integration and fusion of information relative to national intelligence concerns.

Constitutional bodies, the judiciary, and Congress may also make a request to the NICA to integrate information or intelligence and coordinate with appropriate government agencies the conduct of national activities involving intelligence or investigation on matters of national security.

The funding requirements for the implementation of EO 54 will be charged against current and available appropriations of the NICA, subject to pertinent budgeting. accounting, and auditing laws, rules and regulations.

The fund needed for the continued implementation of the EO will be included in the budget proposal of the NICA, subject to the usual budget preparation process.

The NICA, created by virtue of EO 246 issued in 1987, serves as the focal point for direction, coordination, and integration of government activities involving national intelligence, and the preparation of intelligence estimates of local and foreign situations for the President’s formulation of national policies.

EO 54, which was made public on Tuesday, takes effect immediately. (PNA)