Jennifer Ewbank, deputy director for digital innovation at the CIA, has been selected to Executive Mosaic‘s 2023 Wash100 list of highly esteemed leaders who shape the government contracting narrative. This year, Ewbank earned the GovCon sector’s most prestigious award for championing public-private partnerships as a means to advance the digital and cybersecurity structure that protects U.S. intelligence.
Her vocal support for collaborative efforts in cybersecurity, information technology and data has helped elevate the GovCon community. “Government and industry simply must find a way to build a new model of strategic partnership. One rooted in that simple and fundamental principle, economic security is national security,” Ewbank emphasized in a keynote speech at the 2022 Cipher Brief Threat Conference.
In early 2023, she invited industry to monitor the National Reconnaissance Office Acquisition Research Center, as well as the Digital Hammer Broad Agency Announcements for opportunities to work with CIA’s Open Source Enterprise on next-generation open-source intelligence products and services.
OSE is “working more closely than ever with private sector colleagues on major technology initiatives, including the use of [artificial intelligence and machine learning] to better understand the open source landscape, and with US government colleagues to provide [intelligence community-wide] platforms for broad OSINT sharing,” Ewbank wrote in a LinkedIn post.
A strong advocate for innovation, Ewbank stressed the need for pursuing technologies that are not just useful, but should specifically address real problems and provide long-term intelligence advantages.
In another LinkedIn article entitled “2022: Innovation, Partnerships, and Urgency,” she noted that progress in innovation is evident in the CIA segments that implemented new automation and AI/ML capabilities.
Ewbank is a champion of AI and the inevitability of human-machine collaboration to operate innovative solutions. She wrote in the same post that “machines are now a mainstay of our national security mission,” and that “AI and ML technologies must and will be at the core of future efforts to manage the exponential growth of data.”
In an interview with Rebellion Research, Ewbank iterated the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the workforce manning the hardware and software. She said that graduates of STEM, data science and even liberal arts will increasingly have a place in their organization to analyze and process the growing volume of intelligence information.
She highlighted in a separate commentary the mutual objective of the public and private sectors to develop relevant AI applications. “It is not just intelligence community that is working hard to implement real and impactful AI capabilities. The private sector is aggressively building them, too. We share a common challenge,” the CIA official noted.
“In this exponentially growing data environment, we can only do that at machine speed and machine scale, which means artificial intelligence.”
Ewbank gained expertise in digital intelligence through government service. She started her federal career at the State Department as a foreign service officer and later joined the CIA’s directorate of operations. In her current role at the CIA, Ewbank oversees the offices of the digital chief information officer, chief information security officer and chief data officer.
Executive Mosaic honors Jennifer Ewbank for her progressive ideas to defend national security against rival countries that weaponize information. Her encouragement of government-industry alliance to spur innovation inspires the GovCon industry to work harder to help uphold national defense.
Visit the Wash100 site to vote your favorite awardees from this year’s class of the most influential faces and voices in GovCon.