FBI Risk Management: Defining an Ecosystem to Help the Private Sector Manage Risk and Mitigate Threats

The work the Presidential Innovation Fellows are doing on this initiative of risk management and threat prevention is challenging conventional wisdom at the FBI in terms of our role, and in how we should measure success as we help protect the private sector and the US Economy.


Brad Brekke, Director, Office of the Private Sector, Federal Bureau of Investigation

FBI Risk Management

CHALLENGE: With a mission of protecting US citizens, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is continually faced with a wide range of threats, from terrorism to active shooters to the increasing threat of cyber crime. Part of the FBI’s mission is also to protect private sector companies and the US Economy. In collaboration with the FBI, the Presidential Innovation Fellows focused on the challenge of defining an ecosystem to help the private sector manage risk and mitigate threats, as part of the overall strategy to protect the US economy.

APPROACH: To understand the challenge, Fellows met with a broad range of stakeholders in private sector companies—those on the front lines who are responsible for preventing attacks—to see firsthand the challenges that they face. These included Chief Information and Security Officers, intelligence analysts, network defenders and general security staff. Additionally, they met with threat management working groups, thought leaders in academia, FBI senior leadership and field agents. Across all of these stakeholders, they surfaced the underlying dynamics in preventing threats, and the needs and opportunities for what effective risk management should look like.

PATH FORWARD: The Fellows are building a model that is helping both the FBI and the private sector more effectively manage risk. They identified key characteristics and the conditions required for effective risk management. They developed foundational principles that have a tectonic shift in how the FBI engages the private sector. Perhaps most importantly, the Fellows are helping to drive culture change within the FBI, with support from FBI senior leadership to the Field Office level.