Haji outlines vision to reform NIS, bolster security

He promised a new dawn at the National Intelligence Service.

In Summary

• He said, under his leadership, NIS will support the government to securitise education, by conceptualising all elements of education as a national security priority.

• Haji said his vision for NIS is to advance the capabilities of the organisation to provide accurate, timely, relevant and actionable intelligence.

National Intelligence Service Director General nominee Noordin Haji arrives at Parliament during vetting on May 30, 2023.
National Intelligence Service Director General nominee Noordin Haji arrives at Parliament during vetting on May 30, 2023.

National Intelligence Service Director General nominee Noordin Haji has laid bare his vision for the state spy agency.

In a glimpse at the NIS operations, Haji revealed that the agency is not gender-sensitive, promising to cure the issue by recruiting more women to the service.

As the Director of Public Prosecutions, Haji said he had identified gaps in the processing of intelligence reports that need to be improved and developed to enhance their usefulness by consumers.

In a document tabled before Parliament, Haji pledged to turn around the recruitment model at the National Intelligence Service by prioritising merit in the hiring of NIS officers while ensuring the country's diversity.

He said that under his plan at NIS, he will ensure that he breaks barriers that have barred more women from joining the service for decades.

"I also intend to ensure gender mainstreaming in a profession which has been male-dominated and to ensure that the organisation is reflective of the socio-cultural diversity of Kenya," he told MPs.

The current DPP said the gender mainstreaming strategy will be key in enhancing the agency's capability to collect intelligence across the entire social strata.

At the same time, Haji said one of the key pillars of his vision at NIS would be embracing human intelligence (HUMINT) as the fundamental driver of intelligence capabilities.

The outgoing DPP said the strategy will be focused on refining NIS recruitment, training, specialisation and retention systems.

"NIS must centre the intelligence gathering process around HUMINT while utilising technical capabilities in a supportive capacity," he said.

Haji said the strategy will recognise the importance of technical intelligence while reinstating the pivotal role of HUMINT.

He said, under his leadership, NIS will leverage the synergies between HUMINT and technical intelligence for optimal results.

"This HUMINT technology parity depends on our human resource being the best at its game," he said.

"Getting the right talent is critical to meeting future challenges which will be posed by technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning."

Haji has promised to ensure regional partnerships to combat transnational crimes.

He said forging alliances with agencies that share NIS's values and objectives can significantly enhance the safety and security of the region.

At a global scale, Haji said, partnerships will provide NIS with a broader reach and access to best practices.

"Therefore, our focus will be on cultivating mutually beneficial collaborations that will yield positive outcomes for the NIS,'' he said.

Haji said that NIS should offer its extensive technical expertise to support the collective regional efforts in combating transnational organised crime and countering terrorism.

"Such partnerships will enable us to access global resources, knowledge, and expertise, resulting in a clear advantage for our country," he said.

On Tuesday, while appearing for the statutory parliamentary approval hearings, Haji disclosed what he termed as a three-point agenda that will guide his vision at the NIS if his appointment is approved.

Haji said with Kenya being an anchor state in the region with the crucial role of promoting regional stability, growth, and progress, NIS must work to safeguard that pivotal position through vigilance.

He told MPs that with evolution of threats and rapid technological advancements redefining existing threats and giving rise to new -both known and unknown-NIS must be proactive and prepared around the clock.

"These factors collectively shape the complex and dynamic environment in which NIS must operate," Haji told the National Assembly's Defence, Intelligence and Foreign Relations team.

"We must never be caught by surprise.''

Haji said some of the biggest threats are posed by demographic changes that are contributing to rapid urbanisation, climate change, geopolitics, shift in economic power and rise of powerful corporations that challenge state sovereignty.

As part of his three-point agenda for NIS, Haji said he will refocus the organisation to respond efficiently and effectively to the prevailing threats and opportunities.

He said his plan has been informed by NIS's operational landscape and the need for efficient utilisation of resources at hand.

"Threats that have endured for centuries, such as cattle rustling, ethnic violence, and land disputes and an array of emerging threats, including climate change, cyber warfare, misinformation, disinformation, and global health pandemics pose significant threats to Kenya’s security," he told MPs.

The Defence Foreign Relations and Intelligence committee is expected to table its report in the National Assembly next week when the House resumes sittings after a long recess.

Haji's nomination is expected to easily pass given that President William Ruto's Kenya Kwanza enjoys a significant majority in the House.

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