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CIA Director William Burns. Photo: Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images

CIA Director Bill Burns announced Thursday that the agency is forming a China Mission Center to address "the most important geopolitical threat, we face in the 21st century, an increasingly adversarial Chinese government."

Why it matters: The U.S. intelligence community's annual global threat assessment warned that Beijing is seeking to spread its influence at the expense of the U.S., drive wedges between Western allies and "foster new international norms that favor the authoritarian Chinese system."

  • China's increased focus on military modernization, nuclear arms, space capabilities, cyber-espionage, and global influence and interference campaigns were named as especially critical threats to U.S. interests.
  • FBI Director Christopher Wray said last year that the bureau opens a new China-related counterintelligence case about every 10 hours.

The big picture: Burns unveiled the new China center as part of a suite of organizational changes designed to address modern intelligence challenges facing the U.S.

  • Those changes include a new CIA chief technology officer and a Transnational and Technology Mission Center, as well as a streamlining of the CIA application process and a new CIA Technology Fellows program to attract new talent, the agency said in a news release.
  • The overhaul will be spearheaded by CIA Deputy Director David Cohen.

Go deeper

China's coal convulsion threatens climate goals

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's energy crisis is a wild card in the fraught efforts to secure a meaningful deal at the UN climate summit in Glasgow.

Driving the news: Power shortages and the push for more coal supplies are in tension with calls for Chinese officials to accelerate their climate efforts.

Oct 12, 2021 - World

Interview: Jacob Helberg on U.S. tech companies and China

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo courtesy the Center for Strategic and International Studies

Whether it's Google's Project Dragonfly, Zoom's termination of U.S.-based Tiananmen memorials, or LinkedIn's growing censorship, former Google global news policy lead Jacob Helberg thinks there is a fatal flaw underlying attempts by U.S. companies to make it in China's market.

Key takeaway: “I don’t believe in one company, two systems, I don’t believe it's tenable," Helberg told Axios, riffing on Beijing's formulation of "one country, two systems" as a now-defunct model for integrating a liberal Hong Kong into an authoritarian China.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.