According to a recent report by the National Defense Strategy Commission (NDS), the U.S. Department of Defense and the White House "have not yet articulated clear operational concepts for achieving U.S. security objectives in the face of ongoing competition and potential military confrontation with China and Russia." The NDS is ...

As tensions heat up between Russia and the West, cold-war skills are back in play.   Norway and Iceland are hosting more than 50,000 troops from 29 NATO countries involved in an intense training scenario across Northern Europe, dubbed Exercise Trident Juncture, with the first phase wrapping up mid-week. The military ...

On Wednesday, the Department of Defense (DoD) quietly released an unclassified summary and fact sheet on its 2018 Cyber Strategy, which replaces the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy. Here are ten things you need to know about the new strategy: The cyber strategy is deeply influenced by the National Defense Strategy, ...

Bottom Line:  The risk posed to U.S. national security by what are believed to be Russian-backed hacking groups, is similar to the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis according to Cipher Brief Experts, but different, in that the U.S. has no clear and obvious deterrent this time around. Recent Developments:  The ...

Defense Secretary James Mattis on June 14 gave Congress an update on the 2017 Nuclear Posture Review, saying, “We’re looking at each leg of the triad and we’re looking at each weapon inside each leg.” “What I’m looking for,” he said, “is a deterrent that will be most compelling to ...

Among the three legs of the triad, the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarines are the most survivable and the hardest to detect. Their advanced nuclear propulsion and sound-dampening technology allow them to sail silently anywhere in the world. However, the current fleet of Ohio Class submarines is nearing the end ...

The only remaining U.S. ICBM, the Minuteman III, entered service in 1970. While upgrades have extended the life of the Minuteman III program, the missiles themselves, silos, and command and control systems are all in need of modernization. The Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program will replace these missiles ...

As the most expensive procurement program in history, the F-35 program exemplifies both the promise and pitfalls of developing and deploying an advanced weapons platform. After years of delays and cost overruns, in 2016 the program reached an important milestone: the USAF, the largest buyer of the airplane, declared it ...

For this year’s Thanksgiving Day feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage of the innovation and procurement challenges behind the F-35 Lighting II. As production ramps up and the U.S. and its coalition partners take delivery, we reexamine what lessons can be learned from the procurement process and whether or ...

For this year’s Thanksgiving Day feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage of the innovation and procurement challenges behind the F-35 Lighting II. As production ramps up and the U.S. and its coalition partners take delivery, we reexamine what lessons can be learned from the procurement process and whether or ...

The horrific attacks in Brussels and Istanbul are stark reminders that much work must be done to protect the vulnerable front side of airports. It appears that ISIS and others have identified this vulnerability and are successfully exploiting it.  Tactics used in Istanbul were different than those used in Brussels, ...

North Korea’s claim to have tested a hydrogen bomb earlier this month and allegations that ISIS used a mustard agent against Iraqi Kurds in August have brought some deep questions to the forefront of our national security discussion on weapons of mass destruction (WMD):  Was a WMD really used?  Who ...

The global strategic environment is growing progressively complicated by an expanding and dynamic network of actors with common motivations and increased access to the technology necessary to develop and employ weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and WMD-like capabilities, ranging from radiological dispersal devices, to toxic chemicals and bio-toxins, to improvised ...

With the recent rise in domestic homegrown terrorist attacks, the fear of a domestic WMD attack is also rising.  John Cohen, former Acting Under Secretary for Intelligence and the Counterterrorism Coordinator at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, assesses the evolving threat to the nation and how the government can ...

Right now, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) at the Pentagon is trying to figure out how to create artificial life forms and living factories. We live in a brave new world, wherein great strides in biotechnology have led to vast improvements in numerous fields, from health care to ...

Today, interest in the development of biological weapons is the mark of a desperate pariah state or terrorist group. International efforts have led to the de-legitimation of these weapons, improvements in defences, as well as improved processes of detection, attribution, and prosecution. Such efforts have also fostered the emergence of domestic ...

Advances in biotechnology have brought a wide range of benefits in health and medical research, food and agriculture, even manufacturing. At the same time, biotechnology is also advancing on a darker side, as biological weapons are now within the reach of many rogue nations and possibly some terrorist groups. The ...

There is increasingly rapid progress in understanding how biological systems work. This gives us new tools to meaningfully manipulate those systems towards a given end. We are developing an unprecedented range of biological tools and biotechnologies to change our world at a fundamental level. The benefits of biotechnology are already ...

David Navetta is an attorney who focuses primarily on technology, privacy, information security, and intellectual property law at Norton Rose Fulbright.  In an interview with The Cipher Brief, Navetta discussed the legal and liability issues associated with businesses attempting to utilize offensive cyber capabilities. The Cipher Brief: Recently, there have ...

Does the cyber domain call for a fundamentally different framework for achieving international order in the 21st century, requiring statesmen to critically rethink the art of statecraft?  Most likely not, for as in past eras when new technologies and global threats have arisen, statesmen are still occupied with the great ...

As President and CEO of FusionX, Matt Devost focuses on cybersecurity and risk management.  Devost told The Cipher Brief that offensive cyber operations should rest exclusively with the federal government. The Cipher Brief: It seems like there is a lot of confusion about what offensive cyber-operations would look like, with ...

Hollywood has a clear idea of what it would look like if someone used cyber-capabilities against us: a man in a room full of screens would be typing madly, planes would fall out of the sky, there would be explosions everywhere, and so forth. According to Director of National Intelligence, ...

Periodically, The Cipher Brief will explore outside-the-box technologies and unusual, sometimes weird, scientific innovations. You’ll see how the boundaries between reality and fantasy are growing thinner every day.  Today’s Topic: Laser-Powered Nuclear Fusion Jet Engines People need to get places, and they need to do so quickly. Since the supersonic Concorde ...