Why a Range of National Security Insights Matter

By Suzanne Kelly

Suzanne Kelly is CEO and publisher of The Cipher Brief as well as founder of the Cyber Initiatives Group. Before entering the private sector, she served as CNN’s Intelligence Correspondent before spending two years in the private sector. Prior to this, she worked as an executive producer for CNN and as a news anchor at CNN International based in Berlin and Atlanta. In Berlin, Suzanne anchored a morning news program broadcast live in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and in Atlanta, she anchored a number of world news programs. She covered the NATO campaign in 1999 from Kosovo and Macedonia.

In a climate where politics often rules the day, it’s difficult to strip out the divisiveness and drama to focus on issues that directly and indirectly impact our collective national security.  That is what The Cipher Brief has been working to do for nearly four years now.  I’d like to tell you why. 

About a year before our launch in 2015, I began talking with several of the country’s leading national security experts and senior business leaders to get a feel for what was missing when it came to our understanding of global events and their direct and indirect impact on U.S. national and economic security.  

As a former Intelligence Correspondent for a global news organization, I had the privilege to know many of the country’s leading influencers in the national security space.  So, when I set out to research whether my concept for a dedicated national security platform would fill a gap in the media market, General Michael V. Hayden and his wife, Jeanine were at the top of my list.  Hayden, who is the former director of both the CIA and the NSA spoke bluntly, as he always does, telling me “The world has been more dangerous in the past, but it has never been more complicated.  We need this,” he told me. 

Also topping my list was General Jack Keane, who retired as a four-star general after 37 years of service that culminated in his appointment as Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.  

Today, both Hayden and Keane (both Cipher Brief experts), have been joined by more than 90 other experts who provide their insights on events that have a direct impact on our national and economic security.  In the nearly four years since The Cipher Brief has been publishing, we’ve worked with more than 900 contributors from around the world in an effort to make sure we’re bringing you balanced, differing perspectives on global events that matter.  We don’t focus only on what happened, we focus on what it means.  We also don’t pretend to have all the answers, so we bring experts together for in-person briefings at events like The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference, which is quickly becoming the nation’s premiere national security conference.  And we bring you a free, daily look at headlines from around the world in our daily newsletter, putting open source information to work for you and making sure you have a greater understanding of what’s happening outside the D.C. corridor. 

Many of our experts and readers from government and the private sector have told me there is simply nothing like The Cipher Brief. Maybe that’s why we’ve been called on to provide national security expertise to news organizations like CNBC, CBS, NBC, NPR, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The New Yorker, BBC, and Business Insiderjust to name a few.  Congressional oversight committees, leading intelligence agencies, global businesses and elite military units are among our enterprise subscribers.

And here’s a look at what they’re reading.  This week, we’ve brought our members high-level expert insight on the dangerous escalation between the U.S. and Iran from Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan, USN (ret.), who served as Commander of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet and Commander of the 32 Nation Combined Maritime Forces in the Middle East, from Norm Roule, one of the world’s most seasoned experts on Iran who served as National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence before his retirement, former Senior CIA Analyst Steven Ward, who specializes in the Middle East and former CIA station chief Dan Hoffman.  And that was just by Tuesday. 

In an age where journalism revenue models are undergoing massive disruption at every level, independent support is more important than ever in order to make sure that the only voices you hear on national security issues, aren’t coming from massive news organizations with political agendas or from stories that sometimes add unnecessary drama in order to generate clicks and please shareholders.

Today, clear information and analysis is hard to come by, so it’s important for me to tell you how much your support for The Cipher Brief means. Becoming a member is just $10/month for an annual subscription.  That small contribution allows us to keep this unique and valuable community together with conversations and insights that the highest-level security professionals and practitioners, believe we need.

Thank you for your support.


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