Close to six thousand people, including current military leaders and members of the defense industry, are gathered at AUSA’s 2019 Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, AL this week.  The theme for this year’s three-day event is ‘Readiness for Multi-Domain Operations’ and the idea is to explore the Army’s quest to ...

The Cipher Brief’s new Friday column Cipher Select, is laser-focused on bringing you a range of different perspectives on special operations issues over the next several months. United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established in 1987, with a mission to “Organize, train, equip and provide fully capable Special Operations Forces ...

OPINION -- President Trump’s pre-election-day deployment of U.S. Army units on the southwest border may turn out to be more of a dangerous, long-term precedent than a short-term, political stunt. Forget about the Posse Comitatus Act, which in the past, has been thought to protect civilians from the government’s use ...

While most American news outlets last week focused on sexual harassment, tax reform and President Donald Trump’s red-carpet trip to the Far East, the Pentagon and some in Congress were dealing with North Korea and other serious national security issues. Use of Force Against North Korea The question of whether ...

As questions swirl around what happened during the ambush in southwestern Niger earlier this month that left four American service men dead and two wounded, some members of Congress claim the Trump administration is not providing enough transparency on U.S. operations in the region. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Senator ...

For this year’s Fourth of July feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage on electromagnetic railguns. Capable of firing projectiles at speeds of Mach 7 to strike targets over 100 miles away, electromagnetic railgun systems for the Navy and the Army are now reaching the final stages of development and ...

For a moment, try to ignore President Donald Trump’s tweets and rambling speeches and let’s look at what the Trump administration may be thinking about when it comes to his campaign promise to rebuild what he has termed “our depleted military.” The Trump White House website came up on January ...

In a September 7th speech, then-candidate Donald Trump described his vision for the future of the American military. “As soon as I take office, I will ask Congress to fully eliminate the defense sequester and will submit a new budget to rebuild our military. This will increase certainty in the ...

By some analyses, the U.S. Army has fared the worst in terms of diminished readiness. Fifteen years of operations in the Middle East and budget sequestration have limited opportunities and resources for training and modernization. The Cipher Brief spoke with retired Army Lieutenant General Guy Swan about the state of ...

In the 15 years following 9/11, the U.S. Army pivoted away from its traditional role and took on the challenge presented by new missions and enemies. The Cipher Brief spoke with Lt. General Guy Swan about the gains and sacrifices that have forged the Army of the present and the ...

The crisis after 9/11 forced every branch of the military to reevaluate its mission set, its structure, and its identity. Fifteen years later, the process is ongoing. Last week, a congressional report highlighted the debate over whether it should be enlarged or reduced from its current 475,000 soldiers. In that ...

After the United States emerged from the Vietnam War, it witnessed the events of the 1973 Yom Kippur War—a state-level conflict fought against Israel by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. That war underscored how far potential enemies had advanced in terms of weapons and tactics. ...

Whether or not we are officially at war with ISIS is a reoccurring debate in today’s mass media.  Part of what makes this question so compelling is that the concept of war, and how it’s fought, has dramatically changed since the end of the Cold War.  Take, for example, the ...

Thomas Mahnken is the Jerome E. Levy Chair of Economic Geography and National Security at the U.S. Naval War College and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning, giving him a unique perspective into changes in naval warfare. He shared this insight, along with his expectations for ...

Three dramatic developments have occurred in the employment of U.S. air power in the past 25 years: the vulnerability of air defenses faced, leading to far less attrition of U.S. aircraft than was suffered previously; the ability to strike ground targets with great precision, day or night; and the ability ...

In American culture, Veteran is a powerful word, and for better or worse, it is used universally. The Department of Veterans Affairs is a common topic for Congress, the news, and Facebook. Veterans Day features sales, promotions, and free donuts. We are highlighted at sporting events, during the State of ...

For many Americans, holidays have become something to look forward to, because they mark the beginning of special season like summer, a day off from work, or the chance to get a deal on some big purchase. Too often, we fail to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. ...

Every year, about 200 thousand service members complete their military service and transition to civilian communities and the civilian workforce. Military downsizing—forced by budget pressures and the end of large-scale combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan—will mean even more troops needing jobs. Unlike previous post-war downsizings, more of these troops ...

Retired LTG Guy Swan spent more than 35 years in the Army, commanding at every level.  Now, as a Vice President of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), he stays attuned to the concerns of today’s new veterans.  Swan tells The Cipher Brief that those returning from the ...

As Veterans Day approaches, I find myself thinking about the veterans in my family—three generations. There is my 95-year-old father-in-law, who did his World War II service as an enlisted man in the Army in North Africa, Italy, and France. Next is my husband, whose nearly 40-year Air Force career ...

Master Sergeant William "Spanky" Gibson is a retired United States Marine, who served for 22 years in multiple theaters.  On May 16th, 2006, while on a foot patrol in Iraq, then-Gunnery Sergeant Gibson was shot through the left knee during a fire fight. His wounds required his left leg to ...