How COVID-19 Revealed the Menace of China’s United Work Front Department William O'Hara is the senior China planner in the J5 Directorate at U.S. Special Operations Command. He has served primarily in the US intelligence community as an intelligence analyst and planner focusing on China. The views expressed are his ...

Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey served for over 27 years in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He is now Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London. One can imagine the intense discussions in Beijing, primarily within the Central Military Commission (CMC) but also at the Politburo Standing ...

OPINION -- The Trump administration is using the Pentagon’s 2020 Annual Report to Congress on China’s military and security developments to spin its current campaign to make Beijing a greater national security threat to the U.S. than Russia. Last week, I wrote about the White House trying to sell the ...

OPINION -- President Trump and elements of his administration are publicly assessing that China poses a greater national security threat to the US election than Russia. Attorney General Bill Barr started it off last Wednesday on CNN when he was asked which country was most aggressive and he answered, “I ...

Eric Shiraev, Political Psychologist, George Mason University Dr. Eric Shiraev is a political psychologist from George Mason University, USA, where he heads a lab on reputational politics. He is author of more than twenty books including International Relations (Oxford), Russian Government and Politics (Macmillan), and Character Assassination Throughout the Ages. Dr. Holger ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, and ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, comprising the United States, India, Japan, and Australia, has reemerged in recent years in response to an increasingly assertive China. Frictions between China and all four Quad countries has created the conditions for the grouping’s reemergence and recently elevated ...

The US State Department recently named career diplomat James DeHart as the US’ first coordinator for the Arctic region.  DeHart’s job is to coordinate US efforts in the region, which includes “repelling China’s advances and capitalizing on commercial opportunities,” according to the Wall Street Journal.  What exactly are China’s ambitions ...

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist (including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, Russian Federation) with the U.S. Dept. of State during 2002-2016, and is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  OPINION - During August of each ...

Last week, the Justice Department brought an indictment against two individuals accused of working with China’s Ministry of State Security to conduct a decade-long cyber intrusion campaign. The Justice Department says the two individuals were targeting the private sector some of which included research institutions working on coronavirus treatments.  But ...

Iran and China are reportedly moving forward with an economic and security agreement that could pose a significant challenge to US efforts to isolate and sanction Tehran over its nuclear program.  The proposed agreement, reported last week by The New York Times “would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunication, ...

Dr. Leo Blanken is an Associate Professor of Defense Analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School. He is the author of Rational Empires: Institutional Incentives and Imperial Expansion and co-editor of Assessing War: The Challenge of Measuring Success and Failure.  The COVID19 crisis comes at a time when the existing structure ...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out China’s claims in the South China Sea this week, saying they are “completely unlawful.”   It was a distinctive public show of US support for a 2016 ruling by The Hague that found China’s actions in the South China Sea were in violation of ...

OPINION -- On the morning of Tuesday, July 7, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Hudson Institute audience, “The greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality, is the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat from China.” To support his point, Wray said he ...

Kyle Sullivan is China Practice Lead at Martin + Crumpton Group, a global risk intelligence advisory firm based in Arlington, Va. He previously spent 12 years in China, including at the U.S.-China Business Council and APCO Worldwide, advising multinational corporations on market entry, reputational due diligence and government affairs. The most ...

China is on a multi-year mission to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and as a result, Beijing is investing heavily in its own technological developments. Premier Li Keqiang announced the Made in China 2025 (MIC 2025) initiative in 2015 as a bid to significantly advance the country’s economy and ...

BOOK REVIEW:  China’s Western Horizon: Beijing and the New Geopolitics of Eurasia  by Daniel S. Markey Reviewed by Ambassador Joseph DeTrani Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also served ...

India says 20 of its soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops along a disputed border in the Himalayas. Tensions have been escalating over the past several weeks as both sides sent additional troops to the region, though senior military leaders had begun talks to deescalate the situation ...

OPINION -- The Senate Armed Services Committee last week voted to provide the Pentagon with $6 billion over the next two years to create a new program called the Pacific Deterrence Initiative (PDI). Chairman Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and ranking member, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), said the PDI would sharply ...

Cipher Brief Expert Martin Petersen is the former Deputy Executive Director of the CIA. At the time of Tiananmen, he was Deputy Director of the Office of East Asia Analysis. CIPHER BRIEF EXPERT TAKE -- The Chinese leadership’s handling of Tiananmen and the aftermath can give us some idea of ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker who served over two decades with the Central Intelligence Agency as a member of the Senior Intelligence Service. He also served as former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and was the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy ...

CIPHER BRIEF EXPERT VIEW -- Mark Kelton is a retired senior Central Intelligence Agency executive who retired in 2015 with 34 years of experience in intelligence operations. Before retiring, he served as CIA's Deputy Director for Counterintelligence.  He is the Senior Vice President for National Security Solution at DynCorp International; and ...

The Cipher Brief is proud to launch ‘The Question’, designed to make us think forward, consider broader scenarios and challenge each other in constructive ways on the plausibility of future geopolitical events.  In our first edition, Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey poses the question: Why would China not invade Taiwan ...

A whirlwind of actions and statements regarding Hong Kong over the past week has increased tensions between the US and China.  Even before Beijing passed legislation last week to move in the direction of imposing new national security restrictions on Hong Kong, the US was contemplating a bold response.   It's ...

Well before COVID-19 there was a “hardening of expert and public opinion in America on the seriousness of the Chinese threat,” according to Cipher Brief Expert and former Acting Director of the CIA, John McLaughlin, who says the path forward requires deterrence based not just on military strength but on ...

As the world focuses on the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic, China is exercising its muscle over territorial claims.  As The New York Times reports, “In recent weeks, the Chinese have sunk a Vietnamese fishing boat in the South China Sea; swarmed a Malaysian offshore oil rig; menaced Taiwan; ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Reigning the Future: AI, 5G, Huawei and the Next 30 Years of the US-China Rivalry  by Dennis Wang Reviewed by Terence Check Terence Check is an attorney in the federal government, and works on data privacy, biometrics, counterterrorism, criminal law, cybersecurity, information-sharing and technology-related matters. All opinions and statements ...

  Bottom Line Up Front In order to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), countries around the world have been moving to implement new technologies capable of monitoring and surveilling their citizens. Even as citizens are willing to trade privacy for a promise of increased security, technologies being offered ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO), as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North ...

OPINION -- This past March and April, US Naval Forces attached to Central Command carried out live fire exercises in the North Persian Gulf’s international waters near Iran, using Army Apache helicopters and AC-130 gunships to practice defense against threats from swarming Iranian speedboats. Such a US exercise was underway ...

The Cipher Brief Threat Conference has been re-scheduled for September 13-15, 2020.  This special series of national security briefings has been launched to keep our public-private threat conference community together and engaged on the issues that matter until we can safely gather again. Conference speaker Christopher Costa is a former ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director in 2004. The COVID-19 crisis cries out for a coordinated global response. However, conditions in ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China’s propaganda efforts to cover-up the true scale of COVID-19’s impact on the health and safety of China’s citizens is part of a larger effort to shield Communist institutions from criticism. The Government of China and wealthy Chinese citizens have tried to rehabilitate China’s image ...

Things weren't great between the US and China even before COVID-19. Bloomberg is now citing three anonymous US officials as saying that the US Intelligence Community has come to the classified conclusion that China intentionally concealed the full extent of the coronavirus outbreak by under-reporting the total number of cases ...

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist (including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, Russian Federation) with the U.S. Dept. of State and is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  The views expressed are entirely his own and ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO), as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He later served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The relationship between the United States and China continues to deteriorate as fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) fundamentally alters geopolitics, economics, and society writ large. Chinese diplomats have been spreading conspiracy theories, false rumors, and deliberate disinformation that the United States was somehow responsible for ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran is the Middle East’s epicenter for the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The failure of Iran’s leaders to contain the virus add to the other ongoing challenges of the regime, including domestic unrest and U.S. economic and military pressure. Iran has become even more ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Countries are struggling to counter the spread of the coronavirus respiratory disease, while also trying to figure out how to navigate a range of political, economic, and logistical challenges. High levels of distrust that populations in authoritarian countries have toward their governments will, at least ...

  Bottom Line Up Front China has long engaged in a spying campaign against the United States—from cyber espionage and stealing intellectual property to subtle attempts to infiltrate research laboratories at American universities. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Beijing is quietly at work gaining access to the ...

Several Cipher Brief experts attended this year’s Munich Security Conference, which concluded last weekend. The annual event is an opportunity for Atlantic allies to share their views on national security related issues. We wanted a sense of the conversations happening off the stage this year, in the hallways and beer ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Facing growing criticism for its handling of the coronavirus (COVID-19), China is now working to engineer perhaps the largest quarantine in history. Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of China’s most powerful leaders in recent history, is experiencing limited but notable criticism from China’s domestic population ...

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea, as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, and also ...

Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger is former Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency and retired Captain from the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corp with a combined 30 years of active duty and reserve service. EXPERT OPINION -- China seeks to challenge US technological supremacy ...

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist, including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, with the U.S. Dept. of State from 2002-2016.  He is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  OPINION — In 2000, Xi Jinping, a relatively ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Coronavirus continues to spread from Wuhan, China, as global health authorities work to contain the spread of the disease. In a globalized world with abundant transportation modes and consistent cross-border movements of people, diseases can spread rapidly. Over the past two decades, a number ...

Thomas Donahue is a Cipher Brief expert and former Senior Director for Cyber Operations on the U.S. National Security Council Staff.  His article was originally published by National Defense University Press PRISM. As a global power, the United States must be able to sustain military forces and project power anywhere ...

OPINION -- The Trump administration’s new attempt to open strategic nuclear talks with China “ASAP,” as mentioned in a State Department tweet last Friday, focuses on the wrong subject. Any talks about strategic deterrence among nations should be dealing first with the future of cyber warfare and weaponry rather than ...

A date for Washington-Moscow nuclear arms control discussions could emerge from today’s Washington meetings with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov -- first with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and, if all goes well, later with President Trump. From Trump’s point of view, raising the long-awaited possibility of extending the current ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just this week, members of Ukrainian far-right groups were photographed attending protests in Hong Kong against the Chinese government. White supremacy extremists likely traveled to Hong Kong to learn from and study the anti-government protests, riots, and resistance, even though they were not invited to ...