General Michael Hayden, the co-host of The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference for the past two years, has famously said that the world has been more dangerous in the past, but it has never been more complicated.  He has also said that if the U.S. doesn’t get China right, nothing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On January 02, China announced that it had become the first nation to land a rover on the dark side of the moon. Access to a significant supply of rare mineral resources could provide a boon to China’s research and development programs. For China’s President ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 13, 2018, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton detailed the Trump administration's New Africa Strategy. The strategy seeks to counter Chinese influence on the continent and promote U.S. national security interests. In recent years, Chinese investment in Africa has grown exponentially, and the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front As 2019 begins, the U.S. and its allies will continue to deal with crises that started years ago and have now matured into critical threats. The U.S. faces numerous crises that warrant a multilateral response in a time when Washington is increasingly responding unilaterally. Among ...

2018 was a year dominated by a new range of worries for national security experts in Britain.  Brexit and a series of untraditional statements from U.S. President Donald Trump, kept things interesting, to say the least.  This, in addition to the traditional security issues that keep the British up at ...

Bottom Line Up Front:  The Trump Administration is confronting China on issues that have been developing for years and have percolated to the top of a list of concerns that are affecting bilateral relations.  The current 10% tariff on $250 billion of goods could escalate to 25% or higher if ...

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is out on bail in Vancouver while she fights an extradition request to the United States. This, as President Donald Trump suggested this week that he may intervene in efforts to prosecute her, if he thinks it will give the U.S. an advantage as it tackles ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Uzbekistan’s renewed domestic and foreign policies have largely been welcomed by the international community. The geopolitical landscape of Central Asia presents a challenge to Tashkent’s ambitions of increased cooperation among the states in the region. Russia seeks to re-integrate the states of the former Soviet ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 1, President Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Argentina. The meeting comes at a crucial time for the Sino-U.S. relationship, which has been continuously deteriorating throughout the Trump presidency. Both Xi and Trump are to ...

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 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Despite being well-known for producing high numbers of foreign fighters, Central Asian countries, especially Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, have been mostly spared from domestic terrorist attacks. Global terrorism trends signal a shift in focus and re-location to Central Asia, however, increasing the terrorism threat in the ...

This brief is part of The Cipher Brief’s 2018 Annual Threat Report.   Bottom Line: There are three prominent technological security concerns for the United States with a growing Chinese strategic competitor to the east: Beijing’s push toward cyber and electronic warfare, its development of counter-space capabilities that threaten U.S. space ...

China's state news agency Xinhua, has shown the world just how far China has come in the artificial intelligence race with the introduction of a digital news anchor. The digital anchor not only read the news at China's World Internet Conference last week, but it also demonstrated the capabilities of ...

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 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. has announced it will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, signed in 1987. Washington’s departure from the hallmark treaty was not unexpected; the U.S. has accused Russia of violating the INF agreement since 2014. The decision to leave is quite ...

Bill Evanina is the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) - a part of the U.S. Intelligence Community that leads and supports the government’s counterintelligence and security efforts.    The NCSC tackles that mission in a number of ways, but a large part of their task is ...

  Bottom Line Up Front  China just recently legalized ‘vocational training centers' in Xinjiang province in the western part of the country, intended to engineer ‘thought transformation’ among ethnic Uighurs, who are primarily Muslim. The Chinese government and security services are utilizing a range of emerging technologies to help track, ...

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is touting his recent trip to Pyongyang as a success, saying that he was able to make ‘real progress’ toward denuclearization, and that a second summit between North Korean President Kim Jung Un and President Donald Trump, will be announced soon. Cipher Brief Expert and ...

Bottom Line Up Front The United States is alienating its European allies by insisting that they comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. Iran is attracting international support by remaining, at least for now, in the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal. The European Union (EU) countries are establishing a ‘special purpose vehicle’ ...

Bottom Line Up Front: Islamabad has invited Saudi Arabia to join China as a partner in Beijing’s extensive infrastructure initiative throughout Pakistan. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is a $60 billion investment by Beijing aimed to bolster trade and create a land bridge through Pakistan for Chinese goods and ...

The world’s malicious cyber actors -- Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea – have spoiled cyber’s original, idealistic vision and instead use cyberspace to advance competitive interests to undermine Western laws and norms and pursue a clandestine means (cyber theft) to catch up with the West in technology, political influence, ...

In part two of 'The Coming Chinese Storm', former Deputy Director for Counterintelligence at the CIA's National Clandestine Service, Mark Kelton, lays out the Chinese threat to both the public and private sectors in the U.S. "As General Michael Hayden has rightly said: “This is stealing American wealth.  It’s stealing ...

A gifted intelligence officer with whom I worked was fond of pronouncing, “A storm is announced by a single breeze”.  That supposed Chinese saying was invariably invoked when we thought we had divined the first hint of our adversary’s intent. The Chinese intelligence storm bearing down on the U.S. has ...

OPINION -- President Trump’s repeated message that Russia’s possession of nuclear weapons requires him to have better relations with Vladimir Putin, should encourage China to sharply increase the size of its strategic nuclear forces. That’s the message in an article entitled, “China can learn from Trump’s Russia stance,” carried in ...

President Donald Trump recently 're-opened' the debate on the creation of an entity to manage our national security space assets.  Based on his comments, the President's intent was clear, he wants dominance, not just presence, in space.   This is not a new idea (see for example, the Rumsfeld report of ...

Despite indications that China’s economy is likely to experience a moderate slowdown, the world’s second largest economy – and largest market by headcount – continues to expand the depth of its interactions with the world. From the One Belt, One Road project to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Asian ...

According to CNBC, sources “with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports” say China has installed long-range anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles on three of its artificial islands in the region—and the deployment took place in just the past 30 days. The deployment of missiles on these islands hasn’t been confirmed independently, ...

Bottom Line: China’s “One Belt, One Road” economic strategy, aimed at developing regional trades routes connecting East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Europe, has expanded into Pakistan where Chinese companies have launched numerous projects to build up Pakistan’s infrastructure and energy sector as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ...

“The world has been more dangerous, but it has never been more complicated.” These were the words Michael Hayden, former director of both CIA and NSA, used to launch the 2018 Threat Report at The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference in Sea Island, Ga., on Sunday. Hayden first prefaced the ...

Resentment, an insatiable appetite for women and an even larger appetite for cash are all elements that led to an insider threat that spelled a devastating theft of U.S. technology by a Chinese company. But this time, the culprit was caught – or at least, the company behind him was. ...

Amb. Joseph DeTrani, Cipher Brief expert and former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with North Korea, shared his thoughts on the surprise trip by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit the Chinese premier, adapted for print below. The March 26-27 visit of North Korean leader Kim ...

Bottom Line: With the stated national goal of achieving ‘great power status,’ China’s military modernization efforts have contributed to rising tension in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as between China and the United States. China’s growing ability to project military force – buttressed by the opening of its first overseas ...

China’s intelligence and security services play a pivotal role in shaping how China’s leadership views the outside world – but we in that outside world don’t know much about how they provide guidance and direction to diplomats and security officials, or how they help form government policy. When news breaks ...

Bottom line: Beijing aimed skyward with its latest attempt to expand areas of influence, unilaterally opening up several flight routes including one between Shanghai and Hong Kong that is uncomfortably close to Taiwanese airspace -- another step in its diplomatic and military pressure campaign to coerce Taiwan to rejoin China. ...

The U.S. Navy is facing tough challenges on an anemic budget: China and Russia’s growing Naval prowess; threats proliferating from increasingly advanced weapons systems; a force stretched too thin by an ever-expanding mission; and an inability to say “no” when asked to do more. The capabilities of the U.S. Navy ...

The People’s Republic of China has not fought a war since 1979, but the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a very close student of other peoples’ wars. They have carefully analyzed foreign, especially American, conflicts of the past several decades, and they have assessed the impact of information and ...

The vast size of the proposed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has players on all sides struggling to calculate the pros and cons for their own interests. From the benefit of creating new trade routes to the obstacle of the war in Afghanistan, regional leaders and their citizens are assessing ...

Bottom Line: China is aggressively pursuing capabilities such as anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons that could diminish the U.S. military’s reconnaissance, navigation and communications in case of war in the South China Sea or on the Korean Peninsula. But while China’s ASAT capabilities threaten U.S. assets in space, it’s still unclear how ...

When we think of arms races, we are naturally drawn to the physical: missiles, satellites, fighter jets, submarines and aircraft carriers. While those assets are important for conventional warfare, there is an emerging technological arms race in artificial intelligence (AI) that will have profound implications for the balance of power ...

Bottom Line: As part of its ambitious strategy to evolve into a leading global power by 2050, China has spent considerable resources upgrading its naval capabilities. Through such undertakings, China has significantly enhanced its force projection in East Asia, where it has staked claim to disputed islands and waters as ...

President Donald Trump, national security advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have begun using the term “Indo-Pacific” in recent months to refer to the region that extends from the west coast of the U.S. to the west coast of India. For decades previously, American leaders had called ...

Cipher Brief expert Gordon Chang says the U.S. has leverage over China that it isn’t using to defuse the challenge from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Cipher Brief’s Brian Garrett-Glaser interviewed Chang as Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump trade threats of pressing a nuclear “button,” even amid ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to predict what they see for the year ahead. CIA veteran and Asia hand Amb. Joseph DeTrani spoke about what Beijing could do to check the rising threat from North Korea, including implementing U.N. sanctions that Pyongyang has called an ...

The United States Navy has achieved unmatched supremacy on the world’s seas, but Russia and China are diligently growing their naval capabilities, trying to close the gap. Should U.S. naval enterprises fail to match their rivals’ pace, then Moscow and Beijing’s maritime advancements could challenge U.S. geostrategic interests, including its ...

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The recent public threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan, should U.S. naval vessels dock on the island, illustrates the increasingly precarious position of one of the region’s few democracies. Mixed signals from President Donald Trump, his administration and the U.S. Congress have only escalated ...

China’s burgeoning economic and political interests in the developing world – particularly in the Middle East and Africa – will compel Beijing to undertake a more activist approach to foreign policy. This new reality contrasts with China’s longstanding position of non-interference and will inevitably force China to become more engaged ...

President Donald Trump’s wooing of Chinese President Xi Jinping has so far failed to deliver the results he promised since their first summit meeting in April at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida, according to the 2017 annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The bipartisan, Congressionally-mandated commission ...

For this year’s Thanksgiving Day column, The Cipher Brief revisits a unique column by Michael Morell, the former acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He agreed to The Cipher Brief’s request to play the role of a senior Chinese intelligence analyst responsible for making assessments about ...

President Donald Trump is currently on his first trip to China and East Asia. The visit comes at a time when America's allies in the region are increasingly anxious about their security—which should rightfully be a major focus of the trip. But it is critical that our economic future with ...

President Donald Trump is currently on his first trip to China and East Asia. The visit comes at a time when America's allies in the region are increasingly anxious about their security—which should rightfully be a major focus of the trip. But it is critical that our economic future with ...