The Cipher Brief is engaging with dozens of Cipher Brief experts, government speakers and private industry executives this week on the national security challenges that are impacting the public and private sectors.  We will have special coverage of the 2019 Threat Conference and will be re-posting some of our most ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On March 11, the Trump administration submitted a $4.7 trillion-dollar budget proposal that details its spending priorities. The administration’s proposed budget prioritizes military spending, along with border security and the creation of a new ‘Space Force.’ The actual budget will differ substantially from the proposal, ...

The U.S. and China are rapidly sliding into a full-court confrontation in and over cyberspace. This portends serious risks and disadvantages for both sides in light of their economic and technological interdependence. It is bound to have even greater reverberations internationally, given that both countries serve as the world’s leading ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On March 6, Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the Chinese tech company Huawei, had an extradition hearing in Canada where she is being held on charges of fraud. Her case is a legal one but still tied to broader geopolitical implications between the U.S. and China ...

  Bottom Line Up Front: The second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, held on February 28, produced no substantial outcomes in the goal of denuclearizing North Korea. Another state with significant stakes in the North Korean crisis is China, who is closely ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former Senior Director for Cyber Operations at the National Security Council, Thomas Donahue, provides critical perspective on the strategy needed to protect the sovereignty of the U.S. telecommunications backbone. The U.S. Government - by blocking the sale of U.S. high technology firms to foreign companies for ...

  Bottom Line Up Front A Dutch cybersecurity researcher reported that Chinese company SenseNets exposed millions of people’s facial recognition information. China has used facial recognition to target Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region. Venezuela is also adopting an identification card system similar to the Chinese model to track ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On February 18, Pakistan-based militants killed four Indian soldiers during a raid in Kashmir, just days after 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing. The suicide bombing was the worst in decades in the region and has derailed already tense relations between New ...

The Cipher Brief asked expert and retired four-star General David Petraeus for his big takeaways after attending last weekend's Munich Security Conference. First, the wedge between the U.S. Administration and Europe is a good bit bigger than last year, and Russia, Iran, and China are working to highlight and exploit the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On January 28, intelligence officials warned of a Sino-Russian entente, with China and Russia more closely aligned than at any point in decades. A strengthened Moscow-Beijing axis poses serious security challenges to the West in general and to the United States in particular. The Sino-Russian ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Just last week, the United States pulled out of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, citing years of Russian violations. On February 02, Russia announced that it, too, would suspend adherence to the treaty, sparking fears of a renewed arms race reminiscent of the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Earlier this month, China released footage from a military exercise where the ‘Guam killer’ DF-26 ballistic missile was tested. In the 21stCentury, China has increasingly focused resources on modernizing its military to match its economic power. Chinese military modernization presents the most significant challenge to ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan will give terrorist groups like al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) more room to maneuver. AQIS is a major node in a network with deep roots in South Asia, and it works closely with other terrorist groups, including the ...

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 ...

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 ...