Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the former 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 ...

OPINION -- Last week, the Biden administration spelled out its opening carrot-and-stick policy toward the Beijing regime during appearances before two different Congressional committees. Last Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered the carrot elements to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. During the afternoon, the sticks were ...

The new COVID-19 national security world is one shaped by a host of national and global security issues that were impacted – both good and bad – by the global pandemic. That, in turn, has fundamentally changed the way governments and private sector companies need to think about the old ...

Doowan Lee is a strategic advisor to the Institute for Security and Technology and adjunct professor of politics at the Univ. of San Francisco.   Phil W. Reynolds is a visiting scholar at the Center for Futures Studies at the University of Hawaii and is the author of Ouroboros: Understanding ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is former Acting Director of the CIA, former Deputy CIA Director and is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) OPINION -- President-elect Joe Biden faces a longer and more complex set of foreign policy challenges than ...

Walter Pincus is a contributing senior national security columnist for The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. OPINION -- The fiscal 2021 ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country to bring you the voices of the next generation of national security leaders.  Dalton Lin is assistant professor at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology. His most recent work is "The Political ...

Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joseph R. DeTrani was the former Special Envoy for Negotiations with North Korea and Director of the National Counterproliferation Center.  He is also former director of East Asia Operations for CIA and served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea ...

The Cipher Brief is a non-political media outlet focused on publishing expert perspectives on national security issues. We are committed to presenting multiple opinions to help produce a more informed understanding of the issues.  John McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International ...

The Cipher Brief recently published an article by expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey asking “Why would China not invade Taiwan now with expert insights from a range of national security experts like General Martin Dempsey, Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), Ambassador Joseph DeTrani and author and Global Policy Program Director at the Johns ...

As the U.S. counts votes in the presidential election, The Cipher Brief is focusing on Taiwan and its near-term future amid a flurry of activity by both China and the U.S.  As China flaunts a more aggressive approach to reunification, the U.S. has honored its commitment to provide Taiwan with ...

Two years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping made clear that he wanted China to make progress toward reunification with Taiwan.  This year, China has taken a more aggressive military stand toward Taiwan and has shown that it will not stop short of military pressure to move closer to its goal.  ...

As the U.S. decides on its next president, The Cipher Brief is focusing on increasing, and concerning tensions over Taiwan.  TCB's Brad Christian spoke with Ambassador Joseph DeTrani about increased U.S. military sales to Taiwan and what indicators might signal that China is confident enough to risk an invasion? Ambassador ...

OPINION – The United Nations’ decade-long embargo on the sale of arms to Iran expired on Sunday based on a provision in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was aimed at halting Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. So, what happens now? Tehran says it has no plans to ...

Cipher Brief Expert John E. McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he teaches a variety of courses and conducts research.  McLaughlin served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September 2004 and as Deputy Director of ...

A CIPHER BRIEF THREAT CONFERENCE CONVERSATION -- The Cipher Brief Threat Conference brings together thought leaders and experts from the public and private sectors to address the world’s most pressing security issues, and every year for the past four years, the U.S.’ relationship with China has been at the top ...

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 ...