OPINION -- The scientific, medical, public health and morbidity/mortality reporting as well as the media writ large, are all documenting the profound negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and economic wellbeing of the global population. We measure this in lives lost, the outsize impact of the virus ...

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 ...

Cipher Brief Expert Jim Danoy is a retired defense intelligence executive and served as the National Intelligence Manager for Europe and NATO and a President’s Daily Brief (PDB) briefer to the 44th President of the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic, as with previous cataclysmic events will likely result in the ...

Marc Polymeropoulos served 26 years at CIA, retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in 2019.  He served overseas in the Middle East and South Asia, and now lives in Northern Virginia. OPINION -- We all have felt a range of emotions over the last several months, from the understandable fears ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of the world has been struggling to respond to the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Islamic State has been quietly ramping up attacks in both Iraq and Syria. Coupled with a drawdown of U.S. troops and the repositioning of Iraqi security ...

  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 ...

OPINION -- Defense Department senior officials last week described plans to increase testing for Covid-19 over the next few months, prioritizing higher risk forces but eventually covering all [DoD] personnel in a process that could set an example for the country as a whole. “We're continuing to develop our testing ...

  Bottom Line up Front The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated both Iran and the United States, but has not prevented tensions between them from escalating again. Iran’s willingness to undertake provocative actions indicates that the U.S. campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ has not mitigated the threat from Iran. Iranian leaders assess ...

Cipher Brief Expert Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico. Since retiring from ...

  Bottom Line Up Front COVID-19 has required the U.S. military to shift personnel and materiel to a domestic mandate to augment civilian state and federal agencies' capabilities, leaving U.S. entities overseas more vulnerable than ever. NATO’s cancellation of Defender Europe-20 comes at a time of great uncertainty in Europe ...

OPINION -- The Defense Department has gone to war against the coronavirus, employing some 50,000 troops on both offense and defense. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen, Mark A. Milley announced during a Pentagon press conference April. 14, “We are, in fact, at war against a virus. We are a supporting organization.” ...

Cipher Brief Expert Carmen Medina is a former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence and a 32-year veteran of the Intelligence Community.  Medina is also author of the book, Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within. Thinking in the Time of Coronavirus - Part One  discussed three important thinking ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The April agreement among major oil producers to reduce global oil production has failed to stabilize world oil prices. Market stability will depend heavily on the abatement of the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. oil production is falling primarily due to high costs and high debt loads ...

Cipher Brief Expert Carmen Medina is a former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence and a 32-year veteran of the Intelligence Community.  Medina is also author of the book, Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within. I’ve been wanting to comment on all the examples of bad thinking ...

Yahoo News national security and investigations reporter Jenna McLaughlin published a story last week, under the headline ‘Intelligence officials weigh possibility coronavirus escaped from a Chinese lab’, reporting that “Although the U.S. intelligence community early on dismissed the notion that the coronavirus is a synthesized bioweapon, it is still weighing ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While much of modern life remains shut down, domestic violence is a constant plague for far too many throughout the world. On April 10, France 24 reported a 30% increase in domestic violence, with abused partners unable to escape their abusers during quarantine. In the ...

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 ...

Stewart Baker is a partner in the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson in Washington, D.C. From 2005 to 2009, he was the first Assistant Secretary for Policy at the Department of Homeland Security.  Baker previously served as General Counsel of the National Security Agency and General Counsel of the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front With Afghanistan sharing a border with Iran, one of the epicenters of the pandemic, government officials in Kabul have warned that COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan could eventually reach into the tens of millions. The Taliban has been cooperating with Afghan health ministry officials in distributing ...

General David Petraeus (US Army, Ret) served over 37 years in the U.S. military, culminating his career with six consecutive commands, five of which were combat, including command of the Multi-National Force-Iraq during the Surge, U.S. Central Command, and Coalition and U.S. Forces in Afghanistan.  He subsequently served as Director ...

Cipher Brief Expert Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. He held postings in Lagos, Istanbul and Kabul. His responsibilities in London included director of security and, after returning from Afghanistan in 2007, director for counterterrorism. His final role was as director ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Cases of coronavirus are now reported in most African countries. Several African countries have seen a steadily growing number of cases at the same time that they are struggling to combat terrorist and insurgent groups. COVID-19 can be expected to place pressure on African militaries ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic is likely to provide a boost to extremists from across the ideological spectrum. Religious extremists, radical left-wing groups, and white supremacists all see opportunities to promote their ideologies and narratives as an explanation for and way to deal with the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Saudi Arabia announced a unilateral cease-fire in Yemen amidst growing concerns over the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Saudi Arabia’s scorched earth campaign has devastated Yemen’s health infrastructure over the past several years, making Yemen particularly susceptible to a nation-wide coronavirus outbreak among its population. Yemen is ...

As of this writing, Johns Hopkins, is reporting more than 432,438 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, and nearly 1.5m confirmed cases worldwide.  While the battle to save lives is expected to continue until a vaccine is developed (which experts say could still be 12-18 months out), national security ...

  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 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front Iran is continuing its efforts to strengthen its influence in Iraq and drive U.S. military personnel out. Iran’s struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic have not diminished its activities in Iraq. Iran’s strategy involves backing armed attacks on Iraqi bases as well as leveraging its allies ...

"America is no longer protected by vast oceans. We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad, and increased vigilance at home." - President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002. The COVID-19 outbreak will likely prove to be the most consequential event since the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While news headlines on COVID-19 are focused largely on its spread in the developed world, the virus has reached many countries ravaged by conflict with large populations in need of humanitarian aid. The lack of clean water, sanitary facilities, and space in many locations hosting ...

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 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front President Trump signed a $2 trillion stimulus package into law last week, designed to provide relief for an American economy that many experts suggest is heading for a recession—some even predict a depression. Overall, the bill has been credited for being more transparent than previous ...

OPINION -- If fighting the Covid-19 virus is a war, the Army Corps of Engineers is being led into battle by an exemplary field commander, Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite. The Corps’ job is to provide future hospital facilities for those cities and towns that are about to run out ...

During this time of social distancing, The Cipher Brief is bringing our experts to your laptop in a new series of web-based briefings on critical national security issues.  Members can sign up via email invitations and can ask questions of the experts that you aren’t getting answers to from traditional ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The spread of coronavirus is compounding the well-known problems faced by Middle East governments and societies. The coronavirus crisis could become particularly acute in conflict-ravaged countries where governance is already weak or absent. The decision by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to try to ...

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 ...

  Bottom Line Up Front White supremacist groups are touting accelerationist, siege, and Great Replacement theories during the COVID-19 pandemic. White supremacists have taken to mainstream social media platforms and encrypted applications to spread disinformation and conspiracy theories regarding COVID-19. Federal law enforcement agencies have alerted state and local police ...

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 spread of the coronavirus will pose significant challenges to voting and elections in the United States in the lead up to November 2020. A greater reliance on ‘e-voting’ will likely result in an increased risk of foreign interference, election manipulation, and cybercrime. To distract ...

Cipher Brief Expert John McLaughlin is a distinguished practitioner in residence at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  He served as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency from 2000-2004 and Acting Director of the CIA in 2004. The new coronavirus brings us smack up against the modern ...

  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 ...

Tom Bossert is the Chief Strategy Officer at Trinity Cyber, and a national security analyst for ABC News.  He served as homeland security advisor to two U.S. Presidents, serving as the Nation’s chief risk officer and senior most advisor on cybersecurity, homeland security, counterterrorism, and global health security policy.  Follow him ...

We are literally waking up in a new world every day as we work to better understand the comprehensive threat of the coronavirus and how to stop its spread.  New federal guidelines regarding the virus are expected from the White House Monday. They will follow state and local closings of ...

  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 ...