Army Gen. Mark Milley indicated he would continue Pentagon independence from some of President Trump’s policies at his confirmation hearing to become the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee. In doing so he would be following the examples set by ...

Last week, the U.S. nearly launched retaliatory attacks against Iran for the shooting down of a U.S. military drone that was operating in the region.  While the Trump Administration has been casting some doubt in recent days as to whether the downing of the aircraft was authorized at the highest ...

Peter W. Singer is a Strategist and Senior Fellow at New America and an editor at Popular Science magazine. Singer is considered one of the world’s leading experts on changes in 21st century warfare and is a co-author of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. The Cipher ...

Lockheed Martin says it will continue to bring down the hourly costs of operating the F-35 fighter jet, while continuing to address the problems that have been plaguing the program.  Some of those issues involve the supply chain and others speak to reliability.  The head of the program was at ...

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says his country "will not wage war against any nation”, as tensions continue to escalate between the U.S. and Tehran. U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said that the decision to send an additional 1,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East is based on the ...

U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently warned that the U.S. "is not moving fast enough to stay ahead” of its rivals in space, specifically citing the technology and development of hypersonic weapons.  Shanahan specifically mentions China and Russia when he talks about U.S. rivals, both of which have made ...

OPINION -- Those of us old enough to remember the 1980s scandal of the Defense Department paying $640 for a toilet seat for the C-5 Air Force transport plane will see a more modern version in the activities of TransDigm Group, Inc., as disclosed at a House Committee on Oversight ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. State Department is reportedly increasing its counterterrorism efforts, even as its diplomatic portfolio is further reduced. The State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance program (ATA) has long served as a critical component of the department’s liaison efforts. However, the Trump administration’s open disdain for diplomacy ...

The Department of Defense is seeking a significant budget increase for further development of lethal autonomous weapons programs (LAWS).  While technology and the use of weapons technology is advancing rapidly, policy makers are grappling with the questions of just which decisions machines should be making on their own.  Should an autonomous ...

OPINION -- While the media and Congress have kept the public focused on the Mueller report and the next election, there are national security budgetary issues that are piling up that require attention. For example, a lack of spare parts has kept some 350 F-35 Lightning Joint Strike Fighters, already ...

The Cipher Brief’s new Friday column Cipher Select, is laser-focused on bringing you a range of different perspectives on special operations issues over the next several months. United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established in 1987, with a mission to “Organize, train, equip and provide fully capable Special Operations Forces ...

The 19 December announcement by President Trump to withdraw ground troops from Syria was surprising to everyone but should have come as a shock to no one. Here's why: First, ISIS may not be destroyed, but one is hard pressed to suggest that it remains an existential threat to the ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 19, 2018, President Trump unexpectedly announced a full withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria within the next 30 days. This pronouncement is at odds with the administration’s current strategy, as well as counsel of top military leadership. The Defense Department has strongly ...

  Bottom Line Up Front On December 17, the U.S. reported that it had conducted six airstrikes in Somalia, killing 62 militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab. The U.S. has conducted 45 publicly confirmed airstrikes in Somalia in 2018, 14 more than in 2017, which was the greatest annual total up ...

Vice President Mike Pence put a little rocket fuel behind plans to create a new Space Force on Tuesday by announcing that President Donald Trump has directed the Pentagon to create a U.S. Space Command.  Speaking at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Pence said that the new Command will ...

Despite years of forecasts predicting implosion, partition, revolution, Iranian absorption and other apocalyptic scenarios, there were generally more good events in 2018 than bad in Iraq, still Iraq's challenges in 2019 are significant. The good events were only “mostly” good. A new government formed (mostly). ISIS was defeated (mostly). Security ...

  Bottom Line Up Front By October 2019, the U.S. will have spent approximately $6 trillion in efforts related to support of the so-called ‘global war on terror.’ This figure factors in the true costs of a series of seemingly endless military campaigns, to include debt payments and spending across ...

The National Space Council heard testimony, and then voted this week to move forward with six recommendations that are intended to provide some lift for President Trump’s call to create a U.S. Space Force.  While there has been a cautious sense of how to move ahead with the idea among ...

The recent release of the Department of Defense (DoD) cyber strategy essentially announced the department’s ambitions to resume the role of the 800-pound gorilla in cyber. The offensively focused plan is a sharp redirect from the strategies of late and unreturned crush on Silicon Valley, both of which made it ...

On Wednesday, the Department of Defense (DoD) quietly released an unclassified summary and fact sheet on its 2018 Cyber Strategy, which replaces the 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy. Here are ten things you need to know about the new strategy: The cyber strategy is deeply influenced by the National Defense Strategy, ...

Most of my adult life was spent as a soldier in special operations. One of the most persistent issues throughout my career was finding the right balance of deployment tempo (DEPTEMPO) with time in garrison to train and to be home. It wasn’t always balanced.  A big part of this ...

President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to the National Space Council that he is asking the Pentagon to create a new ‘Space Force’ caught many off guard.  In particular, many at the Pentagon who will be tasked with plotting the way ahead. In the hours after the President made his comments, ...

With advanced robotics, autonomous machines and nimbler space systems on the agenda for the U.S. military, the Department of Defense has turned its attention to Silicon Valley to find the innovation and technology that will define the future of warfare. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work this week offered a ...