Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and had over 20 years professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, to include senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National ...

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 -- Newly-installed Director of ...

Cipher Brief Expert John E. McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).  He served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September 2004 and as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence from October 2000 to July 2004. EXPERT TAKE ...

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, better known as INR, is charged with providing intelligence products in support of U.S. diplomatic efforts around the world. Established in 1947 by then-Secretary of State George Marshall, the bureau came out of the Office of Strategic Services Research Department that was ...

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 Senate Armed ...

(Photo caption:  Full-size dummy LCTs, codenamed BIGBOB, moored in South East England before the Normandy invasion (British Imperial War Museums, photograph H 42527, public domain).  This article was adapted from a nonfiction postscript in Christopher Turner’s Lieutenant Barnaby’s Inflatable Air Force. Christopher Turner had a 25-year career in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate ...

Javed Ali is a Towsley Policymaker in Residence at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and had over 20 years professional experience in Washington, DC on national security issues, to include senior roles at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of the Director of National ...

The Listening Post tells the stories of women in national security by sharing columns, interviews, and profiles of women who are ushering in the new era of national security.  Colonel Candice E. Frost is the Director of Foreign Intelligence for the Army G-2 within the Headquarters, Department of the Army where she provides current ...

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

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 -- On the eve ...

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 ...

As Washington continues to investigate the true depth of what experts are describing as one of the most damaging cyberattacks in U.S. history, both government and private sector leaders are considering not only the aftermath, but the shifting dynamics of global espionage. The hack was first publicly reported by FireEye ...

Views expressed in The Cipher Brief are individual views and do not represent all experts. Gregory Sims served in the CIA’s Clandestine Service for over thirty years, including multiple field tours as Chief and Deputy Chief of CIA stations.  He is currently retired. OPINION -- As a retired CIA officer ...

Cipher Brief Expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey is Visiting Professor of War Studies at King’s College, London and is a former senior member of the British Foreign Office. OPINION -- It was hardly a surprise, but it was shocking nonetheless. President Trump tweeted late last week; “We should have the small remaining ...

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 ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country to highlight the next generation of national security leaders.   Ameen Karim is a first-year master’s student in the International Security Program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. His research focuses on U.S. foreign policy. ...

BOOK REVIEW:  America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy by Robert B. Zoellick / Twelve Reviewed by Jason U. Manosevitz Jason U. Manosevitz is an officer in the Intelligence Community with 16 years of experience covering military and political issues in Asia and the Middle ...

OPINION -- Last Tuesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe promised, or maybe threatened, “Additional declassification and public disclosure of related intelligence remains under consideration.” That sentence was part of the same September 29, letter that he sent to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that contained declassified, unverified, information about Russian ...

Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger has 35 years of experience practicing law in the fields of national security, intelligence, and international law. He is a solo practitioner at Robert J. Eatinger, Jr., PLLC, practicing federal law with a national security and intelligence law focus and the founding Principal of SpyLaw Consulting, LLC. ...

"The U.S. intelligence community must invest in understanding its own business model to make data-driven decisions for the future," argue authors Katrina Mulligan, Cipher Brief Expert Matt Olsen and Alexandra Schmitt from the Center for American Progress. Katrina Mulligan, Managing Director, Center for American Progress Katrina Mulligan is the managing ...

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 ...

Understanding expert perspective on where the US stands in the world with regards to national security is a key component of how The Cipher Brief keeps the security community connected.  Michael Morell and Cipher Brief Expert Mike Vickers  recently sat down to talk with each other about the challenges facing ...

Norman T. Roule served for 34-years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East.  He served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran (NIM-I) at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence from November 2008 until September 2017.  As NIM-I, he was the ...

Cipher Brief Expert 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 as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager ...

The Cipher Brief is incredibly proud to present its first-ever Lifetime National Security Award to veteran intelligence professional, Mr. Charles E. Allen this Sunday, September 13 during opening day of The Cipher Brief Threat Conference. As The Cipher Brief enters its fifth year of publishing expert national security insights, perspectives ...

The Cipher Brief continues it's coverage on Russia this week in light of the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  We tapped Cipher Brief Expert Michael Sulick who served as director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service, for his thoughts on Putin's Playbook for the West.  While at CIA, Sulick also served ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings by Trevor Barnes Reviewed by Nick Fishwick Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. He did postings in Lagos, Istanbul and Kabul. His responsibilities in ...

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 ...

Gary Grappo is a former U.S. ambassador who held senior positions including Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman; and Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As a ...

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 ...

Cipher Brief Expert Marc Polymeropoulos served 26 years in the CIA before retiring from the Senior Intelligence Service in June 2019.  His positions included field and headquarters operational assignments covering the Middle East, Europe, Eurasia and Counterterrorism  The Cipher Brief: What was your initial reaction to news that Israel and ...

OPINION -- As the House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2021 Defense Authorization Bill are put together in conference, new offensive and defensive cyber operations are major topics in both versions of the legislation. Many of the proposals follow recommendations made last March by the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, which ...

The Intelligence Community’s job is to brief policymakers on what the US knows, in order to help them make better decisions.  There is a process for what the IC does and even though that process is often the first thing forgotten for the sake of a sexy political story, understanding ...

The discovery of large gas deposits has refueled decades-old territorial disputes in the Mediterranean.  In late July, Turkey announced it was dispatching a survey ship near a contested area around the Greek island of Kastellorizo, known as Meis in Turkey.  The announcement caused an international stir when both NATO allies ...

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 ...

Edward Bozeman is a Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq and Afghan wars and has a combined 16 years of experience in the Military and as a consultant in the Intelligence Community. Mr. Bozeman is working on his graduate practicum at American University's School of International Service which is focused ...

Kurt Sanger is a Judge Advocate with the United States Marine Corps. He received an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center and a JD from the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. The views presented are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the US ...

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 ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare by Thomas Rid Reviewed by Rick Ledgett Cipher Brief Expert Rick Ledgett served as the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency from January 2014 until his retirement in April 2017, culminating a nearly 40 year career in cryptology at ...

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 ...

Earlier this Spring, an oil tanker from Iran arrived in Venezuela with a much-needed delivery, despite the fact that both nations are under US sanctions.  It was a signal of a strengthening relationship between two authoritarian regimes.  A spokeswoman for the US State Department criticized the move but stopped short ...

The House Foreign Affairs Committee is focusing on reported intelligence that Russia placed bounties on the lives of US troops in Afghanistan. The committee is expected to hold a hearing on Thursday titled, “Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops: Why Hasn’t the Administration Responded?”  On Friday, the committee will address the ...

Bottom Line: Russia is accused of funding Taliban contract killings of US troops in Afghanistan. US military officials made limited accusations of Russian arms support for the Taliban in 2018, a turnaround from the heyday of US-Russian cooperation in Afghanistan 2009-2014. Recent reporting by The New York Times that intelligence ...

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 ...

OPINION -- On July 1, one month before his scheduled retirement, Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein gave a vivid description of Pentagon planning to deter great power warfare after 2030 or, if that failed, to fight and win against China, Russia or any other country. During ...

Sarah Carlson is the author of a new book, In the Dark of War: A CIA Officer’s Inside Account of the U.S. Evacuation from Libya based in part, on her time working as a Targeting Analyst in CIA's Counterterrorism Center.  Carlson specialized in threats and attack plans directed against the U.S. and ...

James Van de Velde, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University. He can be reached at [email protected] OPINION -- High technology has transformed communications but has done (strangely) far less to advance personal security. Many police reform proposals have advocated for police body cams. But why not ...

OPINION -- “Black swans” are events that arrive as unwelcome surprises and have significant effects on nations and societies.  They can upend the status quo in politics, economics, or national security. Black swans are even more dangerous when superimposed on other black swans. It’s always worth trying to anticipate potential ...

OPINION -- US Government officials, civilian and military, alike may be facing unusual tests in the next four months: Does their loyalty rest with the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, or to President Trump? Maybe those ...