Don Hepburn is a former senior CIA and FBI official and is currently President of Boanerges Solutions.  He wrote this column with significant contributions from CAPT Evan D. Robinson, USN (Ret) In our modern global economy, over 90 percent of all traded goods, valued at over $4 trillion, are transported ...

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time. While the two agree on the need to strengthen cooperation between the U.S. and China, there are several agenda items that are likely to become contentious, not least of which is North Korea. Trump ...

President Donald Trump and his cabinet are now responsible for U.S. policy on one of Asia’s most contentious regions: The South China Sea. While China’s intentions to militarize the islands it claims have grown clearer—recent satellite imagery shows emplacements for anti-aircraft weaponry on the Spratly Islands— U.S. policy after the ...

Few security challenges are as vexing as the South China Sea. With multiple claimants and murky claims, the contours of the conflict can be difficult to grasp. In recent years, China has used ambiguity, asymmetry, and incrementalism to assert control over parts of the South China Sea. Meanwhile, the Obama ...

Since China undertook a massive artificial island building program in 2013 with the intention of militarizing the islands, the U.S. has grown increasingly worried about freedom of navigation through this economically important waterway. The Cipher Brief spoke to Admiral Jonathan Greenert, former Chief of Naval Operations, to understand how the ...

Iran is doing enough damage in the Middle East through unconventional methods without requiring a robust navy. That is why an idea floated by a key Iranian military leader to build naval bases in Yemen and Syria makes absolutely no sense. Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of Iran’s armed forces general ...

Vietnam is experiencing its highest level of international attention in nearly a decade. The country is going through a major leadership transition, starting with the Communist Party Congress that took place in January. The all-important political event saw the surprising departure of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, arguably one of ...

In early March, the Cam Ranh International Port (CRIP) was inaugurated with much fanfare, marking the beginning of its revitalization following decades of post-Cold War neglect as well as quelling speculations as to whether Cam Ranh Bay will become yet another foreign naval base – like it was until the ...

Today, the Gulf of Guinea region is simultaneously the major source of revenue for the development of the states of the region and a big source of economic opportunity for the partners conducting industrial activities. The region covers an extension of more than six thousand kilometers, starting from the Senegal ...

Although piracy in the Gulf of Aden attracted global attention and efforts to combat the threat, a similar and growing problem in the Gulf of Guinea—off the coast of West Africa—is being largely ignored.  Dr. Assis Malaquias, the Academic Chair for Defense Economics at the National Defense University’s Africa Center ...

Gerry Northwood OBE is applying his experience as a Captain in the Royal Navy to his new role as the Chief Operating Officer of Maritime Asset Security & Training Ltd to ensure his client’s safety when operating in the maritime realm.  Northwood told The Cipher Brief that private companies, like ...

The sea lanes of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) are endowed with valuable resources and are an important artery of global trade. It connects maritime traffic from multiple continents due to its central location, particularly its proximity to Europe and America. Historically, the geostrategic importance of the GoG made it ...