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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country to highlight the voices of the next generation of national security leaders. Karina MacLean is a senior B.A. student in the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, studying Government & International Politics ...

The Listening Post focuses on the experiences of women in the national security space. This new column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change, exhibited strength and inspired others. We recently spoke with Lauren Buitta, founder and CEO of Girl Security, an organization ...

An attempted cyberattack on Israel’s water system in late April, just months after the global pandemic hit, prompted fears that cyber adversaries are getting even more bold in their efforts to cause harm. Israel’s national cyber chief, Yigal Unna, officially acknowledged the plot, calling it a ‘synchronized and organized attack’ ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Brigham Bechtel is a former CIA Chief of Station. He now works for Coverent and serves at Navigators Global as a Senior Strategist -Security, Defense, & Space. He is also the founder of Pelorus Consulting, LLC. OPINION -- America’s promise of equal justice before the law for its citizens always ...

Daniel Hoffman is a former Chief of Station with the Central Intelligence Agency. His combined 30 years of distinguished government service included tours of duty in the former Soviet Union, Europe, and war zones in both the Middle East and South Asia. Hoffman is now an analyst with Fox News ...

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un made headlines over the weekend as she threatened military action against South Korea, and deemed the inter-Korean liaison office "useless". What do we know about Kim Yo-jong and the role she is playing among North Korea's leadership elite? Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as ...

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 ...

OPINION -- On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on an authorization for Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to issue subpoenas to 53 individuals, most of them connected to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation. Among other things, Graham’s panel will look into how the FBI got into its probe ...

Robert Griffin is the Managing Partner for DVI Equity Partners a Private Equity Investment arm of Diamond Ventures where he focuses on technology investments concentrated on delivering disruptive or disintermediating technology in areas of national security, law enforcement, critical infrastructure, and emerging trends. Bob has been a key player and ...

“Lessons adopted” is a much more important concept than “lessons learned.”  Lessons adopted requires the learning of lessons, but it also requires a more important and more difficult step – the application of the lessons.  As we wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed, the coronavirus pandemic has retaught us ...

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, US Army (Ret) was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from 2008-2009. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Affairs from 2006-2008. These positions followed a 30-year career in the military with service as Deputy Director for ...

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 ...

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. OPINION -- According to Johns Hopkins ...

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; ...

Lauren Bean Buitta is the founder and CEO of Girl Security, and Erin Connolly is the organization’s Associate Director of Programming. Girl Security is a nonpartisan, citizen sector non-profit closing the gender gap in national security by building a pipeline for girls in national security through learning, training, and mentoring support. OPINION -- In ...

In part one of Iran and Hezbollah’s Pre-Operational Modus Operandi in the West, authors Mitch Silber and Ioan Pop pulled from court documents and open source reporting to shed light on ways that Iran and its proxy groups have engaged in regional escalations after the killing of Iranian General Qassem ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Burn-In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution by Peter W. Singer and August Cole Reviewed by Niloofar Razi Howe  Niloofar Razi Howe is a cybersecurity and technology executive, investor and board member. She currently serves as Sr. Operating Partner at Energy Impact Partners, Sr. Fellow at New America, ...

Cipher Brief Expert Mitch Silber and Ioan Pop have pulled from court documents and open source reporting to compile a modus operandi of Iran and Hezbollah and their efforts to attack the west. Mitchell D. Silber, Former Director of Intelligence, NYPD In January 2020, Mitchell D. Silber was named the ...

OPINION -- Last week, President Trump announced that the U.S. was giving six months’ notice that it would be pulling out of another international agreement, this time the 1992 Open Skies Treaty. At the same time, his administration’s top arms control officials continued the practice of sending mixed messages as ...

The Listening Post focuses on the experiences of women in the national security space. This new column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change, exhibited strength and inspired others. We recently spoke with INSA Chair and former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, ...

The Cipher Brief is honored to share the latest report from our friends at Business Executives for National Security (BENS) on Talent Management: A Strategy for Great Power Competition.   BENS is a nonpartisan group of private sector professionals who work to help identify best practices and help find solutions ...

This column is part of our new series, ‘From the C-Suite’, focused on how leaders from the private sector are driving change and innovation in the national security and business security space. We’ll bring you insights on the threats as they see them and notes on their personal journeys, motivations, ...

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 ...

This column is part of our new series, ‘From the C-Suite’, focused on how leaders from the private sector - in their own words - are driving change and innovation in the national security space. We’ll bring you insights on the threats as they see them and notes on their ...

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 ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country on highlighting the next generation of national security leaders.  If your program is interested in joining the Academic Incubator, which provides free Cipher Brief memberships for enrolled students and faculty, send an email to [email protected] Youssef Elshamy ...

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 ...

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 ...

OPINION -- Up to now, a politically divided Congress has been unsuccessful in slowing down President Trump’s accumulation of power, which thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, has expanded his ability to distribute government funds and favors without firm accountability. It’s time to take seriously the implications of what ABC’s Chief ...

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 ...

Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, US Army (Ret) was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs from 2008-2009. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Affairs from 2006-2008. These positions followed a 30-year career in the military with service as Deputy Director for ...

OPINION -- The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic should accelerate serious rethinking about what future federal government spending is needed in the name of “national security.” As Max Boot aptly put it last Thursday in The Washington Post, non-traditional, national security emergencies so far in the 21st Century “call into question whether ...

Bottom Line Up Front   Threats to national security have not receded as a result of the coronavirus and many have only grown more acute with resources now shifted to respond to the pandemic. ‘Social Distancing,’ while a necessary medical mitigation tactic intended to slow the rate of infection, is ...

Quantum Information Science has been around for a while, but the importance of quantum computing and its impact on national security has become clear in recent years. Some national security experts are calling it the next technological revolution.   Cipher Brief Expert and former General Counsel for the NSA, Glenn Gerstell, wrote an ...

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 ...

OPINION -- On February 20, during his visit to Strategic Command (STRATCOM) headquarters near Omaha, Nebraska, Defense Secretary Mark Esper took part in a mini-war-game exercise which led to a simulated Russian firing of a low-yield nuclear weapon and the U.S. launching one back. The next day, February 21, Defense ...

The Listening Post is a new Cipher Brief column specifically highlighting the experiences of women in the national security space, in both the public and private sectors. This new weekly column is a collection of stories, interviews, and profiles of women who have pioneered change and have inspired others along ...

Several Cipher Brief experts attended this year’s Munich Security Conference, which concluded last weekend. The annual event is an opportunity for Atlantic allies to share their views on national security related issues. We wanted a sense of the conversations happening off the stage this year, in the hallways and beer ...

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 served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, and also ...