OPINION -- President-elect Joe Biden’s campaign slogan, “Diplomacy is back,” will get an instant test after January 20, when his incoming team has just 16 days to find a way to extend the 2010, New START nuclear agreement with President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Otherwise, it will expire on February 5, ...

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. OPINION -- As the Biden administration ...

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 ...

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 as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter ...

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. He’s currently ...

(The Cipher Brief is an amazon affiliate and may make a small commission on books purchased via The Cipher Brief. ) UnderCover Senior Book Editor Bill Harlow served on active duty in the US Navy for 25 years and served as Assistant White House Press Secretary and spokesman for the Secretary ...

OPINION -- Was the November 27, assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh - Iran’s top nuclear scientist - the beginning or the end of attempts to sabotage President-elect Joe Biden’s plans for the United States to return to the 2015, multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)? My guess is that there ...

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 ...

Taiwanese factories produce much of the world’s computer chip and semi-conductor supplies that are used in a variety of products from smartphones to medical equipment. Taken without context, that may not seem cause for concern, but when you consider Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent push for his country to make ...

Just over a week ago, Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by what Iranian authorities describe as a remote-controlled weapon as his car made its way through the streets of Tehran. It was the latest in a series of high-profile killings that included al Qaeda’s second in command ...

The Listening Post tells the stories of women in the national security space by sharing experiences, interviews, and profiles of women who are ushering in the new era of national security.  Amy Chaput is a former Acting Chief Technology Officer for the Directorate of Science & Technology at CIA, where ...

OPINION -- "There will not be another foot of [Trump’s border] wall constructed on my administration, No. 1," President-elect Joe Biden pledged on August 4, during an interview on National Public Radio. "End. Stop. Done. Over. Not going to do it. Withdraw the lawsuits. We're out. We're not going to ...

Douglas H. Wise served as Deputy Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from August 2014 until August 2016. Following 20 years of active duty in the Army where he served as an infantry and special operations officer, he spent the remainder of his career at CIA. He graduated from the ...

Even though national security did not play a significant role during the U.S. presidential campaign, President-elect Joe Biden is set to inherent a world in crisis when he takes the oath of office in January. Among the national security challenges facing the U.S. in 2021 are those posed by a ...

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 -- President-elect Joe Biden has ...

OPINION -- Last Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci used the metaphor, “the cavalry is on the way,” referring to two COVID-19 vaccines that are expected to be approved for initial distribution next month, with one additional vaccine still in the testing phase. It’s an apt metaphor for distribution because leading that ...

BOOK REVIEW: Law and Leviathan: Redeeming the Administrative State by Cass R. Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule / Belknap Press Reviewed by Terence Check Terence Check is an attorney in the federal government, and works on data privacy, biometrics, counterterrorism, criminal law, cybersecurity, information-sharing and technology-related matters. All opinions and statements are his own. ...

Eldad Shavit, Sr. Researcher, INSS Eldad Shavit is a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and previously served in senior roles in Israeli Defense Intelligence and the Prime Minister’s Office. Dr. Raz Zimmt, Research Fellow, INSS Dr. Raz Zimmt is a research fellow at the Institute ...

Philip Reitinger is the President and CEO of the Global Cyber Alliance. You can follow him on Twitter @CarpeDiemCyber OPINION -- “Black Tuesday” for cybersecurity came on November 17, when the President of the United States fired Chris Krebs, Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). Mr. Krebs had the temerity to do ...

The Cipher Brief is an apolitical national security publisher. We are committed to presenting multiple opinions to help produce a more informed understanding of the issues. 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 ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country to bring you the voices of the next generation of national security leaders.  Dalton Lin is assistant professor at Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology. His most recent work is "The Political ...

Cipher Brief Expert Ambassador Joseph R. DeTrani was the former Special Envoy for Negotiations with North Korea and Director of the National Counterproliferation Center.  He is also former director of East Asia Operations for CIA and served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea ...

OPINION – The military has become the U.S. institution in which the public has the most confidence, as measured by the latest Gallup Poll, which gave the military 72 percent followed by the Supreme Court at 42 and the Presidency at 39. Therefore, it was important last week that Joint ...

Akash "Aki" Jain is President of Palantir USG, Inc. where he focuses on Artificial Intelligence, USG Technical Engagement, Enterprise Data Management and Cloud Architecture. Private Sector Perspective -- Neil Armstrong’s small step for man in 1969 was a symbolic resolution to the Cold War’s most visible global security power struggle: ...

The Listening Post focuses on women in the national security space. This new column offers a collection of experienced national security insights, interviews, and profiles of women who are ushering in the new era of national security.  Lauren Zabierek is Executive Director of the Cyber Project at Harvard Kennedy School's ...

Cipher Brief Expert 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 London included director of security and, after returning from Afghanistan in 2007, director for counterterrorism. His final role was as director ...

OPINION – President-elect Joe Biden’s national security transition team should be developing plans for extending the New START strategic nuclear arms treaty with Russia, but also preparing to undertake its own, wide-ranging, Nuclear Posture Review that rethinks the Trump administration’s aggressive nuclear weapons building program. First up must be the ...

The Cipher Brief is a non-political media outlet focused on publishing expert perspectives on national security issues. We are committed to presenting multiple opinions to help produce a more informed understanding of the issues.  John McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International ...

Among his first priorities, President-Elect Joe Biden is announcing a coronavirus task force and is expected to start work on an economic recovery plan this week as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the US.  From a national security perspective, there are a number of other complicated global dynamics that ...

The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) recently issued an advisory, reminding businesses that if they pay ransom to cyber hackers, they could be violating OFAC regulations.  At first glance, it puts businesses that are already in an incredibly difficult situation, in an even harder one. ...

The Cipher Brief recently published an article by expert Tim Willasey-Wilsey asking “Why would China not invade Taiwan now with expert insights from a range of national security experts like General Martin Dempsey, Admiral James Stavridis (Ret.), Ambassador Joseph DeTrani and author and Global Policy Program Director at the Johns ...

As COVID-19 cases spike in the U.S., the FBI is warning about a new ransomware attack aimed at the U.S. Healthcare system.  In an alert issued on Wednesday, the government said cybercriminals have launched an attack that has already impacted at least five U.S. hospitals and has the potential to impact ...

Earlier this month, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued an advisory, reminding businesses that if they pay ransom to cyber hackers, they could be violating OFAC regulations.  At first glance, the advisory puts businesses that are already in an incredibly difficult situation, in an ...

ENERGY -- 2020 has taken a toll on the world’s energy market, but just how bad is it?  Experts say COVID-19, economic shutdowns and a disastrous oil price war this Spring have left the industry in a position to survive but warn that it will be different. The Cipher Brief ...

OPINION -- Last Wednesday, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), STRATCOM Commander Admiral Charles A. Richard began with what he described as “a really profound thought,” which “really should grab your attention.” It got mine. He said, “Let me start with this assertion, that we have not seriously considered ...

The Louisiana National Guard was recently tasked with stopping a string of cyberattacks aimed at infecting state government offices with malware that deploys ransomware, according to a Reuters report, citing two anonymous sources, prompting concerns over election interference. “Experts investigating the Louisiana incidents found a tool used by the hackers ...

OPINION – The United Nations’ decade-long embargo on the sale of arms to Iran expired on Sunday based on a provision in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was aimed at halting Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. So, what happens now? Tehran says it has no plans to ...

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently hosted the AlphaDogfight Trials putting artificial intelligence technology from eight different organizations up against human pilots.  In the end, the winning AI, made by Heron Systems, faced off against a human F-16 pilot in a simulated dogfight with the AI system scoring ...

In the aftermath of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) recent AlphaDogfight Trials that saw AI defeat a human F-16 pilot in a simulated dogfight, we spoke with Cipher Brief Expert General Philip M. Breedlove (Ret.) about the future of AI in the cockpit.  Gen. Breedlove retired as NATO ...

The Cipher Brief’s Academic Incubator program partners with colleges and Universities across the country to bring you the voices of the next generation of national security leaders.  Christopher Loreck is a graduate of the International Relations Master’s Program at the American University School of International Service and is an alumnus ...

Cipher Brief Expert John E. McLaughlin is the Distinguished Practitioner in Residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he teaches a variety of courses and conducts research.  McLaughlin served as Acting Director of Central Intelligence from July to September 2004 and as Deputy Director of ...

Thousands of people are virtually gathering this week as the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) kicks off its annual conference focused on the future mission. The pandemic has forced the event to go all-virtual for the first time this year and presenters are expected to discuss a number ...

OPINION -- President Trump and his team are trying to come up with at least one last minute foreign policy success before Election Day, just 21 days away. Trump himself, tried to create some good re-election news last Wednesday about Afghanistan when he tweeted, “We should have the small remaining ...

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 ...

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. ...

OPINION -- The Navy is scheduled to begin construction next month on SSBN-826, to be named the USS Columbia, the first of 12 planned new, Columbia-class, strategic, ballistic missile submarines. The Navy’s top shipbuilding priority, the $110 billion-dollar, Columbia-class program will provide the major number of thermonuclear warheads for the ...

How COVID-19 Revealed the Menace of China’s United Work Front Department William O'Hara is the senior China planner in the J5 Directorate at U.S. Special Operations Command. He has served primarily in the US intelligence community as an intelligence analyst and planner focusing on China. The views expressed are his ...