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 ...

Cipher Brief Expert and former CIA Deputy Director for Counterintelligence, Mark Kelton wrote for The Cipher Brief back in 2017 that, The Man in the Kremlin Must be Smiling, saying that “Vladimir Putin is smiling because he thrives on chaos, particularly in the camp of the “Main Enemy,” a term the ...

Tim Willasey-Wilsey is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, London and a former senior British diplomat. Pakistan has decided not to annex its parts of Kashmir. Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are collectively known as Pakistan Held Kashmir-PHK. Islamabad fears that such a move would provide propaganda for India ...

Douglas London is a retired senior CIA Operations Officer and Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. Mr. London served 34 years in the CIA’s Clandestine Service that included several Chief of Station assignments and executive Headquarters management positions.  Since retiring from the CIA’s Clandestine service a ...

Cipher Brief Expert Robert Eatinger is former Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency and retired Captain from the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corp with a combined 30 years of active duty and reserve service. EXPERT OPINION -- China seeks to challenge US technological supremacy ...

OPINION -- Should we all sleep easier because at last we have a low-yield nuclear warhead sitting atop a Trident D-5 sub-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) aboard a strategic ballistic missile submarine now on patrol in the Atlantic Ocean?  Not really. Last Tuesday, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood ...

Dr. Kenneth Dekleva served as a Regional Medical Officer/Psychiatrist, including 5 years at the U.S. Embassy Moscow, with the U.S. Dept. of State from 2002-2016.  He is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director, Psychiatry-Medicine Integration, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.  OPINION — In 2000, Xi Jinping, a relatively ...

If there was any doubt about the moribund state of the two-state paradigm in Palestine, the unveiling of the White House’s peace plan last month has put that doubt to rest. The “deal of the century,” put together by Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt in close cooperation with Israel’s Prime ...

Angela Lewis, Manager of Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis Team at The Walt Disney Company Angela Lewis is the Manager of the Global Intelligence and Threat Analysis Team at The Walt Disney Company. Prior to joining the private sector, Ms. Lewis served as a Senior Counterterrorism Targeting Officer in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, ...

At the recent December 2019 plenum, Chairman Kim, rather than giving his traditional New Year’s speech, outlined a different strategy toward the US moving forward in 2020. In doing so, he highlighted the dignity of the country, a return to a combination of military and economic development, and the requirement ...

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that the situation in Libya is a “scandal” and expressed his frustration over countries pushing for progress and then not backing it up in their actions.  The Secretary General focused on countries that participated in last month’s peace talks in Berlin, ...

Last week, The White House announced President Donald Trump’s vision for a ‘comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.’ The White House refers to it as a peace to prosperity plan but it has its shortcomings, namely that the Palestinians weren’t involved in its drafting and rejected the plan ...