It has been a tumultuous first six months for the Trump Administration, as the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has dominated the headlines, and frustrated and preoccupied the president. Still, the White House released a statement on Thursday touting its national security successes. It ...

The most important determinant of a country’s national security is the health of its economy and its society. That is a strong statement, but it is true. I saw it when I studied economic history in college, years ago. I saw it as a young economic analyst at the Central ...

The U.S. withdrawal from the COP21 Paris Agreement has given new life to the debate around the consequences of climate change. The Trump Administration has cited concerns over national sovereignty and the economic burdens of reducing emissions to justify its policy. While this rationale remains controversial, it surely represents a ...

"We're getting out," announced President Donald Trump on Thursday, as he explained why the United States was withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. Signatories to the 2015 landmark agreement pledged to flight climate change by reducing greenhouse gases and help poorer countries do the same. But Trump said the U.S. ...

President Donald Trump on Friday warned James Comey, the former FBI director he fired this week, against leaking to the media as he once again sought to put the problem of leaks to the forefront instead of the counterintelligence investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and Russia. “James Comey ...

From kamikaze drones to prototypes using facial recognition technology to help protect troops, a group of Georgetown University students enrolled in a class dubbed, “Hacking for Defense,” spent a semester developing innovative solutions to rapidly solve major national security problems. On Monday, four teams took to the stage to present ...

As the Trump Administration marks 100 days in office, there have been shuffles in the National Security Council, a strike in Syria, tough talk on North Korea, and plans for a controversial travel ban. What did the Trump team get right? And what was off the mark? The Cipher Brief ...

President Donald Trump reorganized his National Security Council (NSC) on Wednesday. In a surprise move, chief strategist Stephen Bannon has been removed from the council, according to a Federal Register. The former roles of top intelligence and defense officials have been restored – including National Intelligence director Dan Coats and ...

The diversity and scope of national security challenges facing the U.S. continues to grow, asking ever more of an Intelligence Community (IC) that must stretch its resources to meet these demands. The move toward greater integration since the advent of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) has been critical to ...

President Donald Trump’s pick for Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Tuesday that the U.S. needs to look at Russian actions “with eyes wide open and a healthy degree of skepticism” as he vowed that, if confirmed, he has “no intention” of holding back any information from the ...

General Michael Flynn’s resignation and the selection of H.R. McMaster as the new National Security Advisor has brought the roles and responsibilities of this position into sharp relief.  As a former official who has served as the top East Asia member of the National Security Council under former President George ...

Rumors about a planned Trump Administration cybersecurity executive order offer signs of hope that many of the cyber policy lessons learned, often the hard way, during the past decade will not be forgotten. Unfortunately, its main thrust appears to be to call for more reviews of and reports on many ...

The appointment of Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster as National Security Advisor was not the Trump Administration’s first shake-up on the National Security Council, and it is unlikely to be the last. The Trump Administration’s decision to upend the NSC’s organization is an effort to correct what many believed had become ...

Strong-willed and innovative, at times even iconoclastic, are the words being used to describe President Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, who replaces Lieutenant General Mike Flynn. The Cipher Brief spoke with members of our network who have worked with McMaster and know him well ...

The arcane art of measuring the health of civil-military relations is experiencing a renaissance. Although it is welcomed by those who practice it, the reasons for the renewed focus are less so.  Contributing factors include 15 years of continuous wartime deployments and the lack of a shared experience between the ...

Compared to most of his proposed cabinet, President Donald Trump's pick of retired Marine Corps General James Mattis for Secretary of Defense has been one of the least controversial. However, due to his recent retirement from the military, Mattis needed - and received - a waiver from Congress to serve; ...

President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned this week over his contacts with the Russian Ambassador to the United States and his deception of Vice President Mike Pence and others on the nature of those calls, but the case is clearly not closed, legal experts told The ...

The resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn came only three weeks into a whirlwind beginning for the Trump Administration. The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani spoke to former Acting Director of the CIA John McLaughlin – who served seven presidents and watched three transitions closely – about how the next ...

With the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, there have been questions about the security implications of his conversations with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak before he took office.  But speaking to The Cipher Brief’s Leone Lakhani, Jack Keane, retired four-star general and former Vice Chief ...

“What did the President know and when did he know it?” For those of us who went through Watergate, that question, first posed by Sen. Howard Baker (R-TN), is the one most relevant today as the current White House drama unfolds with President Donald Trump’s role hardly mentioned. At 6:28 ...

The White House sought to present the resignation of President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, as a closed chapter tied to his deceiving Vice President Mike Pence on the nature of his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States. But as the shake up unfolds, the ...

The array of complex threats facing the United States requires the country to prioritize managing alliances and building coalitions, former Acting Director of the CIA John McLaughlin and retired General David Petraeus told members of Congress on Wednesday. The two testified before the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing ...

Today, President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President Michael R. Pence will take the oath of office on the western steps of the Capitol building. Mr. Trump enters the White House as possibly the most controversial new President in history. His inauguration will be met by record-setting protests – 200,000 ...

Donald Trump today enters the most powerful office in the United States, and probably the world. Just how powerful, however, is an area of much dispute. Despite early promises to curtail executive authority in areas of national security, foreign policy, and warmaking, some argue that President Obama has actually expanded ...

It’s time to take a closer look at the national security views of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). At a campaign rally in the Bronx on March 31, Sanders told a crowd of over 15 thousand, “We are determined that instead of spending trillions of dollars on a ...

The story of the Tortoise and the Hare is well-known across cultures. In some countries, the plot is adjusted and the animals change and become, for example, a grasshopper and an ant. But just about every society tells the cautionary tale of the Hare who runs quickly ahead, only to ...

Tonight, Republican candidates will take the stage for the second GOP Presidential debate.  We’ve heard a lot about jobs, immigration and the economy – but where do the candidates stand on the world’s most pressing global security issues? 1. Most GOP presidential hopefuls condemn the Iran nuclear deal.  The candidates are ...

This Wednesday’s Republican debate could be pretty revealing when it comes to the candidates’ views on security and foreign policy.  Or, at least, we have the right to hope so.  Moderators Dana Bash, Hugh Hewitt, Jake Tapper: please note.  How about some questions along the following lines? I’d like you ...

The U.S. is confronting global security challenges on a scale it has not seen since the rise of the Soviet Union to super-power status, following WWII. Radical Islam is morphing into a global terrorist movement, revisionist powers Iran, Russia and China are seeking regional domination and advanced countries, and yes, ...

Republicans have historically gotten better polling numbers on issues of national security leading up to elections.  This year there has been discussion by the candidates about the issue but specifics have not been forthcoming.  The economy will always be the number one issue as voters are, and should be, concerned about jobs ...