Former Secretaries of the Navy took aim at President Donald Trump’s push for a 350-ship Navy during a discussion held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Wednesday. While they all agreed the current state of the Navy was aging and required modernization, the former Navy officials remained ...

While maritime accidents are bound to occur, the consistency and regional concentration of the U.S. Navy mishaps in the Asia-Pacific beg for explanation. Cyber vulnerabilities have long been acknowledged against commercial maritime vessels, but the targeting of new naval systems – whether for navigation, engine and steering control, or commanding ...

Recent fatal accidents involving two vessels in the U.S. Seventh Fleet led to a spate of speculation about whether somehow the navigation in these ships was compromised by a cyber intrusion. Global Positioning System (GPS) spoofing has been highlighted as a possible contributing factor. While investigations are still underway to ...

There has been a recent wave of high-sea collisions in the Asia-Pacific involving U.S. naval vessels – most notably the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain, which together have resulted in the loss of more U.S. military personnel then in Afghanistan so far this year. The incidents, both involving ...

“If we do a continuing resolution, we are not only not rebuilding our military, we are harming our military,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told his Senate colleagues last Thursday. Ignoring the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, the Senate did just that, approving a new, three-month continuing fiscal 2018 appropriation resolution that ...

Ray Mabus, who was navy secretary during both Obama Administrations and held that post longer than anyone since World War I, discussed innovation in the Navy – such as the use of green technologies – and the importance of public-private partnerships Thursday at The Cipher Brief’s annual Threat Conference in ...

For this year’s Fourth of July feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage examining the concept of an electromagnetic railgun. Capable of firing projectiles at speeds of Mach 7 to strike targets over 100 miles away, electromagnetic railgun systems for the Navy and the Army are now reaching the final ...

For this year’s Fourth of July feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage on electromagnetic railguns. Capable of firing projectiles at speeds of Mach 7 to strike targets over 100 miles away, electromagnetic railgun systems for the Navy and the Army are now reaching the final stages of development and ...

Retired Admiral James Stavridis believes the Trump Administration fails to recognize the importance of our oceans.  In his new book Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans, Stavridis is troubled by the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord and a proposed budget that boosts military spending, ...

Ray Mabus, who was navy secretary during both Obama Administrations and held that post longer than anyone since World War I, discussed innovation in the Navy – such as the use of green technologies – and the importance of public-private partnerships Thursday at The Cipher Brief’s annual Threat Conference in ...

June 4 marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, the greatest naval battle in American history and the turning point of World War II in the Pacific. At Midway, a larger Japanese fleet was surprised and defeated by smaller, less combat-experienced U.S. naval forces. Victory was enabled by ...

When U.S. President Donald Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that the U.S. had two submarines in the waters near Korea, it began a controversy over whether sharing the subs’ location was a leak of classified information and a security risk. A submarine’s ability to remain hidden is its greatest ...

For more than a decade, Asian countries have been on a submarine spending spree. Some countries are updating obsolete vessels while others are purchasing submarines for the first time. This trend has largely been driven by growing concerns nations have over maintaining a deterrent against an increasingly assertive China broadly, ...

Editor's Note: For this year’s Memorial Day feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage examining the future of U.S. aircraft carriers. America’s largest warships have grown in size and cost, but also capability over the decades, and the new Ford-class promises to raise the bar on all three of those ...

Editor's Note: For this year’s Memorial Day feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage examining the future of U.S. aircraft carriers.  As I write, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson is steaming toward the Korean Peninsula—finally.  It does so at a time—as happens about once or twice per ...

Editor's Note: For this year’s Memorial Day feature, The Cipher Brief revisits its coverage examining the future of U.S. aircraft carriers.  Some planners advocate building smaller carriers that could employ many U.S. Navy supercarriers’ capabilities at less cost. With the right aircraft, a light carrier could undertake long-range strike, counter-air ...

The South China and East China Seas present flashpoints for maritime conflict, though the assembled experts at The Cipher Brief’s Georgetown Salon Series could not agree which was a more pressing issue for the United States. Retired Admiral John Greenert was joined by Greg Poling Director of the Asia Maritime ...

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 ...

For a moment, try to ignore President Donald Trump’s tweets and rambling speeches and let’s look at what the Trump administration may be thinking about when it comes to his campaign promise to rebuild what he has termed “our depleted military.” The Trump White House website came up on January ...

With important global roles during times of peace and war, U.S. Navy ships and sailors must be ready to deploy anywhere in the world on short notice. However, the combination of sustained operations, inadequate ship numbers, and a tight budget have created challenges to the Navy’s long term readiness that ...

The crash of a MV-22B off of Okinawa on December 13, 2016 occurred during one of the most difficult tasks a Marine aviator can do in peacetime: night time midair refueling. While the Marine Corps will not release more details until an investigation is complete, this episode, and another involving ...

President-elect Donald Trump’s first meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to have gone smoothly, though it remains too soon to say what policies Trump will pursue to promote U.S. strategic and economic interests in East Asia. The Cipher Brief spoke with Mansfield Foundation President and CEO Frank Jannuzi ...

When the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in July 2015, you might have been forgiven for thinking that U.S. relations with Iran were on the path to stability. Although many U.S. sanctions remain in place and Iran still has difficulty accessing ...

Iran’s supreme leader implemented a dramatic overhaul of Iranian military leadership in June 2016, and in so doing, effectively consolidated control of the Iranian military into the hands of a small network of senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders. This same network of IRGC commanders have been the driving ...

According to U.S. Navy officials, confrontations between American and Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf have risen by roughly 50 percent. This despite the fact that the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran, which lifted nuclear sanctions on the country, was implemented in January 2016. ...

The crisis after 9/11 forced every branch of the military to reevaluate its mission set, its structure, and its identity. Fifteen years later, the process is ongoing. Last week, a congressional report highlighted the debate over whether it should be enlarged or reduced from its current 475,000 soldiers. In that ...

Russia on Thursday may have dismissed concerns over its fighter jets flying dangerously close to a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Baltic Sea this week, but experts and U.S. officials say the move must be seen in context as another in a long line of warning shots about Russian power. ...

At a time when the world’s attention is focused on terrorist bombings and beheadings, as well as the fighting in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, little notice is being paid to a mini-revival of the superpowers’ nuclear arms race. Five decades ago, that arms race led to Moscow and Washington spending ...

After the United States emerged from the Vietnam War, it witnessed the events of the 1973 Yom Kippur War—a state-level conflict fought against Israel by a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria. That war underscored how far potential enemies had advanced in terms of weapons and tactics. ...

Thomas Mahnken is the Jerome E. Levy Chair of Economic Geography and National Security at the U.S. Naval War College and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Planning, giving him a unique perspective into changes in naval warfare. He shared this insight, along with his expectations for ...

Whether or not we are officially at war with ISIS is a reoccurring debate in today’s mass media.  Part of what makes this question so compelling is that the concept of war, and how it’s fought, has dramatically changed since the end of the Cold War.  Take, for example, the ...

Three dramatic developments have occurred in the employment of U.S. air power in the past 25 years: the vulnerability of air defenses faced, leading to far less attrition of U.S. aircraft than was suffered previously; the ability to strike ground targets with great precision, day or night; and the ability ...

In American culture, Veteran is a powerful word, and for better or worse, it is used universally. The Department of Veterans Affairs is a common topic for Congress, the news, and Facebook. Veterans Day features sales, promotions, and free donuts. We are highlighted at sporting events, during the State of ...

For many Americans, holidays have become something to look forward to, because they mark the beginning of special season like summer, a day off from work, or the chance to get a deal on some big purchase. Too often, we fail to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday. ...

Every year, about 200 thousand service members complete their military service and transition to civilian communities and the civilian workforce. Military downsizing—forced by budget pressures and the end of large-scale combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan—will mean even more troops needing jobs. Unlike previous post-war downsizings, more of these troops ...

Retired LTG Guy Swan spent more than 35 years in the Army, commanding at every level.  Now, as a Vice President of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), he stays attuned to the concerns of today’s new veterans.  Swan tells The Cipher Brief that those returning from the ...

As Veterans Day approaches, I find myself thinking about the veterans in my family—three generations. There is my 95-year-old father-in-law, who did his World War II service as an enlisted man in the Army in North Africa, Italy, and France. Next is my husband, whose nearly 40-year Air Force career ...

Master Sergeant William "Spanky" Gibson is a retired United States Marine, who served for 22 years in multiple theaters.  On May 16th, 2006, while on a foot patrol in Iraq, then-Gunnery Sergeant Gibson was shot through the left knee during a fire fight. His wounds required his left leg to ...

One country’s patrol is another’s provocation. Chinese state-run media has reacted with outrage to a U.S. Navy destroyer sailing within the 12 nautical mile claim Beijing asserts over five Chinese made, artificial islands.  On Monday, the U.S.S. Lassen, sailed off the coast of Subi Reef, where the Chinese People’s Liberation ...