The mid-December deadline for Congress to determine whether to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran is rapidly approaching – with uncertain progress. Enacting these additional sanctions on Iran would effectively mean that the U.S. is unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ...

The shadow of President Donald Trump’s comments in August forewarning that the United States would meet any threat from North Korea with “fire and fury” loomed over a Senate hearing Tuesday on the sole authority of the president to launch America’s nuclear arsenal. “We are concerned that the President of ...

President Donald Trump’s recent decision not to re-certify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA has stimulated much debate on both sides of the Atlantic. But whilst in the U.S., both sides of the argument are being put, in Europe almost no one supports Trump’s policy – not governments, and certainly not ...

CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday warned North Korea may be only months away from being able to launch a nuclear-tipped missile at the United States. “They are closer now than they were five years ago. And I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today, ...

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he would not re-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal signed in 2015, calling it “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.” Trump also announced the U.S. will be designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ...

President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and vowed to terminate the agreement if its “many serious flaws” are not tackled. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat ...

President Trump announced on Friday that he will not certify Iran’s compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.” This move bounces the ...

Japan has the means, motive, and opportunity to produce nuclear weapons. However, as a matter of long-standing policy, Tokyo has kept its options open, as long as it can rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella. The perception is widespread that, due to its history as the only country upon which ...

The North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un conducted its sixth underground nuclear test early this September – which Pyongyang claims as its first test of a hydrogen bomb – and in late August and again, two weeks later, the hermit kingdom launched a ballistic missile directly over the territory of ...

On October 10, as North Korea celebrates the creation of the ruling Worker's Party, the United States and regional allies will brace themselves for the possibility of yet another provocative missile test. With multiple missile launches this year, and even the test of a hydrogen nuclear bomb, Pyongyang is pushing ...

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford set out his views on key national security issues last Tuesday during the Senate Armed Services Committee’s confirmation hearing for his second, two-year term in that position. Remember, as you read this, Dunford is by law the principal military advisor to President Donald Trump, ...

Donald Trump’s address to assembled world leaders at the United Nations last week raised new doubts about his willingness to renew waivers for Iran and continue with the Iran nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Until then, there had been encouraging signs that senior cabinet ...

China and North Korea were no doubt as surprised as anyone by Donald Trump’s dramatic electoral victory. They had probably anticipated that a new Clinton Administration, like the Obama Administration before it, would be anesthetized by Chinese diplomacy and continue the policy of “strategic patience”—really, strategic neglect – that had ...

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani exchanged blows at the UN General Assembly in New York this week – taking aim at both the Iran nuclear deal, and each other’s leadership styles. Rouhani on Wednesday called the Trump Administration “rogue newcomers” to the world of politics ...

The Trump Administration continues to pound away at North Korea, insisting military options are on the table, but so far the threats have not stopped Pyongyang from pursuing tests of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. "The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to ...

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man."  It was true for Heraclitus of Ephesus in ancient times, and it is equally true for Iranian leaders nowadays. When Tehran considers its strategy vis-à-vis the nuclear ...

The future of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is likely to take center stage at this week’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) gathering in New York – and to feature prominently in U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech before the UN on Tuesday. ...

As Defense Secretary Jim Mattis concludes a nuclear-focused trip, his public backing this week of all three parts of the triad likely serves as an important sign for the forthcoming Pentagon review of United States nuclear weapons policy. In April, the Department of Defense launched a Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) ...

Tensions with North Korea are escalating. Pyongyang’s nuclear test on September 3 followed the firing of an intermediate-range missile that flew over Japan, the Trump administration sending stealth F-35 fighters and nuclear-capable B-1 bombers for exercises over South Korea, and South Korea’s defense minister asking whether the U.S. should deploy ...

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon underground early Sunday morning, demonstrating both its destructive power as well as its defiance of the international community. In this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the blast’s power reportedly exceeded – by up to seven times - that of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima ...

As part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic agreed to suspend activities related to its development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, or so it seemed. In the year and a half that has passed since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) went into ...

Earlier this summer, the Trump administration chalked up a number of supposed achievements in its ongoing efforts to contain Iran’s ballistic missile program. U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law additional sanctions, while U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley coaxed the British, French, and German UN representatives into ...

Although the U.S. has stated that Iran remains in compliance with the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran continues to expand its ballistic missile capabilities and conduct missile tests, which the U.S. and its allies have argued violate the agreement. The Iranian government has asserted that these tests are aimed at boosting ...

Amid continuing tension with North Korea- underscored by the firing on August 29 of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before plunging into the Pacific Ocean- public understanding and discussion of this complex and increasingly dangerous situation is hampered by a one-dimensional narrative that has shaped much of the ...

Iran has rejected a U.S. demand that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors be allowed to check out Iranian military sites. “Iran’s military facilities are secret (sites), and not everybody can have access to them,” Iranian government spokesman Mahammad Baqer Nobakht told reporters at a weekly press conference in Tehran ...

Despite years of international sanctions and recent pressure from the Trump Administration, North Korea’s missile program has continued to rack up successes and acquire new capabilities. It would seem these new capabilities have made North Korean leader Kim Jong-un more confident, evidenced by his threat to conduct a missile test ...

North Korea’s July intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests have crossed a new capability threshold, allowing Pyongyang to potentially reach the continental United States. Further, U.S. intelligence estimates predict that North Korea now possesses the technology to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and place it on an ICBM. As tensions remain high ...

Days after threatening a missile test aimed at the waters off the coast of the American territory of Guam and just ahead of the annual U.S.-South Korea military exercises taking place this week, Pyongyang released new propaganda posters highlighting the success of its recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests. “The entire ...

One of the key responsibilities of the Intelligence Community is to provide the president with the other guy’s perspective.  How does he/she see the world and the issues?  What is the person’s mindset, where does it come from, and can it be changed?  It is difficult, if not impossible, to ...

The United States and its allies need to focus first on freezing North Korea’s current nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs with a goal of deterring Kim Jong-un from expanding his stockpile and nuclear delivery systems. Denuclearization of North Korea can remain the long-term goal, but the U.S. military knows ...

Within the next week, North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump will face situations that will require them to take steps that could increase already heightened tensions, or force one or both to back down from recent threatening statements. On August 21, some 40,000 American and South ...

The nightmarish threat of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appears more real than ever, but the devil is in the details. This summer’s most recent round of tension came after the successful test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, and ...

In the wake of President Donald Trump saying threats to the United States from North Korea would be met with “fire and fury,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis issued Pyongyang a warning — and a call for de-escalation. “The DPRK must choose to stop isolating itself and stand down its pursuit ...

After President Donald Trump’s vow that any threats from North Korea “will be met with fire, fury, and frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before,” Pyongyang responded within hours, threatening to strike American military forces based on the U.S. island of Guam. The war of ...

Top Cabinet officials sought to dial back the rhetoric while still pushing a strong message to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un following President Donald Trump’s vow that threats to the United States from Pyongyang would be met with “fire and fury.” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday looked to reframe ...

If there has been one common refrain from the Trump administration, it is that President Barack Obama’s policy of “strategic patience” towards North Korea was not effective in deterring Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear ambitions. But President Donald Trump and his advisers appear to have replaced strategic patience with an ...

President Donald Trump vowed to respond to North Korea with “fire and fury” if the rogue nation continues to threaten the United States. Speaking to reporters at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey on Tuesday, Trump said “North Korea best not make any more threats to the ...

America’s next stealth bomber, known as the B-21 Raider, will become the Air Force’s primary aircraft in the strategic bomber leg of the nuclear triad. Slated for delivery in 2025, it will employ cutting edge stealth and electronic warfare technologies while also incorporating a flexible architecture to allow for future ...

When North Korea commits a provocation, the U.S. often responds by conducting a flyover with its strategic bombers. American bombers flew over South Korea after both of Pyongyang’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile tests this month as well as nuclear tests in previous years. Strategic bombers can display American power and ...

America’s strategic bomber force is comprised of some of the Air Force’s oldest aircraft. The B-52 has served since the 1950s and will remain a valuable aircraft for decades more. However, this is contingent on developing the Long Range Standoff cruise missile to replace the aging Air-Launched Cruise Missile. This ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson capped off a whirlwind weekend at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial meeting in Manilla, Philippines by suggesting the United States would be open to dialogue if North Korea stopped its provocative actions. “The best signal that North Korea could give us that ...

My first meeting with the North Korean delegation to the Six Party Talks in 2003 was instructive.  Their lead negotiator, First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-Gwan, said the U.S. should accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, and like Pakistan, North Korea would be a good friend of the ...

As if there were not enough world problems already facing the United States, President Donald Trump is now talking about declaring Iran “non-compliant” with the July 2015 nuclear agreement that the Tehran regime signed with the P5+1 – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, and Germany. By U.S. law, ...

Editor's Note: Amidst harsh rhetoric from both U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime, tensions are currently extremely elevated. After North Korea's missile test at the end of July, The Cipher Brief revisits its conversation with Michael Morell on Kim Jong-un's actions and intent.  American, South Korean and Japanese ...

President Donald Trump’s administration slapped fresh sanctions on Iran on Tuesday, shortly after certifying the country is technically complying with the nuclear deal — a move that experts say is a key part of the White House’s approach until the comprehensive review of Iran policy is completed. The Treasury Department ...

Among the three legs of the triad, the U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarines are the most survivable and the hardest to detect. Their advanced nuclear propulsion and sound-dampening technology allow them to sail silently anywhere in the world. However, the current fleet of Ohio Class submarines is nearing the end ...

The only remaining U.S. ICBM, the Minuteman III, entered service in 1970. While upgrades have extended the life of the Minuteman III program, the missiles themselves, silos, and command and control systems are all in need of modernization. The Air Force’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program will replace these missiles ...

Defense Secretary James Mattis on June 14 gave Congress an update on the 2017 Nuclear Posture Review, saying, “We’re looking at each leg of the triad and we’re looking at each weapon inside each leg.” “What I’m looking for,” he said, “is a deterrent that will be most compelling to ...

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met for the first time last Thursday to discuss trade, stationing U.S. troops in South Korea, and most importantly, finding a common approach to halting and dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program. Then, just days later, on July 4th, North Korea successfully ...

North Korea took a significant step forward in its missile program this week with a successful test launch of what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).  This technical milestone highlights the questions surrounding potential military or diplomatic responses to North Korea, given the threat any kind of ...