Over the next few years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) plans to demonstrate two air-launched hypersonic weapons (HSW) concepts; the Turbo Boost Glide and the Hypersonic Air-breathing Weapons Concept. These systems, though not weapons themselves, should generate a great deal of information on the operating conditions for weapon-sized air vehicles in hypersonic flight (Mach ...

From Syria, to climate change, North Korea, and the largest global refugee flows in history, the next President will face a uniquely challenging set of national security threats when she or he takes office. The Cipher Brief spoke with former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department and current ...

The White House is looking to take a “proportional” response to Russia’s alleged hacking of U.S. political party organizations and effort to interfere in the election campaign. "We obviously will ensure that a U.S. response is proportional. It is unlikely that our response would be announced in advance. It’s certainly ...

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and The Cipher Brief is pulling together a Cyber Advisory Task Force made up of public and private sector professionals who are coming together to help create a blueprint that will address critical and emerging cyber threats.  Our goal is to help educate ...

The relationship between Russia and the United States has always been and will always be complicated.  In the U.S. and the West in general, hope seems always to spring eternal.  The thinking, boiled down to its essence, goes something like this:  if we just keep trying, if we just keep ...

President Obama, and therefore the United States, has not faced simple choices when it comes to Syria and certainly none that would satisfy Americans’ traditional demand for instant gratification – or in foreign policy terms, a success. Who is the U.S. to support with money, arms, and perhaps even military ...

As U.S.-Russia tensions escalate, the sharply deteriorating bilateral relationship between the former Cold War foes may be at an inflection point. Experts say that in the wake of a flurry of public statements, accusations, and nixed arms control agreements last week, the United States and Russia have hit another low ...

Heightened concern that some Gulf States and Turkey want to give Syrian rebels in Aleppo more advanced weaponry has Washington warning about the potential for their misuse, as well as experts saying more weapons would prolong the conflict and increase fatalities in the long run. Last week, U.S. officials raised ...

A hypersonic missile launched from mainland China could strike a U.S. carrier group located anywhere in the South China Sea in under 20 minutes. That’s a hypothetical right now, but hypersonics are poised to be the next big thing in defense technology. A hypersonic weapon is any projectile that is ...

In recent years, defense analysts have increasingly turned their attention to the development of hypersonic weapons, a class of systems intended to strike fast, at range, and evade most existing defenses. Generally speaking, a hypersonic weapon is a system in which the kill vehicle (carrying the warhead) travels in excess ...

Fighting in Aleppo has intensified with a Russian-backed government offensive to capture the rebel-held sector of Syria’s largest city. The United States and its allies accuse Russia of deliberately targeting civilians. Moscow and Damascus say they only target terrorists. Russia joined the war a year ago, backing up its ally ...

Whether it’s your phone, your computer, TV, or even a refrigerator, all those connected devices that we depend on in our daily lives have become targets for an ever-growing cadre of cyber criminals.  The Cipher Brief spoke with two Flashpoint officials, Chief Scientist Lance James and Subject Matter Expert Vitali ...

The Russian economy has been in recession for nearly two years now, with GDP growth shrinking by 3.7 percent in 2015. However, as the recession continues and persistent low oil prices cut government revenues to the bone, military spending has remained almost immune to cuts, and the country has undertaken ...

The relationship between military spending and GDP growth in peacetime seems an easy equation. When a country’s economy is healthy and growing, it can splurge on fancy new equipment and a larger standing army. When growth has slumped and government revenues decline, that country should tighten its belt and focus ...

A group of high-level defense officials from Central and Eastern Europe and the United States on Wednesday warned of the threat of Russian aggression, discussing ideas to respond to the Kremlin’s moves in its neighborhood and beyond. At the 8th annual Center for European Policy Analysis Forum in Washington, D.C., ...

With a decline in U.S. global influence since the 2008 financial crisis, China’s emergence as an economic and increasingly political world power, and Russia striving to reassert its might, it's no longer possible to see issues in the black and white tones of the Cold War – grey is a better shade ...

A potential Trump Presidency provides both opportunities and challenges for Russia and President Vladimir Putin. Putin’s strategic goals are to weaken the U.S., diminish U.S. influence in Europe, solidify hard and soft control over the nations on Russia’s periphery, and eliminate economic sanctions. As a former KGB officer, Putin’s primary ...

The funeral for Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan’s president since the country’s independence in 1991, took place over the weekend. With no apparent successor, The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder talked with Richard Weitz about the threat of a power vacuum leading to instability and what that means for U.S. interests in the ...

Iran has deployed a Russian-made air defense system around its underground Fordow nuclear facility, state media reported this week. Given the timing of the announcement, it’s a move that can be seen as a political effort by the regime’s leadership to try to maintain an “atmosphere of alarm” domestically to ...

In the wake of a series of hacks against government and private networks, it is clear that Russia and China are among the most active and proficient nations in regards to cyber operations. One needs to only review the most high-profile breaches to see that many of them are believed ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Justin Harvey, CSO of Fidelis Cybersecurity, about the cyber threats posed by both China and Russia. According to Harvey, although last year’s agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping has resulted in a decrease in China’s cyber espionage, “The fight is ...

As the Syrian civil war progresses with no end in sight, Rob Richer, former Associate Deputy Director for Operations at the CIA and member of the Cipher Brief network, discussed recent developments in Syria. According to Richer, U.S. operations in Syria “will remain focused primarily on ISIS” at least until ...

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to Turkey on Wednesday marked the first time a senior White House official has called on the country’s president following last month’s failed coup.  Biden’s visit to Ankara was the Obama administration’s attempt at mending fences with a key partner in the fight against ...

Russia is back in the U.S. political spotlight in a way it hasn’t been since the Cold War. President Vladimir Putin is increasing Russia’s show of force around the globe – fanning the flames of the Syrian civil war as an ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, allegedly hacking the ...

Ukraine and Georgia have made clear their desires to become full members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in order to ensure their security. But it is precisely this aim that guarantees their insecurity. Russian President Vladimir Putin has made his red line very clear to both Ukraine and ...

In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia, after NATO allies at the Bucharest Summit made clear that Georgia and Ukraine should be offered membership in the future. Although Georgia remains outside of the alliance, partially due to worries of some NATO countries about provoking Russia again, Georgia still looks poised to be ...

In 2014, Russia illegally annexed Crimea, six years after the NATO summit in Bucharest – where members signaled that Ukraine and Georgia should be made NATO allies in the future – and immediately following then Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster, stemming from public upheaval over Yanukovych’s refusal to sign an ...

In an electoral season with no shortage of drama, the recent resignation of Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, brought even more scrutiny to Russia’s intense interest in the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Manafort’s past lobbying efforts for pro-Russian elements in Ukraine drew unwanted attention to a Trump campaign already ...

There is no question of the intense level of interest in Moscow in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election campaign.  For the first time in modern history, Russia faces the prospect of a U.S. president who does not come from the established political process in the U.S., and if elected, would ...

It is no secret that the Kremlin is not terribly enthused about the idea of a Hillary Clinton presidency. Russia’s alleged involvement in the computer hacks of the Democratic National Committee made that much clear. A quick look around Russian news sites – most of which are owned and controlled ...

Last week, the world learned of the unprecedented revelation that Russia was using Iran’s Hamadan military base to launch strikes into Syria. This week, that operation has already come to an end. Tehran announced Russia had stopped using its base. Moscow said it had completed its operation anyway. But it ...

An anonymous group this week dumped a cache of hacking tools allegedly linked to the National Security Agency (NSA) on the Internet, claiming it has another set of files for release to the highest bidder and raising speculation that Russia is behind yet another high-profile attack. Although questions continue to ...

Russia’s airstrikes into Syria from an Iranian air base mark a new phase in the relationship between the two countries. “Historically they’re not friends. They have been competitors, sometimes even rivals in the region. There’s a long history of rivalry in Central Asia,” says Anna Borshchevskaya, Ira Weiner fellow at ...

Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting this week in Russia, NATO issued a strong statement making clear it views Turkey as a “valued ally” whose membership is “not in question.” One day after Tuesday’s meeting in St. Petersburg — where the two leaders highlighted efforts ...

On July 15, the United States and Russia announced a tentative agreement on Syria which, according to media reports, would establish a joint command center staffed with military and intelligence officers who would initially exchange information on the al-Nusra Front —a terrorist organization that was affiliated with al Qaeda up ...

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, highlighting efforts to renew their strained relationship and indicating a joint effort to find common ground in the Syrian crisis is in the cards. The meeting — Erdogan’s first foreign visit following the failed July ...

With strong links suggesting Russian involvement in the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) email servers, the Kremlin’s efforts to disrupt and interfere in the West have once again come into the spotlight. But experts told The Cipher Brief that although this cyberattack fits into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wider ...

The FBI on Monday said it is investigating the hack involving the Democratic National Committee (DNC) after a cache of emails was leaked in advance of Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the Democratic Party’s nominee for President this week, an incident that has been linked by some to the Russian government.  ...

When it comes to cyber attacks, one of the biggest problems is correctly determining who, exactly, is attacking you. This is called attribution, and it is extremely difficult, since many sophisticated actors are capable of obscuring or destroying evidence as to who they are. The difficulty of attribution is compounded ...

Moving ahead with what President Barack Obama calls the “most significant reinforcement of our collective defense [at] any time since the Cold War,’’ NATO allies approved over the weekend upgrading and expanding their air, land, sea, and cyber capabilities to face unprecedented challenges coming from all directions — including from ...

Once defined by the catchphrase “Zero Problems with Neighbors,” the foreign policy of current Turkish President—and former Prime Minister—Recep Tayipp Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) used to be a model for measured neutrality in regional affairs. But that model began to crack in the lead up to ...

Tensions between Russia and NATO have escalated to near Cold War levels since Vladimir Putin's seizure of Crimea and ongoing support of separatists in the Ukraine. The U.S. and its allies have imposed stiff sanctions, and NATO plans to deploy four combat battalions to front line countries bordering Russia. In ...

On June 27, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey would be normalizing relations with Israel and Russia. This 180-degree policy shift came after his outreach to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two countries with which Ankara has squabbled over the Arab Spring and the Muslim Brotherhood. Now ...

We are in a season of terror attacks, and the odds are high they will increase over the short term. The principle drivers will be the so-called Islamic State and its various affiliates, as well as the still-dangerous al Qaeda, which is wounded but still capable of launching attacks. Worst ...

The three suicide bombers who carried out Tuesday’s deadly attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport have been identified by a Turkish official as citizens of Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, according to press reports. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack that killed at least 44 people and wounded hundreds more, ...

As global warming continues, the geography of the Arctic changes, and, subsequently, human activity in the Arctic increases.  Countries with economic and national security interests in the region need to develop new infrastructure and technology not just for land and sea, but also for space. “The entire planet is warming. ...

The reduction of sea ice in the Arctic has increased prospects for shipping to and from the Northwest Passage, development of offshore oil in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas, and migration of fish stocks from the Bering Sea to the Arctic Ocean. The legal and political regime of the Arctic ...

The Arctic is shifting, along with U.S. economic and strategic interests in the region. To respond to increasing temperatures and melting ice, the U.S. needs infrastructure and technology. But North America is largely behind the ball, compared to Russia and the Nordic countries. To explain the current U.S. position and ...

On Tuesday, it came to light that the Democratic National Convention’s (DNC) network had been breached by not one, but two different hacker groups that are believed to work for the Russian government. The Washington Post reported that one group - designated Cozy Bear – was likely working for the ...

The breach of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by hackers believed to be affiliated with the Russian government is raising concerns about foreign interference in the coming election. The Cipher Brief spoke to Michael Sulick, former Director of the National Clandestine Service at the CIA, about why the Russians would ...