As President and CEO of Business Executives for National Security (BENS) I have interacted with some of America’s most innovative and entrepreneurial business leaders. These are individuals with diverse skillsets and experiences who are united in their belief that the private sector can play a meaningful role in ensuring our ...

On September 11, 2001, I was a newly-appointed SEAL platoon commander.  My platoon was on an urban warfare training trip in the south east United States when we received word that a plane had struck one of the twin towers.  We were literally reloading weapons, when one of our platoon-mates ...

President Barack Obama toured Alaska this week to bring more attention to the effects climate change has had on the Arctic region. President Obama, the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Arctic, addressed the U.S.’s role in climate change, saying “the United States recognizes our role in creating this ...

The whole of the warring nations are engaged, not only soldiers, but the entire population, men, women and children. The fronts are everywhere…the front line runs through the factories. —Prime Minister Winston Churchill (1940)  Addressing the House of Commons in 1940, Prime Minister Winston Churchill observed that in the new ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Suzanne Spaulding, the Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for the National Protection and Programs Directorate.  She shared her thoughts on areas of collaboration between the public and the private sector, and the ways DHS can help. The Cipher Brief: What is your role ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with Robert Cardillo, the Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.  He shared his thoughts on the public-private partnership and the future of NGA. The Cipher Brief: In today’s complex threat environment, how does the IC stay at the technology curve? How does it manage to ...

Cooperation between the U.S. government and private corporations is essential for building and maintaining an effective national security platform. Within the realm of security and defense, partnerships between the public and private sectors, often known as PPPs or P3s, are at the forefront of weapons manufacturing, cyber defense, intelligence assessments, ...

The rifts among Taliban factions had been growing for some time, bubbling up as the deception over their leader’s death continued. They boiled over last month - not by accident -  on the eve of a second round of peace talks, forcing the Taliban to acknowledge that its supreme commander ...

The Cipher Brief sat down with General Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), for a wide-ranging interview.  The general offered his thoughts on the future of Afghanistan. The Cipher Brief: Can the U.S. really withdraw completely from Afghanistan? Does it concern you? GEN McChrystal: I ...

During the 11 months of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s presidency, and despite the combination of a rapid Western pullout and an expanding Taliban insurgency, there had been, nonetheless, at least some small room for optimism.  After all, until a few days ago, Ghani appeared to have established a genuine rapprochement ...

For the past several years, the Obama administration’s strategy for Afghanistan has rested on the basic assumption that although no reasonable amount of U.S. money or troops could win the war against the Taliban outright, a limited American commitment to Afghanistan’s security forces and government would enable Kabul to hold ...

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack shocked the U.S., exposing the vulnerability of the U.S. government to cyber attack.  After thieves took the personal data of more than 20 million federal employees, what did we learn? 1. IT isn’t a priority until something goes wrong. OPM received several warnings from ...

The White House has reached an agreement with Iran to suspend its nuclear weapons program in exchange for sanctions relief. Congress now has 60 days to weigh in on the deal.  This morning, the House Foreign Affairs Committee is holding a hearing on the implications of the agreement. The Cipher ...

A recent opinion piece in the Washington Post suggests that the major political parties and their prospective presidential candidates ought to be thinking about transition planning today, even in advance of the nominating conventions. Wise counsel, but that is not all that should be considered before the next election cycle ...