President Barack Obama talks with Pope Francis following his private audience at the Vatican, March 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

WASHINGTON: The Vatican remains one of the world’s great powers. Pope Francis can’t deploy divisions, so Stalin might dismiss him and his organization. However, I’ve never forgotten a comment by Doug Simon, one of my Drew University political science professors at a semester I spent studying the United Nations. “Who do you think has the best intelligence organization in… Keep reading →


When Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work unveiled what we are now, unfortunately, calling the JICSPOC, there were many many questions and few answers. Among the most important questions was: if spy and military satellites are being flown and monitored from the same place and a satellite appears to be under attack, who will command — the Intelligence… Keep reading →


Canada-based Bombardier joined the Lockheed-Raytheon team to build a replacement for the aging JSTARS (Joint Surveillance Targeting and Attack Radar System) aircraft during the Paris Air Show. Northrop Grumman, announced the week before that it would team with General Dynamics, Gulfstream, and L-3. Boeing is going big, with a 737. The Air Force recently announced the first JSTARS contracts, and… Keep reading →

DNI JAmes Clapper at NSS 2014

GEOINT: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper identified China today as “the leading suspect” in the two sweeping hacks of the Office of Personnel Management, one day after NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers dodged the issue. In Clapper’s first answer to a question about who is responsible for the OPM hacks, he laid the blame squarely on China. “On the… Keep reading →


GEOINT: For the first time, all the nation’s spy satellites and the military’s satellites will be tracked from a single   location, allowing the two communities to develop tactics, techniques and procedures together, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work said here today. “But the thing we need most is s space operations center, and we are… Keep reading →

Chinese artificial island landing strip

WASHINGTON: What began with a tiny artificial island built by China to stake a concrete claim in the South China Sea is fast on its way to becoming 600 acres of at least seven islands spread across the South China Sea. One of the most impressive is so-called Fiery Cross Island, the permanent structure above complete with… Keep reading →


The Chinese just walked out of Anthem’s enormous data warehouse (though without encrypting their data it might as well have been a troop of Girl Scouts) with personal data on a quarter of America’s population. Assuming that the pro forma outrage and denial is a confirmation of culpability, the People’s Liberation Army and its various subsidiaries will… Keep reading →

WASHINGTON: There’s no one thing that keeps the Pentagon’s chief of intelligence up at night. There’s half-a-dozen things — terrorism, cybersecurity, Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China — but Mike Vickers has a six-point plan to counter them. “The big challenge we face is really in the aggregation of challenges,” the under secretary for intelligence… Keep reading →

Special Operations night Afghanistan

ARLINGTON: “We have, in my view, exquisite capabilities to kill people,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Cleveland. “We need exquisite capabilities to manipulate them.” Psychological subtlety and the US military don’t always go hand-in-hand. Worldwide, we’ve become better known for drone strikes and Special Operations raids to kill High Value Targets. But that wasn’t enough for the last 13… Keep reading →

Adm. Murrett hands over to Letitia Long NGA

NGA HEADQUARTERS: It’s not often defense reporters listen to a beautifully restrained brass quintet while working. But Tish Long, the outgoing director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, brought that kind of glamor to the increasingly crucial NGA, so we did get to listen to a unique and pleasing rendition of God Bless America, among other… Keep reading →

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