Rogers Statement on The Trump Transition Team

November 15, 2016


Washington, D.C. – “These past six months, it has been an honor to serve as National Security Senior Advisor to the Trump transition team.

It was a privilege to prepare and advise the policy, personnel and agency action teams on all aspects of the national security portfolio during the initial pre-election planning phase.  Our work will provide a strong foundation for the new transition team leadership as they move into the post-election phase, which naturally is incorporating the campaign team in New York who drove President-elect Trump to an incredible victory last Tuesday.

I was proud of the team that we assembled at Trump for America to produce meaningful policy, personnel, and agency action guidance on the complex national security challenges facing our great country.

My team and I are pleased to hand off our work to my friend and former colleague, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Executive Director Rick Dearborn, the Trump family, and the stellar new leadership team.

America’s challenges domestically and overseas are so enormous that we needed to move in a drastically different direction for our country.  The American people felt that, and made a historic choice that shocked the political and media establishment.  It was my pleasure to take to the national television and radio airwaves to highlight the stark choice between the bold change represented by President-elect Trump and the dangerous status quo represented by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

I look forward to continuing to provide advice and counsel as needed to the incoming Trump administration as they work to make America great again.”

Editor’s Note: The Honorable Mike Rogers formerly served as a United States Army officer, an FBI special agent and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.  He is currently a CNN National Security Commentator and Host and Executive Producer of Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies


Can Special Forces defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq?

November 11, 2016


by Mike Rogers

(CNN) President Obama said his current strategy on ISIS is working and that the death of 129 people in Paris is a “setback.” He also said ISIS is contained, despite ISIS claiming credit for the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt, the death of dozens in a bombing in Beirut, and the other 31 successful global attacks by ISIS and its affiliates this year.

The recent announcement by the White House that not more than 50 special operations forces will be dispatched to help coordinate the fight against ISIS was heralded by some as evidence of the administration’s seriousness on the issue. As CNN reported, this represented “the most significant escalation of the American military campaign against [ISIS].” Unfortunately, enthusiasm must be tempered by reality. Though it was a very small step in the right direction, it does not represent a grand strategy.

Time after time, military advisers have said special operations forces are not a cure-all. And we have bombed ISIS in Syria for over a year, yet three of their deadliest attacks have happened in the last three weeks.

To understand how special operations forces are properly used, and where they can be successful, it’s necessary to rewind the clock and examine Iraq at the peak of special operations-led actions there in the mid-2000s.

Under Gen. Stanley McChrystal, U.S. Joint Special Operations Command developed a system that linked forceful action with immediate processing of intelligence and real time analysis. Special operators launched missions at dusk and continued all night; hitting one safe house after another, analyzing the information gained in one strike and launching subsequent raids based on what they found, in hours.

How was this operational tempo achieved? First, the United States was working with the full support, consent and backing of the elected Iraqi government. The U.S. dominated the battle space, there was relatively sizable local support, and these teams enjoyed full air support, including medical evacuation, in the event an operation went poorly.

Similar conditions in Syria do not exist — Bashar al-Assad’s government forces represent a threat, and are not supportive of any foreign intervention except for that of Russia and Iran, and the United States does not dominate the battle space.

Where ISIS operates, it operates with near impunity. While there is often local hatred of Assad or ISIS, much of the allied ground support in the region actually comes from Kurds, not Sunni Muslim Syrian locals.

So if a similar operational tempo is not an option in Syria, and major Syrian domestic support is unlikely to emerge, what can the special operations forces achieve?

The administration said these troops are intended to advise and train local forces — Syrian Arabs, Kurds and other groups. Teams may be able to launch limited strikes against high-value targets in Iraq and Syria, and augment these Syria- and Iraq-based forces during their raids. It is likely these troops will also act as forward air controllers and observers, directing strikes launched from Turkey and elsewhere against ISIS positions.

Will this be enough to defeat ISIS? It’s a start, but it is unlikely. We have been sporadically bombing Raqqa and other ISIS strong points for more than a year, and still ISIS has recently ramped up external attacks. To a large extent, relying on proxy forces presents us with quality control problems as well as divergent long-term interests.

Tactical successes, such as snatching an ISIS oil minister or engaging in airstrikes, will not be enough if they are not translated into operational momentum paired with an overarching plan. A minimal number of special operations forces can achieve a great deal but they are incapable of achieving strategic success. Like airstrikes, they are tools that are supposed to be used in executing a strategy, but they are not a strategy in and of themselves.

Special forces committed to the fight must be accompanied by better on-the-ground intelligence operations, combined with constant targeting and degradation of ISIS leadership, and a more robust disruption of the ISIS logistics chain, executed simultaneously in Iraq and Syria.

Read full piece at here:

Editorial: WikiLeaks sounds alarm about cybersecurity

October 24, 2016

October 22, 2016 By The Detroit News

The WikiLeaks dumps of Hillary Clinton campaign emails have ranged from titillating insider gossip to more disturbing revelations about the abuse of influence. For her opponents, they’ve been something of a treasure.

But beyond partisan politics, everyone should be concerned by what the leaks say about the holes in American cybersecurity and the shifting rules of engagement with Russia.

Ultimately, cybersecurity is a huge concern for the majority of people. For example, we all use Bluetooth enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, and even sex toys nowadays.

However, it is no secret that these devices can be compromised and accessed by hackers with malicious intent. For instance, if appropriate cybersecurity measures are not taken, a hacker can easily access private information or even control someone’s toy remotely.

Understandably, hacking and online privacy issues are going to be with us for the foreseeable future.

With this in mind, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is allied with Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, and U.S. intelligence agencies widely believe it was the Russians who hacked into Clinton campaign accounts.

That amounts to a nation state using the power of its intelligence apparatus to influence an American election.

And that’s scary stuff, particularly if Putin takes it to the next level of disrupting voting and vote counts.

“They can’t do it wholesale,” says former Congressman Mike Rogers, a Brighton Republican who now hosts a TV show and consults with cybersecurity startups. “But if they can create enough doubt in the integrity of an election, they can cause a problem.

“They don’t want one candidate over another. They want confusion.”

Rogers sees in the WikiLeaks a “big and dangerous” change in Russian policy. Previously, the Russians behaved rationally toward the United States, he says; meddling in elections brings unpredictability to the relationship.

“Messing with the U.S. political system is not the attitude of a rational actor,” Rogers says. “This tells me they’re pushing the envelope.”

For decades, Russia has meddled in elections in Latin American and Eastern Block nations. But it has not dared to do so in this country.

The Russians are our technological rival, with sophisticated cyber ability. If they get serious about this game, they could cut off power to parts of the country, create chaos in financial institutions and ruin the credibility of elections.

Vice President Joe Biden made the mistake of warning the Central Intelligence Agency is planning a “covert” response to Russia’s hacking. It would have been much more covert had Biden not blabbed about it, and compromised CIA deniability to boot.

Still, the United States must respond. And it must do more to protect itself by finding ways to keep Russia and others out of our networks.

The National Security Agency is shackled by a public worried that it would turn its cyber eye on average citizens. It now needs more freedom to catch hacking attempts overseas. That requires the ability to share in real-time evidence of malicious source coding and other suspicious activity.

Currently, it takes four days to get the information through Homeland Security, in most cases. By that time it’s often too late to stop a hack.

The NSA also must be able to work more cooperatively with the private sector, which controls 85 percent of the computer networks. Most of those private networks, Rogers says, are vulnerable to hacking.

“We know the Russians’ capability, because they’ve already done these things elsewhere,” Rogers says. “We are not ready for it here. Politically or policy-wise, we are not ready.”

Now that Putin has demonstrated a willingness to disrupt America’s sacred democratic process, we need to get ready, and quickly.

Cybersecurity chief supports splitting role with NSA, but in the right way

October 19, 2016

October 18, 2016 By Jacqueline Klimas

Splitting leadership of U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency into two separate roles is the right thing to do, according to the man who currently heads both of them.

But while that might be true, Adm. Mike Rogers on Tuesday said the administration and lawmakers should look at how to do it at the right time and in the right way.

“My position has always been it’s the right thing to do in the wrong way,” Rogers said at FedScoop’s FedTalks 2016. “The challenge in my mind is what’s the right time? What’s the right process? So that we do it in the right way.”

The NSA and Cyber Command were put under one leader to allow the brand-new cybersecurity agency to use the progress already made by the intel organization. Six years later, the admiral said it’s time to step up and reevaluate if assumptions that were made at Cyber Command’s beginning are still accurate or if the threat environment is different.

“It’s a sign of CYBERCOM’s maturation that we’re even having this conversation,” the admiral said.

Former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said he has “been going back and forth on this issue” and what the right path forward is. The question of splitting the position into two began because people questioned the link between an organization with an offensive and defensive military goal and a civilian intelligence organization, as well as issues of sharing resources.

“Would that make both organizations more effective? The only thing I worry about is, now does Adm. Rogers have to talk to Director X at NSA to perform the same function he does today,” the former congressman said.

Last month, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, promised to block the administration from splitting the job between two people.

“I do not believe rushing to separate the dual hat in the final months of an administration is appropriate given the very serious challenges we face in cyberspace and the failure of this admin to develop an effective deterrence policy,” McCain said at a September hearing. “Therefore if a decision is prematurely made to separate NSA and Cyber Command, I will object to the confirmation of any individual nominated by the president to replace the director of the National Security Administration if that person is not also nominated to be the commander of Cyber Command.”!

Donald Dixon’s latest tour of duty: Helping veterans find jobs

October 10, 2016

By Mark Boslet

Donald Dixon is a co-founder of Trident Capital Cybersecurity, a managing director at the firm and a long-time booster of the United States Marine Corps.

So much so that when he noticed military veterans having a tough time finding civilian jobs after their tours of duty, he sprang to attention, convincing the U.S. Congress to pass legislation aimed at helping ex-military secure employment.

Not the typical mission for a venture capitalist.

Dixon served in the Navy from 1969 to 1972, finding himself as an engineering officer stationed on a destroyer during the Vietnam War.

His sons followed suit and joined the Marines. Peter Dixon served for eight years with tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Andrew Dixon spent four years with a tour in Afghanistan. Both are captains now in the reserves.

When asked what motivates him, the elder Dixon has a simple answer: “Patriotism.” But it is more than that. It was the ability to use technology to solve a social problem in the 21st century.

Dixon said he became aware of the jobs gap when son Peter had a difficult time locking down a post-duty position three years ago when he left the military.

“It wasn’t easy for him,” Dixon said. “He had a hard time getting a job.”

So he began looking at the issue with all the due diligence of a new investment, examining Department of Labor stats. His research uncovered that veterans are 50 percent more likely to be unemployed over time.

To Dixon’s surprise, the biggest problem veteran employment reps nationwide have is finding contact information on discharged vets. Part of the problem is form DD 214, the papers that military service members fill out upon departure. Vets don’t receive DD 214 until eight to 12 months after leaving the service. And the form doesn’t include a mobile phone number or an e-mail address. It includes space for a physical address, but many service members don’t know where they are living when they are discharged.

“It was obvious to me that what they needed on that DD 214 was the transitioning veteran’s mobile phone number and e-mail address,” he said. “That is the home address of the millennial.”

So Dixon called the officer at the Pentagon responsible for DD 214 to ask if the form could include a phone number and e-mail address. The answer was “no” since the change wasn’t required by law.

Dixon then put an Act of Congress on his to-do list.

Call it now a “done” list.

Working with former Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan and Rep. Jeff Miller, Dixon helped create legislation authorizing a pilot program voluntarily capturing e-mail and mobile phone numbers attached to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act.

He didn’t stop there. He helped create a jobs website for veterans, sponsored by Trident Capital.

Maybe now the path from active duty to active employment will be easier to follow.

As Cybersecurity Threat Grows, Space Is the New Frontier

September 9, 2016

By Silvestre Reyes & Mike Rogers
September 06, 2016

The recent hacking of the Democratic National Committee may have made for political drama, and even the departure of the committee’s Chairwoman, but it also raised serious concerns about foreign powers seeking to influence our elections through malicious cyber activity. The most likely suspect is Russia. During his time in power, Russian President Vladimir Putin has implemented a formidable state and state-sponsored cyber espionage and online disinformation apparatus.

But hacking is not only effective in uncovering political dirt; it could just as easily endanger Americans in a very physical sense. Consider if you were traveling on a commercial airplane, 30,000 feet above the ground, and all the sudden the captain of your flight announces that your aircraft will have to make an emergency landing because the aircraft’s Global Positioning System (GPS) has been jammed. Your flight has been compromised and your captain can no longer use modern navigational methods. The culprit for the jamming could be a country like Russia, a rogue state like North Korea, or even a terrorist organization like ISIS.

Fortunately, an aircraft’s GPS being compromised has yet to be a reality for airplanes around O’Hare Airport, or anywhere else in the U.S. However, it is not unrealistic to think that a rogue nation would use a critical but vulnerable system like GPS as a weapon or a way to intimidate the West.

Though our nation’s GPS began as classified military technology decades ago, it has since become a vital resource to the everyday American. Still operated and maintained by the Department of Defense, the system is in need of repair and modernization—more specifically cyber hardening, to ensure our enemies and criminal actors cannot intercept, infiltrate or jam the many critical functions that rely on GPS technology.

On the civilian side, GPS has almost countless functions such as helping to plot commercial shipping routes, tracking packages on Amazon, wiring money and finding the nearest Starbucks or gas station. Every time you use your smartphone to help you get directions, you are relying on GPS.

For our military, GPS is critical to security and accuracy of functions from locating enemy combatants to ensuring the accuracy of air strikes to avoid civilian casualties.

Despite how critical GPS is to the United States, we’ve known that our GPS systems have been out of date for quite some time. That’s why within the last decade the Department of Defense began overhauling and upgrading the entire system. In 2009, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report warned that our GPS system was close to a breakdown, stressing the urgent need to modernize its infrastructure.

Fortunately, a two-part fix is underway. By upgrading our nation’s GPS satellites (GPS III) and the ground systems (GPS OCX), we’re not only improving the system’s strength, longevity, and accuracy but also hardening the system against cyber attacks from foreign adversaries, terrorists, and criminal enterprises.

Unfortunately, the progress to develop and implement these complex upgrades has been increasingly delayed and costly. As former stewards of taxpayers’ dollars, that is also cause for concern. However, milestones have been made and the program is on track to be deployed by 2021. In order to keep that time schedule, it is critical the GPS upgrade has continued support from Congress.

Today, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill consider defense funding and policy decisions, the future of our GPS satellite and ground system upgrade is unclear—while the House fully supports this modernization, the Senate is calling for funding to be reevaluated based on developmental progress, or cut entirely.

While we understand reaching consensus between the House and the Senate can be challenging —nowhere is this more important than when it comes to our national defense. Failure to do so will jeopardize the safety of all Americans, put our military superiority at risk and increase the likelihood that terrorists, criminals or enemy nations will use our GPS vulnerabilities against us.

The Honorable Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat, is a consultant in El Paso and is a past chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The Honorable Mike Rogers, a Republican, is host of the nationally syndicated Westwood One radio commentary “Something to Think About,” a CNN national security commentator, and is the past chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Ex-Rep. Rogers aims to demystify spying with CNN show

June 21, 2016

Former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers has been an FBI agent, state senator, chairman of the powerful U.S. House Intelligence Committee and a syndicated radio commentator.

Now the Howell native is adding television producer and host to his resume.

Rogers’ new show, “Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies,” debuts Sunday night at 10 p.m. on CNN.

The eight-part series will feature the stories of former spies with the Central Intelligence Agency who were stationed abroad, keeping close tabs on foreign countries for American interests.

Read the full story here:

Hollywood gets Snowden wrong

June 13, 2016

By Mike Rogers and Rebeccah L. Heinrichs

Speaking to CNN’s David Axelrod on a recent podcast, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder made waves by suggesting that in leaking classified intelligence documents, Edward Snowden “actually performed a public service by raising the debate” about surveillance techniques.

Though he was also quick to emphasize that Snowden should face consequences for his illegal actions, Holder’s comments come at a time when the conversation around Snowden is poised to shift — in the wrong direction. The trailer for a new movie from Oliver Stone called “Snowden” foreshadows a tale of an American hero who risked everything for the sake of the U.S. Constitution and the Fourth Amendment protections of his fellow citizens. The villain, in typical Hollywood fashion, appears to be the U.S. government and its supposedly immoral and predatory National Security Agency.

Portraying the actions of Snowden and the U.S. government in this way is both outrageously counterfactual and utterly shameful. Before Americans use the trailer to decide whether to pay to watch “Snowden,” they should revisit the facts surrounding his security breaches, as well as the events that directly followed and continue to this day.

Read the full piece on

ICYMI Mike Rogers will host “Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies” on CNN

May 31, 2016

Watch the trailer by clicking on the image above. 

DECLASSIFIED will air Sundays at 10:00 p.m. beginning on June 19.