"This aggressiveness was evident in Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 USA election and we assess that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized the 2016 USA election-focused data thefts and disclosures, based on the scope and sensitivity of the targets", Coats wrote in his statement.
Iran continues to make critical technological strides in its efforts to ideal an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering nuclear weapons over great distances, efforts that violate global prohibitions, according to the director of national intelligence, who informed Congress this week that the Islamic Republic "would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons". Among those options is one to reportedly send between 3,000 and 5,000 USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops to the country to participate in the training of the Afghan security forces. Coats declined to provide such details in an open hearing.
China is also targeting the US government and American businesses, Coats said, though he said such activity has diminished since a 2015 U.S.
And North Korea's statements that it needs nuclear weapons to survive suggest that Kim "does not intend to negotiate them away at any price", Coats said at a Senate intelligence hearing on worldwide threats. "The Taliban are likely to continue to make gains, especially in rural areas", said the U.S. spy chief, adding that efforts to bolster local military have been less fruitful than hoped.
In addition, Coats said that "Russia is likely to be more aggressive in global affairs, more unpredictable in its approach to the USA".
"Afghanistan will struggle to curb its dependence on external support until it contains the insurgency or reaches a peace agreement with the Taliban", Coats told lawmakers in presenting an annual assessment of threats to U.S. national security.
Helicopter warns California paddleboarders they're next to sharks
Most of the white sharks we have in Southern California are juveniles - less than 10-12 feet. Cameron Abel, with the Long Beach Fire Department's Marine Safety Division.
Calling North Korea "an increasingly grave national security threat" to the US, Coats said Pyongyang had taken "initial steps" toward fielding a mobile intercontinental ballistic missile, Xinhua news agency reported.
Coats said Russia, China, North Korea and Iran are using cyberspace to target USA and its allies and will do so in the future. The performance of Afghan national security forces will worsen due to weak military leadership, desertions and combat casualties, he predicted. He recommended that USA forces train with Afghan forces down the chain of command to the corps level, and that the Afghan security forces learn to make better use of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) and air support.
Coats testimony was part of a list that included the interim Federal Bureau of Investigation director, Andrew McCabe, who spoke in lieu of his fired former boss, James Comey.
"Kabul's political dysfunction and ineffectiveness will nearly certainly be the greatest vulnerability to stability in 2017", he wrote.
'We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them'.
Sunni extremists remain the primary terrorist threat to the USA, with home-grown actors posing the biggest concern.