FRIDAY PDB – RUSSIA THREAT: Baltics, Black Sea and Nordic Region, Taliban Repression, Lawmakers Furious at Team Biden on Afghanistan, India and QUAD Challenge China, China Bullies Taiwan with Even More Jet Fighter Incursions, What’s Up with Biden, DOD and Nukes?

Russian: Russian President Vladimir Putin during a joint press conference with President of Moldova Igor Dodon /

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Today’s EXTENDED RUSSIA THREAT EDITION PDB includes a variety of critical national security issues.


Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Lawmakers storm out of classified Afghanistan briefing after questions go unanswered. Multiple lawmakers angrily stormed out of a classified briefing with members of the Biden administration on Afghanistan on Wednesday morning, according to three sources familiar with the briefing.

In Afghanistan’s ‘moment of reckoning,’ the Taliban lead a harsher-than-promised crackdown. In a report released Monday, Amnesty International warned that while the Taliban “have attempted to portray to the world that they will respect human rights … the ground reality is far from this.”

U.S. fallout over Kabul drone strike grows with plans for multiple probes. A senior U.S. Democrat said on Thursday that multiple congressional committees will investigate a drone strike that killed 10 Afghan civilians last month, to determine what went wrong and answer questions about future counterterrorism strategy.

Homeland Security

House votes down amendment to limit transfer of military equipment to police. The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), aimed to reform the Pentagon’s 1033 program.

National Security

Biden’s nuclear agenda in trouble as Pentagon hawks attack. The ouster of Leonor Tomero, who questioned the status quo on nuclear weapons, signals the Biden administration’s ambitious agenda to overhaul America’s nuclear policy might be in trouble.

China Threat

TRUMP STARTED THIS: US-China policy: Biden is bringing together Japan, Australia and India to stare down China. US President Joe Biden is holding the first in-person meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, better known as “the Quad,” an informal strategic forum of the United States, Australia, Japan and India — all democratic countries with a vested interest in countering China’s rise in Asia.

India military accelerates historic overhaul to counter China. A long-delayed plan to integrate India’s armed forces would allow for greater cooperation with the U.S. and its allies.

Taiwan jets scramble again as China air force enters air defense zone. Taiwan’s air force scrambled again on Thursday to warn off 19 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, the latest uptick in tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

Russia Threat

Milley: US should explore more military talks with Russia. The U.S. should explore ways to expand its military contacts with the Russians, potentially to include allowing observers from each country to watch the other’s combat exercises, in a broad effort to increase transparency and reduce the risk of conflict, the top U.S. military officer said Thursday.

Russian navy practices striking Black Sea targets as Ukraine, U.S. hold drills. Russia’s navy practiced firing at targets in the Black Sea off the coast of annexed Crimea using its Bastion coastal missile defense system, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday as Ukraine held joint military drills with the United States.

Sweden progresses with two complementary strategies to deter an invasion. A sharp increase in Sweden’s defense budget allocation will enable its military to move forward with implementing all core parts of the government’s “Total Defense 2021-2025″ plan.

U.S., Lithuania keep ‘close’ watch on Russia-Belarus training centre, general says. The top U.S. Army general in Europe said on Thursday the United States and Lithuania would work to preserve the continent’s peace “no matter who positions what, where”, after Belarus and Russia held war games and set up a military training center.

Russian plane enters NATO member Estonia’s airspace for 6th time this year. The alleged intrusion took place at noon Wednesday as the Beriev A-50 plane entered Estonia’s airspace near the Baltic Sea island of Vaindloo and stayed there for less than one minute, Estonia’s military said in a statement.

North Korea

BAD IDEA – Pentagon ‘open to discussion’ that ties formal end of Korean War to denuclearization. The United States is open to discussing the possibility of formally ending the Korean War in an effort to achieve “the complete denuclearization of the peninsula,” the Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

Iran Threat

Iran ups pressure on Kurdish rebels. Iran is threatening to expand a bombing campaign targeting rebels in border villages of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, saying Iraqi Kurdish authorities must expel the rebels or the offensive will broaden.


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Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - - PAULCRESPO.COM

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