MONDAY PDB – Drug Cartels Fire at Texas Guard Across Border, China and Russia Join Forces in Far East Against US, Americans and Afghans Evacuated from Kabul, Hybrid Carrier-Drone-Cruisers? Imperfect Case of Lt Col Scheller, Russia to Release Former US Marine Held as ‘Spy,’ Gas Stations in Space?

Chinese President Xi Jingping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet. / Photo by

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Today’s PDB includes a variety of critical national security issues.


Homeland Security

Coast Guard boards vessel that dragged anchor near pipeline. The U.S. Coast Guard boarded a container ship that dragged its anchor near to a Southern California undersea pipeline that was the source of an oil spill earlier this month.

Texas National Guard soldiers fired upon across border by suspected cartel gunmen, authorities say. The soldiers were in Roma, Texas when two shots were fired from across the border, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. No injuries were reported, and the Texas Rangers are investigating the incident.

Election and cyber experts warn lawmakers against online voting for overseas troops, citing security risks. Lawmakers should nix an effort in pending legislation that would pave the way for online voting for military troops stationed in remote areas, dozens of elections security experts told senators in a letter this week.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say constant finger-pointing between the Pentagon and State Department is making it difficult to get a full accounting of the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Americans among more than 350 passengers who departed Kabul on private evacuation flight Sunday. One of the largest evacuation flights departed Kabul on Sunday with an unknown number of Americans on board and is on its way to Doha, a senior Qatari government official tells CNN.

National Security

China, Russia launch joint naval drills in Russian Far East. China and Russia are united in opposing the dominant U.S. influence in global affairs.

China Threat

Navy kicks off second phase of multinational training in Bay of Bengal. Phase two of Exercise MALABAR 2021 kicked off Oct. 11 in the Bay of Bengal, with naval forces participating from Australia, Japan, India and the United States.

Explainer: China joins heated race for new missiles, vies with U.S., Russia. China reportedly tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle from a near-orbital trajectory in August, amid an intensifying race for the next generation of long-range weapons that are harder to detect and intercept.

Russia Threat

Russia scrambles fighter jet to escort U.S. military plane – TASS. A Russian MiG-31 fighter jet has been scrambled to escort a U.S. B-1B strategic bomber over the Sea of Japan, TASS news agency reported on Sunday citing the Russian military, just days after an incident with a U.S. naval destroyer in the same region.

Russian court to consider transfer of jailed ex-U.S. Marine Whelan to U.S. – TASS. A Russian court will consider a request next month to transfer former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, sentenced last year to 16 years in a Russian jail, to the United States, his lawyer told TASS news agency on Monday.

Iran Threat

Iraq’s election results put militias between rock and hard place. Political parties affiliated with Iraqi militias faced significant defeat, while their ally Nouri al-Maliki earned a remarkable victory.


Could half-carriers make a comeback in the drone era? The development of ever-more-capable drones, plus the perceived vulnerability of large aircraft carriers to the latest anti-ship missiles, has convinced at least one naval observer that hybrid drone carriers—combining the qualities of a flattop and a cruiser—are the warships of the future.

Air Force research lab signs agreement with ‘gas-stations-in-space’ company. The Air Force Research Laboratory signed a research agreement with a company pioneering orbital refueling stations for spacecraft, signaling the military’s interest in using the technology to keep satellites on orbit longer.

Pentagon Watch

Anger over Afghanistan and the imperfect example of Stu Scheller. Lt. Col. Stu Scheller, who has become a symbol in some military and political circles of a need for military accountability and reform, spent much of his time during his court-martial this week repeatedly admitting that the statements he made through social media posts were intentionally disrespectful.

Washington Watch

Ex-UK intel official who created controversial Trump Russia dossier speaks out. Former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, the man behind the “Steele Dossier” that claimed Russian officials held compromising information on former President Donald Trump, defended the claims made in the dossier in his first on-camera interview since it was revealed in 2017.



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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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