Tuesday PDB – Pentagon Definition of Extremism Coming Soon, Littoral Combat Ships Armed Up to Face China, Can Taiwan Defend Itself? Russia Pushes More Cyber Ops, Iranian Drones Attacked US Base in Syria, Sudan Coup Stops US Military Aid, Air Force Professor Working for China?

ARABIAN SEA (Feb. 16, 2012) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) transits the Strait of Hormuz. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class John Grandin/Released)

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


Pentagon Watch

POLITICIZED? A Pentagon definition for extremism is imminent. The Countering Extremism Working Group report was due in July.

DANGEROUS PRECEDENT? Judge to sentence neo-Nazi group members, including US Army veteran, under terrorism law. Prosecutors recommended U.S. Army veteran Brian Mark Lemley Jr. and Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Jordan Mathews both get 25 years in prison. Separate sentencing hearings are scheduled for Thursday.

Pentagon asked if US service members are ‘unfit for service’ if they’re not vaccinated. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby addresses vaccine mandates for military members.

Washington Watch

Senate dodges US debt disaster, voting to extend borrowing. The Senate dodged a U.S. debt disaster Thursday night, voting to extend the government’s borrowing authority into December and temporarily avert an unprecedented federal default that experts warned would devastate the economy and harm millions of Americans.

National Security

US National Security Advisor met representatives of Myanmar’s shadow government. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met on Monday with representatives of Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), set up by opponents of army rule, the White House said late on Monday.

Homeland Security

SURPRISE? Air Force college professor admits concealing Chinese contacts. Xiaoming Zhang faces up to five years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Isis-K insurgency jeopardises Taliban’s grip on Afghanistan. US troops might have departed but the new Islamist rulers in Kabul are now threatened by an insurgency launched by Islamic State-Khorasan Province, an Isis-inspired jihadi movement that has deep ideological differences with the Taliban.

China Threat

The US Navy wants to keep four of its troubled littoral combat ships near China. Three are already there. The U.S. Navy finally is deploying its controversial, near-shore Littoral Combat Ships in meaningful numbers where it matters—in the crowded, contested waters of the western Pacific Ocean. And it’s giving the deployed ships some of the weapons they would need actually to fight and survive in a clash with the Chinese fleet.

Does Taiwan’s military stand a chance against China? Few think so. Poor preparation and low morale are pressing concerns for Taiwan’s armed forces. One conscript said his basic training mainly involved sweeping leaves, moving spare tires and pulling weeds.

Russia Threat

Pentagon spotlights the Black Sea, but plans for confronting Russia remain murky. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s trip to the region renewed focus on the volatile front between Russia and the West, but so far the Biden administration has offered no new strategies for contending with Moscow’s mounting aggression.

Ignoring sanctions, Russia renews broad cybersurveillance operation. Russia’s premier intelligence agency has launched another campaign to pierce thousands of U.S. government, corporate and think-tank computer networks, Microsoft officials and cybersecurity experts warned on Sunday, only months after President Biden imposed sanctions on Moscow in response to a series of sophisticated spy operations it had conducted around the world.

Iran Threat

Officials: Iran behind drone attack on US base in Syria. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to say if troops were warned ahead of time or whether the U.S. intends to make a military response.


Turkish president steps back from expulsions of 10 western diplomats. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey stepped back on Monday from a threat to expel 10 Western ambassadors, averting a diplomatic storm that analysts and diplomats were warning would bring economic disaster upon Turkey and a lasting rupture in the NATO alliance.


Sudan’s military seizes power, casting democratic transition into chaos. Civilian and military leaders were supposed to share power after a popular uprising in 2019 overthrew a decades-long dictatorship. On Monday the military detained the civilian prime minister.

US cuts off $700 million in aid to Sudan amid military coup. The United States cut off $700 million in emergency assistance to Sudan on Monday, hours after military officials arrested Sudan’s civilian government leaders, fired at protesters and imperiled the country’s nascent transition to democracy.


Marines test ‘backpackable’ electronic warfare system on drone in Coral Sea. Marines aboard the USS New Orleans have launched a portable, electronic-warfare system on drones for the first time at sea, according to the Marine Corps.



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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.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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