MONDAY PDB – DoD Rattled by China’s Growing Threat, Biden Quietly Playing Nice with Putin, COVID Lab Leak Most Likely, Former Afghan Allies Join ISIS to Fight Taliban, US and Indian Forces Train in Alaska, First Woman General Commands US SOUTHCOM, Afghanistan’s Growing Terror Threat, DOD ‘Climate Czar’

President Joe Biden / Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America

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


Pentagon Watch

A REAL WOMAN – Southcom welcomes Army general as its first woman leader. Laura Richardson, 57, took over Friday at U.S. Southern Command, headquartered in Doral. The command is responsible for the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Pentagon may not immediately fire vaccine resisters. Facing criticism that mandates for coronavirus vaccinations could force the Defense Department to fire thousands of civilians, contractors and troops, the Biden administration is signaling that vaccine resisters may get more time to comply.

SERIOUSLY? Pentagon will add a climate-policy czar. The Pentagon will reorganize its policy shop to elevate the mission of combating and responding to climate change, the department’s policy chief said Friday.

National Security

US and Indian soldiers met for a mock UN mission, counter-drone and high-altitude training. U.S. Army Alaska’s bilateral exercise with the Indian Army, dubbed Yudh Abhyas, drew to a close Friday after two weeks of cold weather warfare training and a mock United Nations mission centered around a country torn between rival factions.

Intelligence agencies elaborate on theories of COVID-19 origins. U.S. intelligence agencies on Friday offered their most detailed explanations to date about the possible origins of the coronavirus that spawned the covid-19 pandemic, including why some analysts think an accident in a lab may be the most plausible source.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Appeal for CIA, DoD clandestine ops to rescue Afghan allies. Retired Green Beret Lt. Col. Scott Mann says President Biden should authorize the CIA and Pentagon to rescue “tens of thousands” of former Afghan special operation troops who are being hunted down by Taliban hit teams armed with payroll records and biometric data left behind during the chaotic U.S. evacuation last August.

Pentagon officials, unable to secure basing near Afghanistan, warn of terrorist threat. The United States hasn’t reached any agreements with Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan for bases or other facilities to use in counterterrorism operations there against the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, senior defense officials said Tuesday.

Former Afghan spies and soldiers turn to ISIS after US exit. Hunted by the Taliban and lacking income, some members of Afghanistan’s disbanded security forces are enlisting in the only force currently challenging the country’s new rules.

China Threat

Pentagon rattled by Chinese military push on multiple fronts. China’s growing military muscle and its drive to end America’s predominance in the Asia-Pacific is rattling the U.S. defense establishment. American officials see trouble quickly accumulating on multiple fronts — Beijing’s expanding nuclear arsenal, its advances in space, cyber and missile technologies, and threats to Taiwan.

New variants of Chinese stealth fighters break cover. Two new variants of China’s stealth fighters have broken cover in the past three days, including China’s next carrier-based fighter, hinted at during a recent air show.

China could invade Taiwan ‘soon,’ says former Australian PM Abbott. A former Australian prime minister said Friday he thinks China could “soon” invade Taiwan or otherwise escalate the situation and that the West should now be planning its military and economic response.

Russia Threat

Rivals on world stage, Russia and US quietly seek areas of accord. There have been a series of beneath-the-surface meetings between the two countries as the Biden administration applies a more sober approach to relations with the Kremlin.

Iran Threat

American B-1B bomber flies over Mideast amid Iran tensions. Fighter jets from Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia flew alongside the bomber.

Iran says Israel, US likely behind cyberattack on gas stations. Iran’s civil defence chief on Saturday accused Israel and the United States of being the likely culprits behind a cyberattack which disrupted gasoline sales across the Islamic Republic, but said a technical investigation was yet to be completed.

South America

Brazilian police kill 25 people in warlike operation against criminal group. Brazilian police killed at least 25 people in a warlike operation against a heavily armed criminal gang on Sunday, marking a violent escalation in the country’s ongoing struggle against sophisticated criminal groups staging elaborate bank heists in southern Brazil.


Hypersonic missile defense is a job for the Space Force. However, America’s ballistic missile defenses are still inadequate to stop a determined nuclear strike on the American homeland. At best, it will ward off an attack by a rogue country such as North Korea or Iran.



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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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