WEDNESDAY PDB – Global Terror Spreading, Biden Signaling American Weakness, US Needs New Strategy for China, US-Israel vs Iran, New War in Balkans? CIA Chief Visits Moscow, Feds Want Harsher Sentences for Vets at Capitol Riot

A Marine with Bravo Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, provides cover fire during a raid training scenario at the Operations in Urban Terrain training facility aboard Camp Lejeune, Dec. 18. The Marines were inserted on Camp Lejeune from amphibious ships of Amphibious Squadron 8 positioned 3-5 miles off the coast of North Carolina with the task of assaulting an enemy position inland. / (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Richard Blumenstein)

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

READ TODAY’S PDB BELOW:

Pentagon Watch

UNJUST? Feds seek tougher sentences for veterans who stormed Capitol. In at least five cases so far, prosecutors have cited a rioter’s military service as a factor weighing in favor of a jail sentence or house arrest. Prosecutors have repeatedly maintained that veterans’ service, while commendable, made their actions on Jan. 6 more egregious.

Fleet Forces commander nominated as next Joint Chiefs vice chairman. Navy Adm. Christopher Grady, who has served in the Fleet Forces role for the last three years, would replace retiring Vice Chairman Air Force Gen. John Hyten.

National Security

SOCOM head on global terrorism: ‘I think it’s spread.’ The commander of US special operations forces believes that the global terrorist threat has “metastasized” and counterterrorism operations remain a requirement for his forces, even as the Defense Department shifts its focus to the Pacific.

Washington Watch

BIDEN WEAK — Will the US be begging on Bragg Boulevard again? The Carter years have returned with a vengeance. It did not take the Biden administration long to signal American weakness.

Homeland Security

Oklahoma Gov. asks Pentagon to drop vaccine mandate for National Guardsmen. Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) is asking Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to suspend the Pentagon’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for members of the Oklahoma National Guard.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Catching the Last ‘Last Flight’ Out of Afghanistan. Months after the U.S. officially withdrew, a volunteer network is still ferrying Afghan allies out of the country. But resources are fast running out.

Taliban bar Afghans from using foreign currency as economy spirals. The Taliban in Afghanistan declared a total ban on the use of foreign currency Tuesday, a shock move that threatened to rattle an economy already cash-starved and nearing collapse.

China Threat

DoD to brief Congress on China’s military progress. Defense Department officials will visit Capitol Hill on Nov. 3 to brief staffers on the department’s annual report on the Chinese military amid heightened concerns about China’s military buildup, a DOD spokesperson confirmed.

REALLY? The US can’t compete with China without tackling climate change. The current mantra in U.S. defense circles is that China is the “pacing threat” against which to measure the U.S. capability to influence the Indo-Pacific region and defend American interests globally.

Needed: A military strategy for China. The Pentagon, with its outdated policies, may not have the luxury of time when a crisis develops.

Russia Threat

CIA director meets in Moscow with top Russian official amid heightened tensions. CIA Director William Burns met with a top Russian security official on Tuesday, a spokesperson from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow confirmed.

Iran Threat

Israel, US step up direct actions against Iranian drone production. As Iran and its proxies increasingly rely on unmanned systems to carry out attacks in the region, Israel and the US have decided to step up operations targeting the Iranian drone industry, sources here say.

US Marines hit the beach in Israel as CENTCOM solidifies ties with longtime ally. Some 500 U.S. Marines staged a beach-storming exercise in Israel during some of the first bilateral military drills since a major Pentagon realignment for the longtime allies.

Balkans Crisis

Bosnian leader stokes fears of Balkan breakup. The headlines have been lurid. “Radical rhetoric in Bosnia revives fears of new conflict”; “Bosnia is in danger of breaking up” and even “Is Bosnia on the brink of another war?”

Military

Army scientists expect initial results this year on vaccine targeting all coronaviruses. Army scientists working on a vaccine to target all coronaviruses, including mutations of the one causing COVID-19 and others that may emerge in the future, are finding data from early human trials promising and expect to publish the results by year-end.

Fighter jet pilots at greater risk of certain cancers, study concludes. Researchers recommend that fighter aviators who served during the 35-year span in question talk with their doctor or flight surgeon about the report.

END of PDB

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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.

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