THURSDAY PDB – ‘Stiff Competition’ or ‘Cold War’ with China? Xi for Life? Russian War for Ukraine? Families of US Troops Still in Afghanistan, With China Bullying – Europe Gets Closer to Taiwan, EU Backs Poland’s Tough Borders, Democrats Want to End Korean War

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

READ TODAY’S PDB BELOW:

Pentagon Watch

OBSESSION WITH CONTRIVED DIVERSITY QUOTAS – Women of color are lagging behind in Air Force’s push for diversity. The service is becoming more gender-diverse, but those gains aren’t the same across women of various races and ethnicities.

Washington Watch

ELECTION INTEGRITY vs FEAR? – Former top officials warn democracy in ‘jeopardy’ without Congressional action on election security. A bipartisan group of almost 100 former national security officials is urging Congress to take steps to secure elections ahead of next year, warning that without action, the nation’s democratic institutions are in “severe jeopardy.”

National Security

The cyber battlefield against China and Russia is constantly shifting. Here’s how the NSA is trying to stay on top. In the battle over cyberspace, adversaries to the United States are continually switching up their methods to hack U.S. systems, a senior National Security Agency official said Wednesday.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Pakistan hosts US, China, Russia to discuss Afghanistan. Pakistan has hosted senior diplomats from the United States, China and Russia in Islamabad to discuss the situation in neighboring Afghanistan, where a deepening humanitarian crisis has forced many Afghans to migrate to neighboring countries since the Taliban takeover in August.

A Taliban official urges ex-Afghan military pilots to stay, protected by an amnesty. A top Taliban official on Wednesday urged former Afghan military pilots to remain in the country, saying they were protected by a national amnesty and would not face arrest.

MORE THAN THAT – ‘Dozens’ of troops’ family members still in Afghanistan, Pentagon estimates. Troops with family members still in the country can notify the Pentagon to help coordinate their escape.

China Threat

Chinese military forces exercise near Taiwan in response to US visit. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China considers the delegation’s visit a “serious violation” of U.S. commitments not to have formal relations with Taiwan.

China is boosting intel gathering capabilities aimed at Taiwan, says new report from Taipei. China is bolstering its intelligence gathering capabilities and is broadening their use against Taiwan, according to the island nation’s newly released defense report.

IDIOTIC TERM – Rivalry with China in Pacific need not lead to new Cold War, says US security advisor. The “stiff competition” between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific does not have to turn into a new Cold War, U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on Thursday, describing the United States as “doubling down” on its presence in the region.

China passes resolution clearing way for Xi Jinping to rule until at least 2027. A high-level meeting of the Chinese Communist Party on Thursday declared President Xi Jinping’s undisputed rule of “decisive significance” for its history, affirming Xi’s iron grip as he prepares for a near-inevitable third term that would extend his rule until at least 2027.

As distrust of China grows, Europe may inch closer to Taiwan. Talks between European lawmakers and Taiwanese officials point to Europe’s increasing willingness to strengthen relations, despite Beijing’s threats.

The US military isn’t ready to confront China. Two decades of counterinsurgency didn’t do it any favors.

Russia Threat

Russian troop movements show wider conflict is possible, top Ukraine official says. “All available information indicates that the armed forces of Russia permanently sustain a powerful offensive grouping around Ukraine,” Roman Mashovets, deputy head of Ukraine’s Office of the President for national security and defense, told Military Times Wednesday.

Unlike before, Poland gets support from Europe on tough borders. Faced with the weaponization of migrants from Belarus, the European Union is defending Poland’s hard line even as it withholds funds over rule of law violations.

North Korea Threat

NAÏVE – Nearly two dozen House Democrats urge Biden to formally end the Korean War. Twenty-three U.S. congressmen have called on President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to “prioritize active diplomatic engagement” with the two Koreas and end the Korean War.

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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