TUESDAY PDB – Marines Practice Striking China, China’s Game-Changing FOBS Space Attack System, Russia-Belarus Military Drills, Army Plans for Urban Combat, How Will Trump Handle Intel Community in a Comeback Term? He Who Masters AI Masters the World

A US Marine Corps (USMC) troop sits patiently manning an M2.50caliber Machine Gun onboard a Riverine Assault Craft (RAC) during an exercise on Lake Al Habbaniyah, Iraq (IRQ), in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM / Photo by LCPL Samantha L. Jones, USMC

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


International Security

British MI6 spy chief warns: the race is on for mastery of AI. The chief of Britain’s foreign spy service warned on Tuesday that the West’s adversaries such as China and Russia were racing to master artificial intelligence in a way which could revolutionize geopolitics over the next decade.

Kentucky National Guard soldiers deploying to eastern Africa. The unit will deploy under the command of a task force from the Virginia Army National Guard and provide security around the Horn of Africa, the statement said.

A LOT OF NOSE POWDER – Global coalition seizes 145.3 tons of cocaine – Colombia’s Navy. Military and police authorities from more than 40 countries across Europe and the Americas confiscated 145.3 tons of cocaine in the eighth phase of Operation Orion, a multinational naval operation against drug trafficking, Colombia’s navy said on Monday.

Washington Watch
Biden says Omicron lockdowns not needed ‘for now.’ At the White House on Monday, the president called it “almost inevitable” that the Omicron strain, first reported by South Africa, will be found in the US “at some point”.

MAYBE DO THEIR JOBS – Spies in the ointment: Which way will FBI, CIA swing if Trump returns? To the growing anxiety about the possibility of a triumphal Donald Trump return to office, we can add yet another worry line: How would the recalcitrant former president mobilize the intelligence agencies to punish enemies and reward friends?

China Threat

OF COURSE IT IS – It’s a FOBS, Space Force’s Saltzman confirms amid Chinese weapons test confusion. China’s recent test of a FOBS/HGV hybrid is “a very forward-edge technology capability,” said Space Force’s Lt. Gen. Chance (Salty) Saltzman.

Russia Threat

Threat of Russian invasion of Ukraine tests Biden administration. The White House is reviewing options to deter a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine, including providing more military aid to Kyiv and threatening sanctions, to dissuade Russian President Vladimir Putin from escalating the simmering conflict into a full-blown transatlantic crisis.

Belarus announces military drills with Russia near Ukraine border. U.S., NATO and Ukrainian officials say Russia has built up forces near Ukraine, sparking fears of a looming attack. Moscow denies any such plan. Belarus is itself locked in a row with the European Union over migrants camped at its western border.

Latvia calls for permanent US troops to guard against Russia threat. Latvia needs a permanent U.S. military presence to deter Russia and wants to boost its defences with U.S. Patriot missiles, Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said on Monday as NATO’s chief visited allied troops in the Baltic country.

Russian Navy test-fires hypersonic missile in the White Sea. The launch was the latest in a series of tests of Zircon, which is set to enter service next year.

Biden’s Afghanistan Disaster

Exclusive: World Bank works to redirect frozen funds to Afghanistan for humanitarian aid only – sources. The World Bank is finalizing a proposal to deliver up to $500 million from a frozen Afghanistan aid fund to humanitarian agencies, people familiar with the plans told Reuters, but it leaves out tens of thousands of public sector workers and remains complicated by U.S. sanctions.

Iran Threat

Iran insists on immediate lifting of sanctions as nuclear talks resume. After five months, negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran resumed in Vienna, but with a harder line from the new Iranian government.

Space Threat

Space Force takes first step to establish components in commands from Europe to Asia. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall has given the go-ahead for Space Force components in EUCOM, INDO-PACOM, CENTCOM and US Forces in Korea, but questions remain about Guardians’ “global responsibility.”

Blue Canyon technologies to build cislunar sensing micro-satellite for Air Force Research Laboratory. The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Blue Canyon Technologies a $14.6 million contract to build a small satellite that can explore deep space, out beyond where most U.S. Space Force satellites operate.


The US practiced striking a ‘peer adversary’ in the Pacific that sounds a whole lot like China. Troops with the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and the Navy’s 7th Fleet recently conducted “a joint rehearsal of tactics and simulated strikes” off the coast of Japan, according to a recent press release.

What we learned creating the Army’s first urban planners’ course. Although most infantry soldiers can execute Battle Drill 6 (Enter and Clear a Room), few staff officers are prepared to plan and execute large-scale combat operations in dense urban terrain.


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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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