WEDNESDAY PDB – US to Invite Taiwan to Massive RIMPAC Naval Exercise? Is Russia Faking Land Invasion to Take Ukrain’s Coast? Afghan WomanProtest Taliban’s Covert Killings of Ex-Soldiers and Police, SOUTHCOM to Use Space to Help Latin Partners Fight Crime and Chaos

C-130J Super Hercules aircraft assigned to the 317th Airlift Group, Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, help U.S. Army and British paratroopers perform a static line jump at Holland Drop Zone in preparation for Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise 15-01 at Fort Bragg, N.C., April 11, 2015. / U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sean Martin/Released

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

READ TODAY’S PDB BELOW:


China Threat

Invite Taiwan to massive RIMPAC naval exercises, US defense act says. Taiwan should be invited to the world’s largest naval exercise next year, according to the US’ 2022 defense spending blueprint signed into law by President Joe Biden this week.

China warns of “drastic measures” if Taiwan provokes on independence. China will take “drastic measures” if Taiwan makes moves towards independence, a Beijing official warned on Wednesday, adding that Taiwan’s provocations and outside meddling could intensify next year.

SpaceX satellites’ near-misses fuel US-China tensions. A pair of dangerously close space encounters is adding to tensions between the U.S. and China, while underscoring the potential peril to astronauts as satellite constellations and debris proliferate in orbit.

Russia Threat

US helps Ukraine to strengthen its border with Russia, Belarus. The United States will finance projects including surveillance and monitoring equipment to strengthen Ukraine’s borders with Russia and Belarus, amid continuing escalation with Moscow, Ukraine’s border service said on Tuesday.

US warships stay in Mediterranean amid Ukraine, Russia fears. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier strike group to stay in the Mediterranean Sea region rather than move on to the Middle East, amid worries about the buildup of thousands of Russian troops near the Ukraine border.

Some strategists see Russian designs on Ukraine’s coast, with land buildup as a feint. Any new Russian invasion of Ukraine that might be in the works likely would include a land grab in the south designed to give the Kremlin a greater stranglehold on the Black Sea, some analysts are warning.

Iran Threat

Armed group in Iraq demands US forces withdraw by end of 2021, threatens violence. The Iraqi Supreme Court on Monday ratified the parliamentary election results, clearing the path for the forming of a government. Kataib Hezbollah, one of the groups that disputed the election results, wants all U.S. military forces out of Iraq by the end of 2021.

Homeland Security

Gov. Kemp to deploy Georgia National Guard troops to hospitals, testing sites amid omicron surge. Governor Brian Kemp said Tuesday that the state is preparing to send 2,500 National Guard troops to hospitals and COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state as cases fueled by the omicron variant surge.

Hacks raised questions about Pentagon’s role in securing cyber and networks: 2021 In Review. The military focused its efforts on networked warfare and the US government responded to cyberattacks.

Biden’s Afghanistan Disaster

Afghan women call for rights, protest alleged Taliban killings. A crowd of women has marched through the Afghan capital calling for women’s rights to be respected and accusing Taliban authorities of covertly killing soldiers who served the former United States-backed government.

Military and Space

SOUTHCOM plans a space component to help fight crime, grow ties in the Americas. U.S. Southern Command is planning to expand its military space engagement in the Americas to help partner nations in ways China and Russia don’t, in part by combating crime from drug trafficking to deforestation and illegal fishing.

US Air Force squadron becomes first operational unit to drop StormBreaker bomb. A squadron from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho has became the first operational unit to use the GBU-53/B StormBreaker smart bomb — a major step forward for the long-delayed small diameter bomb.

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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