WEDNESDAY PDB – Russian TV Downplays Ukraine Crisis, Europe Realizes Putin Can Cut Off its Gas, ISIS Threat Returns Under Biden, US Dual-Carrier Drills in South China Sea Pokes Beijing, UK Arrests Two More Suspects in Texas Terror Attack, Unvetted Biden Afghan Refugee Molests Child on US base via Wikimedia Commons

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


China Threat

Dual-carrier drills bring thousands of US sailors and Marines together in South China Sea. The U.S. Navy began drills in the South China Sea over the weekend that brought together two aircraft carriers, numerous warships and thousands of sailors and Marines in a potential hot spot.

Hong Kong security chief says new laws will reflect “importance of spies.” Hong Kong’s security chief said on Wednesday that his government would strengthen laws against espionage as part of extra national security legislation now being drafted.

Russia Threat – Ukraine

More troops could be put on alert for Ukraine response: Pentagon. The Pentagon is not ruling out putting more than the original 8,500 on alert.

What threat? Russian state TV plays down Moscow’s role in Ukraine crisis. NATO is scrambling to beef up its eastern flank and Western governments have warned of crippling economic sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine, but watching Russian state TV provides little sense, for now at least, that war may be imminent.

US sailors move in to the Navy’s newest base on Poland’s Baltic coast. The U.S. Navy recently moved sailors aboard its newest base, a strategic installation in northern Poland that will support NATO’s European missile defense system.

Russia Threat

NO KIDDING – As Ukraine crisis looms, Europe fears Kremlin will cut off its gas supply. The fuel has arrived for decades, but now Russia is threatening to cut it off if it faces economic sanctions following an incursion into Ukraine. The United States and its allies are scrambling to line up a substitute.

ARCTIC DOMAIN – Russia starts navy drills to rehearse protecting Arctic shipping lane. Russian warships entered the Barents Sea on Wednesday to rehearse protecting a major shipping lane in the Arctic, its Northern Fleet said on Wednesday, as Moscow stages sweeping military exercises involving all of its fleets.

Homeland Security

FOREIGN TERRORISM – UK police arrest two more men over Texas synagogue attack. British police said on Wednesday they had arrested two men in the northern English city of Manchester as part of a U.S. investigation into a hostage taking at a synagogue in Texas earlier in January.

International Security

As the Islamic State resurges, the US is drawn back into the fray. Attacks in Syria and Iraq make clear that ISIS militants have lost neither their will to fight nor their ability to do so.

African Air Chiefs meeting connects partners where US presence is limited. The U.S. Air Force’s priorities in Africa include building partner capacity to fight terrorism, to conduct strategic airlift, and to respond to humanitarian crises.

WHY RUSSIA? After coup in Burkina Faso, protesters turn to Russia for help. Fed up with the failure of their government, and France, to stop the violence caused by militants, some citizens are calling for Russia to intervene.

Biden Afghanistan Disaster

UNVETTED BY TEAM BIDEN?  Afghan refugee convicted of assaulting girl, 3, at Quantico Marine base. Mohammed Tariq was arrested in September 2021 after Marines observed him fondling the girl, who was not related to him.

Afghanistan faces widespread hunger amid worsening humanitarian crisis. The Afghan economy collapsed after the Taliban took over and international aid was cut off, leading to growing poverty and hunger.

After 5 months, no answers from the Air Force on Afghans who died clinging to a Kabul evacuation flight. When footage of civilians clinging to the side of a U.S. C-17 Globemaster III and falling to their deaths at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 16 surfaced on social media, it became one of the defining images of the American military’s chaotic final days in Afghanistan.

Military and Space

RACE AGAINST CHINA – F-35 that crashed into the carrier Carl Vinson’s deck fell into the South China Sea. While officials are declining to discuss further details, experts say the Navy must recover the fallen jet.


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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