THURSDAY PDB – US and NATO Reject Russia Demands/Make Counter Offer, Biden’s Growing North Korea Crisis, China Wants Calm in Ukraine (During Its Olympics?) Biden Still Desperate to Revive Failed 2015 Iran Nuke Deal, Kurds Defeat ISIS Terrorists at Prison Siege, Combat Lasers on Army Stryker Vehicles

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a room full of Foreign Ministers on December 1, 2015, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, at the outset of a session on the South, Partnerships, and Defense Building Capability amid a NATO Ministerial meeting. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

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


China Threat

NO WAR DURING BEIJING OLYMPICS! – US, China confer on Ukraine, urge de-escalation and calm. China has told the United States it wants to see all sides involved in Ukraine remain calm and avoid increasing tension while the United States stressed de-escalation and warned of the security and economic risks from Russian aggression.

Russia Threat – Ukraine

US, NATO deliver counteroffers to Russia on defusing Ukraine war prospects. U.S. and NATO officials have separately delivered new sets of proposals to the Russian government for sorting out security concerns in Europe, while rejecting Russia’s demand that the alliance forever close its door to Ukraine.

US Air Force ramps up intel flights, weapons shipments to Ukraine. Flight trackers have spotted American Rivet Joint, Global Hawk, Reaper and Joint STARS aircraft, plus allied assets.

US F-15Es arrive in Baltics for NATO air policing mission. At least six Strike Eagles will be flying alongside Belgian F-16s and Estonian aircraft to deter aggression.

Russia threatens retaliation if Ukraine demands not met. Russia says it has no plans to invade Ukraine, but the U.S. and allies are planning for the worst.

Russia Threat

Germany arrests Russian citizen suspected of space tech espionage. German prosecutors arrested and charged a Russian citizen with spying for Russia, alleging he had passed information on aerospace technology, in particular the Ariane space launch vehicle, to Russian intelligence.

Iran Threat

Qatar’s top envoy visits Iran as Tehran and Washington consider direct nuclear talks. Qatar’s top diplomat visited Iran on Thursday, state media in the two countries reported, days before Qatar’s ruling emir holds talks in Washington at a crucial time for efforts by Tehran and major powers to revive a 2015 nuclear pact.

North Korea

North Korea fires 2 suspected missiles in sixth launch in 2022. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the weapons were launched from an eastern coastal area, but it didn’t immediately say how far they flew.

Can Biden avert a crisis with North Korea? Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has done six missile tests this month — equal to all of 2021 — and called on the nation to prepare for “long-term confrontation.”

International Security

Kurdish-led forces end prison siege, defeating ISIS fighters. The six-day battle put a spotlight on the humanitarian and security issues left unresolved after the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate was destroyed.

How the Burkina Faso coup could harm US Air Force counterterrorism operations. A military coup in the fragile West African country of Burkina Faso may prevent the U.S. Air Force from continuing vital counterterrorism surveillance and targeting efforts in an area where Islamic terrorism is growing, the Burkina Faso vice air chief said Jan. 26.

Military and Space

US Army is putting lasers on Strykers powerful enough to shoot down drones and helicopters. The future of Army short range air defense operations might just involve high-powered lasers shooting drones, helicopters and mortar rounds out of the sky.

Space Force plans two new exercises: Polaris Hammer and Black Skies. The Space Force will debut a new training exercise this year, aimed at improving the service’s command and control capabilities, the head of Space Training and Readiness Command said Jan. 26.


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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