TUESDAY PDB – Allied Drills Send Message to China, Ukraine Calmly Prepares for War, North Korean Leader Limping in New Documentary, Military Coups Growing Across W. Africa

A Marine with Company C, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, shouts commands to his fellow Marines during the attack on Combat Center Range 210, Jan. 20, as part of the battalion’s Enhanced Mojave Viper predeployment training. / Photo by the Marine Corps via Flickr

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


Pentagon Watch

SECDEF tells governors Guard troops must get COVID-19 vaccine. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in letters to seven governors, is reaffirming the need for members of their states’ Army and Air National Guards to get the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine or lose their Guard status.

China Threat

US military drills with Pacific allies send a message to China, expert says. Military exercises between the United States and its allies in the Western Pacific, both ongoing and upcoming, send a message to China not to pull a “stunt” to distract people at home, according to a New Zealand-based American security expert. 

Navy prepares F-35C recovery op in South China Sea as Japan issues salvage notice. Officials for U.S. 7th Fleet declined to comment Monday or confirm whether a Japanese Coast Guard navigation warning was connected to salvaging the jet.

Russia Threat – Ukraine

Pentagon discussing more Europe deployments amid Russia-Ukraine tension. More units could be put on alert for possible individual deployments. 

Ukraine announces plan to boost army as foreign leaders rally. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a decree on Tuesday to boost his armed forces by 100,000 troops over three years and raise soldiers’ pay, but said this did not mean war with Russia was imminent.

‘No war pls’ — Gen Z is spamming Putin’s Instagram asking him not to start World War III. As tensions rise in Europe and the United States prepares to send troops to support Ukraine against Russia, Generation Z has taken on another approach — simply asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to “please consider to just not start the war.”

Ukraine ‘calmly preparing’ for the worst as US-Russia clash at UN. Russia accused the West of “whipping up tensions” over Ukraine, while Ukraine’s security chief argues the country needs to revise a 2015 peace deal.

Iran Threat

US and allies close to reviving nuclear deal with Iran, officials say. A return to a 2015 accord is on the table, but the next decisions are up to the new government in Tehran, the Biden administration said.

North Korea

North Korea documentary shows limping Kim as he tackles ‘worst-ever hardships.’ A North Korean documentary broadcast on Tuesday showed a limping leader Kim Jong Un as he tackles the impoverished country’s “worst-ever hardships” amid the coronavirus pandemic and sanctions over its weapons programs. 

Homeland Security

Haste and planning failures doomed Operation Lone Star’s troops to suffer. Never before has Texas — or any other state — involuntarily activated so many troops under state active duty authority for such a long-term mission. Nor has it been done so quickly. 

International Security

Coups cheered in West Africa as Islamist insurgencies sap faith in democracy. “Since the 1990s there has been a wave of democracy across West Africa. But that democracy has failed the people,” said Tankoano, a civil society leader, at his home outside the capital Ouagadougou. “We must be clear, we need a military regime.”

US-allied Syria force says it foiled major ISIS comeback plot. A U.S.-backed Kurdish-led force said Monday that a prison overrun by the Islamic State group in northeastern Syria was now fully under its control, thwarting a dangerous plot by the extremists to launch further, multiple attacks across the volatile region.

Biden tells emir he will make Qatar major non-NATO ally. President Joe Biden promised Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, on Monday that he will soon designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally, granting special status to a key friend in a turbulent region.

Biden Afghan Disaster

Over 100 ex-Afghan forces, officials killed since US pullout: UN. “More than two-thirds” of the victims were alleged to result from extrajudicial killings by the Taliban or its affiliates, the U.N. says.

Military and Space

AN AMERICAN ICON – Special operations legend John Singlaub has died at the age of 100. The legendary commando and fervent anti-communist was 100 years old at the time of his passing.


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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