WEDNESDAY PDB – Ukrainians Prepare for Guerrilla War Against Russia, Should NATO Consider Russia’s Security Concerns? Putin’s Psyops, US Destroyer to Back UAE Against Iran-Backed Attacks, Attempted Coup in Africa, Iranian Nuke Deal Revived? ISIS Resurgence

SGT Benn Barr, USMC

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


National Security

Can the Navy recover the F-35 that crashed into the South China Sea? While the F-35 will likely never be able to fly again, the salvage operation will aim to secure the plane from prying eyes.

Russia Threat – Ukraine

BLEEDING THE BEAR – Ukrainians building up resistance in case Russia attacks. If Russia invades, some of Kharkiv’s 1 million plus people say they stand ready to abandon their civilian lives and wage a guerrilla campaign against one of the world’s greatest military powers.

US sends top security official to help NATO brace for Russian cyberattacks. The visit by the official, Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, underscored recent intelligence assessments that an invasion of Ukraine would almost certainly be preceded by renewed cyberattacks on Ukraine’s electric grid, its communications systems and its government ministries.

Ukraine seeks closer ties with NATO on cyber defense. The request, and news of its rejection, comes as Ukraine faces potential Russian cyber attacks that Western officials believe would likely accompany a large-scale invasion.

Russia confronts Ukraine with upgraded military rebuilt after Soviet collapse. Vladimir Putin has largely transformed the country’s forces left depleted and demoralized after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. as part of his goal to reassert Russia on the world stage.

PSYOPS – Putin accuses US of trying to lure Russia into war. In his first direct public comments on the crisis for nearly six weeks, a defiant Putin showed no sign of backing down from security demands that the West has called non-starters and a possible excuse to launch an invasion, which Moscow denies.

HISTORICALLY VALID? – US and allies have ignored Russia’s security demands, Putin says. In his first comments on the standoff with the West over Ukraine in more than a month, Putin said the Kremlin is still studying the U.S. and NATO’s response.

Russia Threat – Belarus

PUTIN PUPPET – The president of Belarus is more beholden to Putin than ever. That could influence the Kremlin’s calculus on Ukraine. As Russia threatens a new war with Ukraine, Lukashenko is a new man — and far more beholden to the Kremlin. On Friday, he took the stage in Minsk, where he vowed to go to war for Moscow, should Russia be attacked, and accused the West of trying to “drown” Russian-Ukrainian brotherhood in blood.

North Korea

US asks UN to meet on North Korea’s long-range missile test. North Korea confirmed Monday it test-launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. territory of Guam.

Iran Threat

Iran nuclear talks have resumed in Vienna. Here’s what to know about the negotiations. The eighth round of talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal adjourned in late January amid what European diplomats called “the final stage” in negotiations — but major points of contention remain between Washington and Tehran, while negotiators warn that Iran’s nuclear program is weeks away from advancing far beyond the 2015 accord’s parameters.

International Security

Libya deserves more US military attention to keep Russian ambitions at bay, report argues. The study, released this week, examined Russia’s efforts to raise its military and economic profile across Africa.

Islamic State hits back, aided by power vacuum in Iraq and Syria. Nearly three years after the group lost its final enclave, Islamic State fighters are re-emerging as a deadly threat, aided by the lack of central control in many areas, according to a dozen security officials, local leaders and residents in northern Iraq.

UNSTABLE AFRICA – Six killed in failed coup in Guinea-Bissau, president sees link to drugs. At least six people were killed in a failed attempt to overthrow Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embalo, state radio said on Wednesday, as residents of the capital cautiously returned to daily life.

SUPPORTING AFRICAN ALLIES – Shared strategic airlift is focus of Africa Air Chiefs meeting. Challenged by inadequate infrastructure and vast distances, the U.S. Air Force has for decades provided airlift to France and African nations to help fight terrorism, support peacekeeping, and respond to disasters on the continent.

Iran Threat

US to send destroyer, fighter jets to UAE amid Iran-backed Houthi attacks. The United States will send a guided-missile destroyer and fifth-generation fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the wake of recent missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, Washington’s top military official has said.


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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