THURSDAY PDB – Stronger China Increasingly Challenging US Military, How Far Will CCP Back Putin Over Ukraine? US and NATO Bulk Up East and South, Artillery Shelling in Eastern Ukraine, F-35Bs Operated Seamlessly with Allies

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


National Security

THANK YOU, MR. BIDEN – US warns Americans abroad not to count on a rescue. In Ukraine and Ethiopia, Biden officials have made clear that the 2021 Kabul airlift was a “unique” operation that won’t be repeated.

Naval presence in Mediterranean and Black seas at highs rarely seen since Cold War. Warships are transiting the Mediterranean Sea and nearby waters in numbers rarely seen in recent decades, adding another dimension to the ongoing tensions between NATO and Russia over Moscow’s military buildup along Ukraine’s borders.

China Threat

China now more willing, able to challenge US military, report says. China has increased its military capabilities, while readiness of the U.S. military is a primary concern, the GAO report says.

Beijing weighs how far to go in backing Putin on Ukraine. Behind closed doors, China’s top leaders have debated how to respond to the Russia-Ukraine crisis without hurting China’s own interests.

Australia and UK deepen security ties amid China worries. The United Kingdom has pledged 25 million pounds ($34 million) as part of a commitment to promote “peace and stability” in the Indo-Pacific, as it deepens a security pact with Australia amid continuing concerns about China’s power and influence in the region.

Russia Threat

Specialized US Army unit helps Russia’s neighbors train against large-scale attacks. If tiny Latvia’s single active army brigade ever came under attack by Russian forces, its task would be keeping them on their heels while staying alive long enough for allies to send reinforcements, the brigade commander said.

USAF sends F-35s, B-52s, F-15s to Europe as NATO Ministers opt for more deterrence. The U.S. Air Force sent F-35 fighters to Germany days after a B-52 Bomber Task Force arrived in England to reassure Allies amid increasing tensions in Eastern Europe.

NATO considering new battlegroups in Eastern Europe to deter Russia. NATO members are weighing whether to send fresh troops to the alliance’s eastern and southeastern member countries, as Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday dismissed Moscow’s claims that some of its forces are returning to their barracks.

Russian jets endanger US surveillance planes in close call over the Mediterranean, Navy says. “We can confirm that over the course of last weekend, three U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft experienced unprofessional intercepts by Russian aircraft,” said Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, director of Defense Press Operations.

Georgia says joining NATO only way to preserve country’s integrity – report. Joining NATO is the only way to preserve Georgia’s territorial integrity, the TASS news agency quoted its Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze as saying on Thursday.

Russia Threat – Ukraine

PUTIN LIES ABOUT PULLING BACK TROOPS – Russia added 7k troops near Ukraine border, says US official. Satellite images captured in the last 48 hours seem to bolster skepticism the United States and its NATO allies have about the Russian assertions that it is withdrawing forces surrounding Ukraine.

Russia ‘likely’ to launch ‘limited’ military attack against Ukraine, says Estonian intelligence. Russia is continuing to move troops to the Ukrainian border and will likely launch a “limited” military attack against the country, the head of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service said on Wednesday.

HOW WARS BEGIN – Shelling breaks out in east Ukraine as West and Moscow dispute troop moves. Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces traded accusations on Thursday that each had fired across the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine, raising alarm at a time when Western countries have warned of the possibility of a Russian invasion any day.

Iran Threat

Hezbollah claims it’s making drones and missiles in Lebanon; chief offers export opportunity. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Hezbollah has worked to improve its military capabilities, revealing that last summer, Hezbollah fighters conducted the largest training exercise since the group was formed in 1982.

Military and Space

SEAMLESS ALLIED INTEGRATION – US Marine, British F-35Bs flew seamlessly with Israeli, Italian, Japanese F-35s during Queen Elizabeth Deployment. The senior U.S. officer embarked on last year’s deployment of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, who also flew the F-35B Lightning II strike fighters from the ship, praised the F-35B and the Marine Corps and Royal Air Force pilots who flew them and the crews who maintained them during the wide-ranging deployment and operated with F-35s from three other nations: Israel, Japan and Italy.


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