FRIDAY PDB (NON-RUSSIA THREAT EDITION) – Marines Need to Move Faster to Face China, What Ground Combat with China Will Look Like, Biden’s Afghan Hunger Crisis, Biden’s Somalia Failure, West Africa’ Changing Counterterror Fight, B-52s to Guam

Cpl. Dave Spraker, a team leader with 3rd platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, instructs Royal Tongan Marines, Tonga Defence Services, during a battle sight zero exercise at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Range Training Facility June 30, 2010. / Photo via the Marine Crops

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



National Security

How the National Guard can help counter Chinese Influence. Now that the US military is shifting away from two decades of conflict in the Middle East, US policymakers and military leaders are searching for ways to effectively compete with China in an era of renewed great power competition. To compete effectively, the United States needs a program to achieve strategic impact that is also nimble, flexible, and capable of global reach.

How the Ukraine crisis developed, and where it might be headed. Here’s a guide to the causes behind a conflict that threatens to become a major military clash, and what’s at stake for Russia, the U.S. and NATO.

China Threat

Marine Corps is not moving fast enough to face China, general says. “If anybody thinks we are moving fast enough, you’re crazy.”

Marine general describes what ground combat with China would be like. The People’s Liberation Army has about 975,000 active-duty troops in ground combat units.

Stateside B-52 bombers return to a Guam teeming with Cope North aircraft. Four B-52 bombers and more than 220 airmen recently arrived on Guam, joining thousands of U.S., Japanese and Australian service members already on the island for the annual Cope North exercise.

Japan confirms details of F-15J upgrade program worth $5.6 billion. Japan has confirmed that it will put 68 license-built Mitsubishi F-15J Eagle interceptors through an upgrade that will improve its radar, electronic warfare, weapons carriage capacity and stand-off weapon capabilities.

Biden’s Afghan Disaster

Hunger crisis in Afghanistan spurs US veterans to reprise efforts to help save lives. American veterans who put together makeshift efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan last summer are shouldering a new humanitarian cause, sending food and supplies to Afghans beset by yet another unfolding crisis.

International Security

Biden’s withdrawal in Somalia has strengthened hand of al-Shabab terrorists, top officials say. U.S.-backed forces in Somalia are now outgunned by Africa’s largest terrorist group, raising concerns that a 2021 decision to pull out American troops and curtail airstrikes has helped the militants’ insurgency expand, two senior officials said Thursday.

France announces withdrawal of troops from Mali, reshaping the fight against Islamist extremists in West Africa. The departure raises questions about who will fill the security void as extremist attacks surge in Mali and across West Africa.

Niger accepts foreign forces from Mali to combat jihadist threat. Niger has accepted that French and European special forces will cross into its territory from neighboring Mali to combat jihadists and try to secure the border with the West African state, Niger’s president said on Twitter on Friday.

Iran Threat

Radio-controlled aircraft from Lebanon sets off Israeli defenses, Israeli army says. Israeli aerial defenses were triggered and fighter jets scrambled after a radio-controlled aircraft crossed into Israel from Lebanon on Friday, Israel’s military said.

Saudi-led coalition destroys explosives-laden Houthi boat in Red Sea -state TV. The Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthi forces in Yemen said it had destroyed a small Houthi boat in the south of the Red Sea that was loaded with explosives, Saudi state television reported on Friday.

Military and Space

The Navy’s messaging choke point. Some say the service needs to stop using jargon like “littoral operations” and “sea denial” if it wants to connect with more Americans.

Unmanned or minimally manned vessels could deploy alongside strike groups as soon as 2027. The chief of naval operations wants to deploy minimally manned or unmanned surface vessels with a strike group in the next five or six years, with an eye toward scaled-up unmanned systems operations around the globe in the 2030s. And he hopes to start working toward that goal without a proper budget in place.


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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