FRIDAY PDB – Putin Hit Team Hunting Zelensky, US Needs More Border Agents, Bad Intel on Ukrainian and Afghan Fighting Spirit, China Threat to Japan and Taiwan Islands, Boost for US Southern Command

CBP SRT officers check equipment before an operation / Photo by U.S. Customs and Border Protection

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BAD INTEL ON MORALE – Why the US was wrong about Ukraine and the Afghan War. U.S. intelligence agencies thought the Afghan military would last longer and predicted Kyiv would fall faster, showing the difficulty of assessing fighting spirit.


NEED MORE BORDER PATROL AGENTS – Border mission should be a Homeland Security job, says head of Northern Command. Sending National Guard troops home will depend largely on the Homeland Security Department’s ability to surveil the border and prevent illegal crossings on its own.

MO REFUGEES – US to accept 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. The White House and allies also announce new sanctions against Russian elites as well as a plan to donate $1 billion to help European nations flooded with Ukrainians feeling the war.

RUSSIANS HACKED US POWER GRID – US charges 4 Russian government workers with hacking energy sector. Indictments in D.C and Kansas are Justice Department’ latest salvo against Russian government.


TAIWAN ISLANDS NEXT? Ukraine war reverberates on Taiwan’s ‘frontline of democracy.’ The Matsu islands were regularly bombarded by China at the height of the Cold War, and the history of conflict has focused minds on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and whether the same fate may befall them.

JAPANESE ISLANDS NEXT? Ukraine should provide Japan’s wake-up call. The Ukraine crisis has demonstrated war can occur at any moment. Japan should ensure it is fully prepared for a potential Chinese threat.


NATO ignores Zelenskyy’s plea for 1% of its tanks, jets. Alliance announces four new battlegroups as GOP calls for more direct aid to Ukraine.

PUTIN’S HIT TEAM – Russian mercenary group aims to kill Zelensky, UK says. Wagner Group, which the EU calls a proxy force for Russia’s Defense Ministry, is being used to try to assassinate Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky.

WILL USE MORE DUMB WEAPONS – Russia running out of precision munitions in Ukraine war– Pentagon official. Russia is running out of precision guided munitions and it is more likely to rely on so-called dumb bombs and artillery, a senior Pentagon official said on Thursday.

Belarusian exiles in Ukraine join the fight against a common foe: Russia. Eager, but ill equipped, some of Belarus’s exiles have formed a battalion in their host country, saying its fight against Vladimir Putin’s domination is the same as their homeland’s.

THE WORLD AGAINST PUTIN – UN General Assembly again overwhelmingly isolates Russia over Ukraine. Almost three-quarters of the U.N. General Assembly demanded aid access and civilian protection in Ukraine on Thursday, and criticized Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation after Moscow invaded its neighbor one month ago.


MONSTER MISSILE – North Korea confirms test-firing of biggest ICBM. Thursday’s test was North Korea’s 12th round of weapons launches this year.


BULKING UP OUR SOUTHERN FLANK – Senators call for increased funding for poorly resourced US Southern Command. Senators on Thursday called for increased funding for U.S. military operations in Central and South America to counter illicit drug trafficking and rising influence from China and Russia, as the White House prepares to release a defense budget plan next week.


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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