WEDNESDAY PDB – Afghan Terror Threat Growing, Will EU Replace NATO? Tensions Rising With China in Pacific, Russia Seizing Much of Ukraine’s East, Enemies and Allies Snub Biden, Niger is West’s New African Ally

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COMPLEMENT OR REPLACE? Pentagon pitches law changes to enable US-EU defense cooperation. Pentagon leaders are asking Congress for new authorities when it comes to cooperative defense programs with the European Union, a prospect that officials on both sides of the Atlantic have said will complement traditional NATO processes.

HMMM? US strategy for addressing the nuclear deterrence and assurance gap. At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Adm. Charles Richard, head of Strategic Command (STRATCOM), forcefully promoted the need for a weapon such as a low-yield, nuclear submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), with no Senator questioning Richard’s reasoning. They should have.

US cruiser transits Taiwan Strait days after Chinese naval, air exercises. Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG-73) transitioned the Taiwan Strait Tuesday, the Navy announced in a release.

HEATING UP – China, US exchange barbs over military maneuvers near Taiwan. The United States Navy sent its second ship in as many weeks through the Taiwan Strait on Tuesday as tensions with China flared up again in the seas of eastern Asia. Chinese People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theatre Command said that it shadowed the US cruiser on Tuesday, according to state media, and accused the US of showing support for “Taiwan independence secessionist forces.”

THE SPARK? Will Washington learn from China’s successful stroke in the Solomon Islands? The head of the U.S. delegation said the U.S. would respond – and didn’t rule out military action – if China established a military presence on the islands. U.S. ally Australia played the bad cop and Australian prime minister Scott Morrison thundered that a Chinese base would be a “red line” for his country and the U.S., and was likewise vague about retribution.


Russia has seized much of Ukraine’s east, despite setbacks. The Russian military has gained near total control of the Donbas region, giving the Kremlin huge leverage in any future talks.

Russia-Ukraine live news: Attacks on Kharkiv ‘intensifying.’ Kharkiv’s governor says Russia is intensifying attacks in the northeastern region, where Ukraine has reportedly clawed back territory. Hungary rejects a proposed European Union embargo on Russian oil imports, warning it would destroy the country’s economy.

Russia downed satellite internet in Ukraine: Western officials. Russia was behind a massive cyberattack against a satellite internet network that took thousands of modems offline at the onset of the war in Ukraine, the United States, Britain, Canada, and the European Union have said.


SNUBBING BIDEN’s PLEAS – IAEA’s Grossi ‘concerned’ over Iran’s lack of cooperation. The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has said that he was “extremely concerned” about Iran’s lack of cooperation regarding its nuclear activity as EU envoy Enrique Mora is set to visit Tehran to save the stalled nuclear deal talks.


NO RESPECT FOR BIDEN – Mexico and Brazil leaders suggest they may snub Biden’s Americas summit. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday he would not attend the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas next month if all countries in the region were not invited, while Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is also likely to skip the meeting, sources told Reuters.

EXCELLENT – US Navy hospital ship departs San Diego to help Pacific nations prep for disasters. The hospital ship USNS Mercy recently steamed out of San Diego Bay, kicking off an annual mission focused on disaster preparedness and humanitarian assistance across the Pacific.

LOOKING THAT WAY – Can Niger become the main Western ally in the Sahel? As France and its European allies leave Mali in a dramatic divorce due to coups and rising anti-French sentiment, Niger is becoming the latest hub for Western militaries struggling to tackle the decade-long conflict in the Sahel region.


THANK YOU, BIDEN – Afghan-based terror groups still a year away from ability to strike US, intel leaders say. Terrorist groups within Afghanistan are still about a year away from being able to attack targets in western countries, but remain a significant concern for U.S. military planners, intelligence officials told lawmakers on Tuesday.


WITH NEW 6.8MM ROUNDS – Shooting farther with more punch: The Army finally found an M4 and SAW replacement. Soldiers, special operators, and Marines in the near future will carry a first-of-its kind rifle and light machine gun.

GOOD IDEA? Bill would mandate honorable discharge for troops booted for refusing COVID vaccine mandate. Defense officials would be required to grant honorable dismissals to nearly all troops who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine and grant waivers to troops with “natural immunity” to the virus under new legislation introduced by Republican senators on Tuesday.


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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