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Today’s PDB includes a variety of critical, global national security issues.
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READ TODAY’S PDB BELOW:
UFOs pose real danger, DOD says, but aliens aren’t to blame — probably. Defense Department officials on Tuesday confirmed that unidentified flying objects are real and pose a potential serious threat to the country.
Is America’s military headed down the same path as Russia’s? Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failure to rapidly defeat a much smaller foe is not just a failure of strategy, but an overestimation of his military’s capability, training and prowess. U.S. leaders need to take a hard look in the mirror and question whether we are treading similar ground with a set of military capabilities too small and too old given current threats.
Taiwan must strengthen defenses against China: US military chief. Taiwan must gird itself against potential Chinese aggression through military deterrence that includes acquiring the right weapons and proper training, the top US naval officer said on Tuesday.
China draws North Korea closer than ever as Biden visits region. As President Biden makes his first presidential trip to South Korea and Japan in the next week, he faces shifting dynamics in Northeast Asia that pose steep challenges to U.S. efforts to shore up alliances to counter China’s rise. A key challenge is North Korea’s thawing relationships with China and Russia, aimed at reducing U.S. influence in the region.
VERY VERY BAD – Philippines’ Marcos wants China ties to ‘shift to higher gear’ under his presidency. Philippines president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Wednesday said his country’s relations with China will expand and shift to a higher gear under his administration, and Beijing had assured him of its support for his “independent foreign policy.”
Ukraine relinquishes Mariupol as Russia attacks both east and west. After months of a devastating siege, the city of Mariupol is now in Russian hands as Moscow’s forces concentrate their attacks elsewhere.
Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 84. At least 229 children have died and 424 injured since February, according to Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova. The fate of Ukrainian fighters evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol remains uncertain after some were transported to the Russian-controlled town of Olenivka near Donetsk, and some were taken to a prison colony. Russia’s defence ministry said more than 950 fighters at Azovstal have surrendered since Monday.
Splits open at NATO about how to boost presence in Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe wants big new deployments of NATO troops to defend against Russia, but some other alliance members are skeptical of then need for shifting major forces east, particulalry after seeing Russian forces struggle in Ukraine.
NORTH KOREA THREAT
Army activates new air cavalry squadron with latest Apache helicopters in South Korea. The Army on Tuesday activated a new air cavalry squadron tasked with providing permanent reconnaissance support to U.S. forces in South Korea.
GREAT! – Hezbollah and allies lose majority in Lebanese parliament, final results show. Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies have lost their majority in Lebanon’s parliament in a general election, a Reuters tally of final results showed on Tuesday, a major blow to the heavily armed group that reflects anger with Lebanon’s ruling elite.
NOT GREAT – Iran is in position for a surprise nuclear breakout. No wonder it’s in no rush to renegotiate a nuclear deal.
Greece seeks to join F-35 program as it lobbies against Turkey F-16 sale. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the White House and Congress this week to make his country’s case for acquiring the F-35 stealth fighter jet while lobbying against Turkey’s attempts to upgrade its aging fleet of F-16s and acquire additional aircraft.
US MILITARY AND SPACE
Successful test could rally Air Force hypersonics program. The Air Force successfully tested its AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon Saturday, potentially giving the beleaguered hypersonic program a shot in the arm.
Space Force, newest branch of US military, to stand up new squadrons to address growing threats. U.S. Space Force is to stand up three new squadrons in the next two years to address growing threats from Russia, China and other actors.
SHOULDN’T BE FLYING ANYWAY – Red tape, lack of awareness hinder Air Force’s effort to keep pregnant airmen flying. Fewer than 50 airmen have sought permission to fly while pregnant since 2019, Air Force Times has learned.
END of PDB