MONDAY PDB – Biden Says US Will Defend Taiwan, Iran Threatens Retaliation Over Assasination, Biden Mulling Inviting Communist Cuba to Summit, Judge Says COVID Border Restrictions Must Stay

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

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A surge in Navy deserters could be a sign of a bigger problem for the military. In 2021, 157 sailors illegally fled the U.S. Navy, more than double the number who deserted in 2019. Although all but eight of them eventually returned to their units, a military legal expert says the dramatic increase in desertions may be a sign of a bigger issue.

Pentagon to Congress: Inflation…. what inflation? AEI’s John Ferrari and Mackenzie Eaglen write that in failing to adjust its budget to the realities of inflation, the Pentagon is careening towards budgetary trouble.


COVID restrictions for migrants at US border cannot end yet, judge rules. The nationwide injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays in Louisiana means the restrictions, which were set to end on May 23, will remain in place across the border as the litigation proceeds, unless a higher court overturns the ruling. The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it intends to appeal.


GAFFE OR MAJOR NEW POLICY? – Biden says US would defend Taiwan if attacked by China. US President Joe Biden has said he would use force to defend Taiwan if it was attacked by China, appearing to signal a shift away from Washington’s decades-long policy of so-called strategic ambiguity towards the East Asian democracy.

Ukraine war shows Congress that arming Taiwan now can deter China. Lawmakers studying the lessons learned from the Ukraine war believe that speeding delivery of F-16s and Stingers among other kit to Taiwan, and forming a clear defensive coalition in the Pacific, could deter China from a mid-decade invasion.


Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 89. Russia is trying to destroy Severodonetsk as its forces bombard the city from all sides, the governor of Luhansk said. Kharkiv’s emergency services recovered 150 bodies across the region since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, Interfax reported.

Ukraine says it’s holding off Russia’s intensified thrust in the east. But the situation in the heavily contested Donbas region “is extremely difficult,” President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

Consider designating Russia as a jurisdiction of Primary Money Laundering Concern. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) last week called on the Treasury Department to designate a Russian bank and two related entities as institutions of “primary money laundering concern” (PMLC) under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act. While these three targets merit examination, Treasury should consider evidence that the entirety of Russia is rapidly emerging as a PMLC.

Russian soldier gets life in prison in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial. A 21-year-old Russian soldier was found guilty Monday of killing an unarmed civilian in Ukraine’s first war crimes trial since Russia’s invasion. He was sentenced to life in prison.

Russia bans 963 Americans, including Biden and Harris — but not Trump. On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry published an updated list of 963 Americans barred from entering Russia — a largely symbolic move featuring a wide-ranging collection of Biden administration members, Republicans, tech executives, journalists, lawmakers who have died, regular U.S. citizens and even actor Morgan Freeman.


US, South Korea open to expanded military drills to deter North. President Joe Biden said cooperation between the U.S. and South Korea shows “our readiness to take on all threats together.”

Iran will avenge slain Revolutionary Guards colonel, president says. Iran will avenge the death of Revolutionary Guards Colonel Sayad Khodai, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday, a day after the elite corps officer was shot dead by two people on a motorcycle in a rare assassination in Tehran.


BIG MISTAKE – Biden officials consider inviting Cuban representative to Americas summit -source. Biden administration officials are considering inviting a Cuban representative to the U.S.-hosted Summit of the Americas, a person familiar with the matter said, as Washington scrambled to head off a potentially embarrassing boycott by some regional leaders.

Civilian killings soar as Russian mercenaries join fight in West Africa. Documents, imagery and witness accounts point to a heightened Russian presence in Mali.


Wildfire monitoring, other state missions in jeopardy without a Space Guard, these officials say. Longtime military space officers in the National Guard warned Thursday that their home states will lose the ability to surveil wildfires, monitor public demonstrations and conduct other missions if the U.S. does not create a Guard component under the new Space Force.


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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