THURSDAY PDB – Monkeypox – Global Health Risk? China and Russia Cozy Up More, Is US Underestimating China’s Military? 2 American Vets Captured in Ukraine

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

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Monkeypox outbreak poses ‘real risk’ to public health, WHO official says. Europe has emerged as the epicenter of an outbreak of monkeypox, with more than 1,500 cases identified in 25 European countries, which account for 85 percent of global cases, the official, Dr. Hans Kluge, the W.H.O.’s director of its European region, said. The W.H.O. will convene its emergency committee in Geneva next week to determine if the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, a formal declaration that calls for a coordinated response between countries. 

Defense spending plan for next year will see a significant hike, lawmakers say. Rep. Adam Smith said he’ll push for smart spending instead of mere budget boosts, but an increase over the White House plan appears inevitable.


China’s Xi offers closer cooperation with Russia in a call with Putin. The two leaders’ call appeared to be their first since late February, soon after Russia launched its full assault on Ukraine. In the months since, the Chinese government has sought to preserve ties with Moscow while maintaining that it was trying to be an impartial broker for peace in Ukraine.

The US overestimated Russia’s military might. Is it underestimating China’s? Concerns about American blindspots on the Chinese military are a major factor driving reviews of U.S. assessments of foreign armed forces. 

Japan hosts military symposium US hopes will help contain China. Military commanders from Japan, the United States, South Korea, the Philippines and fourteen other countries met in Tokyo this week for a gathering that Washington hopes will help forge cooperation between nations that can help it contain China.


Russia might try reckless cyber attacks as Ukraine war drags on, US warns. Ground commanders have been unable to capitalize on at least one previous cyber strike. 

US sending Ukraine new $1 billion arms package amid grinding Donbas fight. The U.S. will send Ukraine another $1 billion in weapons to fight Russia, including Harpoon anti-ship launchers for the first time, and more ammunition for high-tech, medium-range rocket launchers, the Biden administration announced Wednesday.

Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 113. Ukrainian fighters inside the Severodonetsk Azot chemical plant ignored a Russian ultimatum to surrender, as the United Nations warned essential supplies are running out for the thousands of civilians trapped in the city, including many sheltering in the facility. The Russian military said it used long-range missiles to destroy a depot in Ukraine’s western region of Lviv near the Polish border where ammunition for NATO-supplied weapons was stored.

‘Obsolete’ NATO force presence in Baltics needs upgrade, Estonian defense leader says. NATO must station more forces in the Baltic nations to provide a more credible deterrent after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Estonian defense secretary said Wednesday.

Russian army ramps up recruitment as steep casualties thin the ranks. The Kremlin has so far declined to order a general mobilization of draft-age soldiers, because this could signal that the war is not proceeding as well as depicted in the Russian media and threaten to stir grass-roots resistance to the military campaign. Instead, the military has embarked on a campaign to expand the ranks of active soldiers who have voluntarily signed contracts by cold-calling eligible men and trying to reactivate reservists.


North Korea expands work at nuclear test site to second tunnel -report. Preparation work at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility’s Tunnel No. 3 was apparently complete and ready for a possible nuclear test, the Center for Strategic and International Studies said in a report, citing commercial satellite imagery.


US military ground raid in Syria captures top ISIS leader. A U.S. defense official said there were no injuries to U.S. military personnel or aircraft involved in the raid.

Kenya calls for immediate deployment of regional force to eastern Congo. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday called for the immediate deployment of a new regional military force to try to stop rebel violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.


2 US veterans, a Marine and a soldier, reported missing in Ukraine. The U.S. State Department says it is looking into reports that Russian or Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine captured at least two American citizens. 

Retired Army generals join nonprofit which urges public to recommit to democracy. A new nonprofit group which calls itself Team Democracy is urging citizens, politicians and organizations to recommit to America’s democratic core principles.


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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