WEDNESDAY PDB – ‘TikTok Troops’ Sending Data to China, Lithuania Raises NATO War Risk Over Kaliningrad, Africa Prepares Intervention Force for Congo

NATO Meeting in 2021 / Photo by Влада на Република Северна Македонија

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TOLD YA! – ‘Everything’ in TikTok app popular with US troops is ‘seen in China,’ new report says. Data on TikTok “was accessed far more frequently and recently than previously reported,” according to leaked audio recordings.


US ends naval exercise with target practice as Chinese, Russians cruise off Japan. Valiant Shield, a 12-day naval exercise in the eastern Philippine Sea near Guam, ended Friday with the sinking of a decommissioned frigate, the USS Vandegrift.

Taiwan scrambles jets to warn away Chinese planes in its air defense zone. Taiwan scrambled jets on Tuesday to warn away 29 Chinese aircraft in its air defense zone, including bombers that flew south of the island and into the Pacific, in the latest uptick in tensions and largest incursion since late May.


Army vet killed fighting in Ukraine: report. At least one other American citizen has died fighting for Ukraine this year.

Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 119. Russian shelling killed at least 15 civilians in the eastern Kharkiv region on Tuesday, including five in the city of Kharkiv, the regional governor has said, as Russia steps up attacks in the region. The UK’s defence ministry said it is highly likely that Russia is preparing to deploy a large number of reserves to the front lines of the Donbas.

Why is Lithuania risking Russia’s wrath over Kaliningrad? Lithuania imposed a ground transit ban of EU sanctioned Russian goods through its territory on Saturday, cutting off the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast.

Russian anger at Lithuania puts spotlight back on US troops in NATO battlegroup near Suwalki Gap. For years, security analysts have feared that in the event of a crisis with Russia, Moscow could seal off the Baltic states from the rest of NATO by seizing the Suwalki Gap, a vulnerable choke point that connects Poland to Lithuania.


Iranian vessels approach US Navy ship at ‘dangerously high speed’ in Arabian Gulf. Three vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy approached patrol coastal ship Sirocco and expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Choctaw County in an unsafe manner while transiting the Strait of Hormuz Monday, according to the U.S. Navy.


North Korean leader convenes military meeting amid tensions. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is meeting with his senior military officials to discuss national defense policies.


US works to scale up intelligence networks in Central Asia. The United States now sees an opportunity to “counterbalance” Russia’s influence in Central Asia, in the words of one senior state department official.

ISRAEL’S ‘COME-BACK KID’ – Netanyahu prepares for a comeback in Israel’s next elections. The former Israeli prime minister is hoping for a decisive outcome in the upcoming Knesset elections by galvanizing the country’s right wing.


Burkina Faso tells civilians to evacuate vast zones ahead of military operations. Burkina Faso’s army has ordered civilians to evacuate two large “military interest zones” in its northern and southeastern regions ahead of anticipated operations against Islamist insurgents, it said.

East Africa leaders agree regional force to quell DR Congo crisis. The decision was made on Monday during an EAC summit in the Kenyan capital Nairobi. DRC President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame joined leaders of Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda as well as Tanzania’s ambassador to Kenya.

Ukraine president says Africa is a hostage in the war with Russia. “(I) address you in a state of emergency, when we have a war. In an emergency for the whole world, when Africa is actually taken hostage. Hostage of those who started the war against our state,” Zelenskiy said in a video speech to the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union.


YES! – Pentagon should consider ‘National Hypersonic Initiative’ to speed development, lawmakers say. A provision in the House Armed Services Committee’s draft policy bill could pave the way for a “National Hypersonic Initiative” aimed at addressing development and testing gaps and accelerating the Pentagon’s path to fielding the technology.


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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