FRIDAY PDB – Pentagon’s LGBT Obsession, Third Chinese Carrier for Regional Domination, Iran’s New IRGC Spy Chief, North Korea to Get Tactical Nukes? Russian Gains in East Ukraine

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

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KEY FACTOR – Pentagon pressed to review how it judges an ally’s will to fight. Lawmakers say the U.S. government failed to provide accurate assessments amid the conflicts in Ukraine and Afghanistan.

GOOD – Havana Syndrome victims to draw US payments. A 2021 law has authorized compensation for diplomats and intelligence officers afflicted with the mysterious ailment.


NUT JOB! Navy reservist said he stormed Capitol with Proud Boys. A U.S. Naval reservist told an undercover FBI agent that he stormed the U.S. Capitol, federal authorities said in court records unsealed on Thursday.

SEMPER FI – Chicago Police Department seeks to recruit Marines amid officer shortage. Nearly 50 new officers recently joined the Chicago Police Department, but it is still 1,300 officers short of what the department says it needs.


FOR NOW – China’s newest carrier is for regional domination, not contesting the US Navy, experts say. China’s newest aircraft carrier boasts some advanced technology and presents a growing challenge to the U.S. and its Indo-Pacific allies, but it falls short of matching U.S. carrier prowess, experts told Stars and Stripes.

ABOUT TIME – US vows more high-level engagement with Pacific islands amid China push. White House Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on Thursday he expects more high-level U.S. officials to visit Pacific island countries as Washington steps up its engagement to counter China in the strategically important region.


EU has backed candidate status for Ukraine. Here’s what that means. The move is a historic moment for the bloc and a major morale boost for Kyiv.

US to send Ukraine rocket systems, other aid in new package. The aid is part of the $40 billion in security and economic assistance passed last month by Congress.

Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 121. Ukrainian troops will “have to be withdrawn” from the mostly Russian-occupied battleground city of Severodonetsk, Luhansk regional governor, Serhiy Haidai, said on Friday. Russian forces have taken the village of Mykolaivka, about 25km (15 miles) south of the key city of Lysychansk, Haidai said.

Russia struggling against own weapons in Ukraine, US general says. Russia’s air force has been unable to ground Ukrainian aircraft or overcome Ukrainian air defenses.


Iran appoints new IRGC spy chief as Israel tensions rise. Ramezan Sharif, spokesman of the elite force, announced in a statement on Thursday that Hossein Taeb was replaced by Mohammad Kazemi, who previously headed the Intelligence Protection Organisation, the counterintelligence arm of the IRGC.


TACTICAL NUKES? – North Korea’s Kim urges stronger war deterrent amid international concern about potential nuclear test. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered a strengthening of the country’s defense capabilities as he wrapped up a key meeting with top military officials, state media said on Friday, raising concerns about its possible addition of tactical nuclear weapons.


PREPARE FOR CLASHES – Iraq parliament swears in new members after dozens walk out. Iraq’s parliament swore in dozens of new legislators on Thursday, replacing 73 who were loyal to powerful Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr and strengthening the power of rival Iran-backed Shia factions in the assembly.


FOR F’s SAKE – Navy, Air Force and Marines say transfers over discriminatory state laws possible, but no sign of requests yet. Amid a growing trend of state laws that target members of the LGBTQ community, the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force all say that they have existing policies and procedures in place to help service members transfer to new duty stations if they feel unsafe or discriminated against.

FOR F’s SAKE AGAIN – Openly gay Air Force command chief at Ramstein lends voice of personal experience for Pride Month. Chief Master Sgt. Jeremiah Grisham, the command chief of the 521st Air Mobility Operations Wing at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, hopes his experience of serving in the Air Force for more than 20 years as a gay airman can reassure and inspire other LGBTQ military personnel.


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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