THURSDAY PDB – Biden’s Horrible Prisoner Exchange Offer, Russian Sleeper Agents in Hawaii, Iranian Drones for Russia, US Carrier Strike Group in South China Sea Amid Planned Pelosi Taiwan Trip

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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

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BIG MISTAKE – US offers Russia deal to bring home Marine veteran and WNBA star. The U.S. has offered a deal to Russia aimed at bringing home WNBA star Brittney Griner and jailed Marine veteran Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. In a sharp reversal of previous policy, Blinken also said he expects to speak with his Kremlin counterpart for the first time since before Russia invaded Ukraine.

GO WOKE, GO BROKE – Lawmakers press Pentagon for answers as military recruiting crisis deepens. Lawmakers from both parties are putting increasing pressure on the Pentagon to fix the recruitment crisis that threatens to leave the military well short of its goals to bring new troops aboard this year, in what is widely considered the worst recruiting environment since the end of the Vietnam War.

Future of US support for Ukraine at stake as GOP grapples with rift over aid. Which side of the GOP wins out could determine the extent of U.S. aid going forward if Republicans win control of Congress in November’s midterm elections, as political forecasters are predicting will happen.


THERE ARE A FEW CRAZIES – Ex-Marine booted for extremist activities accused of calling for Nazi-inspired mass rape and murder. Mathew Belanger was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, Kaneohe Bay Hawaii.

THE AMERIKANS – Coast Guard veteran, wife spy team charged with stealing IDs of dead kids. Federal prosecutors said old photos show the couple wearing uniforms of the KGB, the former Russian spy agency.


Navy secretary warns Asian aggressors [CHINA!] will face Western might. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro told the Associated Press that the U.S. military focus in the Asia-Pacific region will never slacken despite the war in Ukraine.

US carrier strike group returns to South China Sea amid Taiwan tensions. A U.S. aircraft carrier and its strike group have returned to the South China Sea after a port call in Singapore, deploying in the disputed region as tensions with China rise over a possible visit to Taiwan by congressional leader Nancy Pelosi.

Pacific defense chiefs meet against backdrop of rising China. Defense chiefs from across the Indo-Pacific gathered this week to bolster their connections against a backdrop of China’s ongoing campaign to expand its influence and military presence in the region.


As they wait for weapons, Ukrainians hold the line with Soviet artillery. Ali Pirbudagov’s weapons are parked under the cover of trees and camouflage nets. They’re all older than he is, dating back to a time when Ukraine and Russia fought together in the Red Army. Now, Pirbudagov has to use them against Russian troops attacking with more-modern equipment.

Russia-Ukraine war: List of key events, day 155. Russian forces are undertaking a “massive redeployment” of troops to Ukraine’s occupied Kherson and partially occupied Zaporizhia regions, in what appears to be a change of tactics by Moscow, Kyiv adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said.

Russian forces, Ukraine both claim control of vital power plant. The capture of Vuhlehirsk power plant in eastern Ukraine would be Moscow’s first strategic gain in more than three weeks.


MEANING? – Kim Jong Un says N Korea ‘ready to mobilize’ nuclear deterrent. North Korean leader condemns United States and South Korea in speech to mark ‘Victory Day’, the Korean War armistice.


Iranian drones could make Russia’s military more lethal in Ukraine. The US and its allies should prepare Ukraine, and better constrain Iran, write analysts from FDD.


GOOD – NOW AVOID CHINA TOO – Philippines scraps Russian chopper deal. The Philippine government has scrapped a deal to purchase 16 Russian military transport helicopters due to fears of possible U.S. sanctions, Philippine officials said.


COOL – Air Force testing system to stop active shooters with robots and drones. Robots and drones on Air Force bases will use strobe lights and sirens to disrupt an active shooter.


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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