Fdd's overnight brief

April 3, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Israel struggled to contain a growing crisis after a strike by its military killed seven aid workers in Gaza, drawing condemnation from around the globe and putting more pressure on the country to lower the civilian toll of its campaign to wipe out the militant group Hamas. – Wall Street Journal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Washington that the war against Hamas cannot be won without taking Rafah. The Biden administration is deeply concerned about Israel’s planned assault — warning of a “disaster” scenario — but appears keen to avoid a public showdown. – Washington Post

The Israeli police clashed with antigovernment protesters outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home in Jerusalem on Tuesday night, which was the third day of demonstrations calling for early elections and his ouster. – Washington Post

Fitch Ratings maintained Israel’s ‘A+’ sovereign credit rating on Tuesday and removed the country from “rating watch negative” (RWN) but said Israel’s war against Islamist group Hamas in Gaza remained a risk. – Reuters

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday formally asked for renewed consideration by the United Nations Security Council of its 2011 application to become a full member of the world body. – Reuters

Seaborne aid for Gaza is returning to Cyprus after Israel killed seven aid workers of World Central Kitchen, Cypriot officials said on Tuesday, as the U.S.-based charity said it would pause work in the occupied Palestinian territory. – Reuters

President Joe Biden said Israel hadn’t done enough to protect civilians after the death of seven aid workers, in some of his sternest criticism yet of the country’s conduct in the months since it launched a military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. – Bloomberg

Israel’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip has destroyed about $18.5 billion in infrastructure, equal to about a year’s worth of economic output in the enclave and the West Bank, according to a new report that outlined the devastating economic impact of the Hamas war. – Bloomberg

Four police officers were injured, one of them seriously, in a suspected terror ramming near the central town of Kochav Yair, close to the Green Line, overnight Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday that Hamas has “ceased to function as a military organization in most parts of the Gaza Strip.” The comments from Gallant came during an operational briefing before Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in Tel Aviv. – Fox News

Israel’s negotiating team headed home from Cairo on Tuesday, as Jerusalem continues its efforts to find terms for a deal that would see Hamas free hostages from Gaza. – Times of Israel

Editorial: Iran has sought to expand the Gaza war by pushing its proxies to attack Israel on seven different fronts. The IDF’s use of precision strikes to eliminate targets both near and far has shown that Israel continues to be a formidable fighting force on a global scale. Strikes on crucial command and control nodes, often without inflicting collateral damage, illustrates that the IDF has not only recovered from October 7 but is pushing the envelope even further. – Jerusalem Post

Matthew Hennessey writes: Israel is engaged now, as always, in a fight for survival. Often lied about, Israel nevertheless respects the rules of war. It fights with precision and restrains its soldiers to protect the innocent. It provides food and aid to its enemy. It owns up to its mistakes. The author of the news alert might not have intended to convey all that. Writing, like war making, is a business rife with unintended consequences. The ripples often outpace the pebble. Yet here we are: “Israel takes responsibility.” You’ll never hear the same said of Hamas.  – Wall Street Journal

David Ignatius writes: When Biden administration officials argue that Netanyahu doesn’t have a strategy for ending the Gaza war and stabilizing the region, they are thinking about this lack of foresight and planning. It isn’t simply that Palestinians need a safe and stable Gaza but that it’s essential in the long run for Israel, too.Israel has a righteous cause in combating Hamas and its paymasters in Iran. But Monday’s events should remind us that enduring security doesn’t come through force of arms alone. – Washington Post

Ruth Marcus writes: There is understandable anger against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians, over its building of settlements in the disputed territory seized in 1967 and, now, over the scope of the suffering in Gaza. But — see Nicaragua — somehow Israel seems always to be held to a different, higher standard than other countries. The ICJ’s ruling is the latest manifestation of this familiar double standard, from an entity from which we should be able to expect better. – Washington Post

Bret Stephens writes: It’s true that in nearly every political cause, including the most justified, there are ugly elements — the Meir Kahanes or the Louis Farrakhans of the world. But the mark of a morally serious movement lies in its determination to weed out its worst members and stamp out its worst ideas. What we’ve too often seen from the “Free Palestine” crowd is precisely the opposite. – New York Times

Tom Rogan writes: In turn, while Israel is likely to take rapid disciplinary action against those who authorized and carried out this strike, Netanyahu will have to prove to the international community that he’ll now allow greater aid into Gaza at lower risk to aid workers. If not, and even if unfairly, Israel’s access to U.S. weapons and diplomatic cover will be at risk. – Washington Examiner

Sean Durns writes: As Axios’s Barak Ravid reported, the White House was quick to tell Iran that “it had no involvement” in the strike. In a tough region like the Middle East, the quick disavowal is likely to be interpreted as a sign that the U.S. fears an Iranian response on its own personnel. Such weakness is provocative and only continues to chip away at America’s eroding deterrence. – Washington Examiner

Andrew G. Clemmensen writes: The cost-benefit ratio of the maritime aid option is even more favorable when one considers that building a permanent port for Gaza would take years to develop and may cost billions of dollars. For far less cost to the international community, an expedient commercial pier can be established in little more than a month. Along with the U.S. military pier, this would provide another major entry point for humanitarian aid delivered by trusted agents while avoiding the hazards of airdrops and the challenges of overland transport from the south. – Washington Institute

Iran

The airstrike that killed top Iranian military officials in Syria on Monday threatened to put Israel into open conflict with Iran, illustrating how the countries’ long-simmering shadow war has entered a dangerous new phase. – Wall Street Journal

Iran’s supreme leader on Tuesday pledged to avenge the deaths of three commanders and four officers in Iran’s armed forces, one day after they were killed in a precision Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus. – New York Times

For decades, Israel and Iran have fought a shadow war across the Middle East, trading attacks by land, sea, air and in cyberspace. Iran has largely used foreign proxies to strike Israeli interests, while targeted assassinations of Iranian military leaders and nuclear scientists have been a key part of Israel’s strategy. – New York Times

The United States warned Iran on Tuesday not to retaliate against it for an attack on Iran’s embassy compound in Syria, telling the U.N. Security Council it had no prior warning of the strike that Tehran has blamed on Washington’s ally Israel. – Reuters

British police on Tuesday said three suspects believed to be involved in the stabbing of a journalist working for a Persian language media organization in London last week left the country within hours of the attack. – Reuters

Homayoun Sameh, the representative of the Jewish community in the Iranian parliament in Tehran, condemned Monday’s strike in the Iranian consulate in Damascus, in which a senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards was eliminated, and which was attributed to Israel. – Arutz Sheva

Marc Champion writes: Monday’s attack on the IRGC in Syria was not like Israel’s war in Gaza. The targets were carefully chosen and hit with the highest possible level of precision. Yet the risk is significant that the shadow war it was part of could now develop into a much wider and more direct conflict that sucks in larger powers. Many will look to US President Joe Biden to stop that, but whether it happens is up to Khamenei. – Bloomberg

Jon B. Alterman writes: Further restricting Iran’s actions and introducing more predictability in the Middle East would be a great improvement. Iran has learned to play the current game well, and it understands its advantages. Although the United States cannot erase all the conditions that favor Iran, it can work to level the battlefield with Iran, advance the security of U.S. partners and allies, and diminish the possibility of a U.S.-Iranian conflict that inflames the entire Middle East. – Foreign Affairs

Russia & Ukraine

More than two weeks before terrorists staged a bloody attack in the suburbs of Moscow, the U.S. government told Russian officials that Crocus City Hall, a popular concert venue, was a potential target, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter. – Washington Post

The Ukrainian soldier had been fighting the Russians on the battlefield when they came for his parents in occupied eastern Ukraine. They were taken from their home and tortured, according to Ukraine’s security service. Then, a Russian agent contacted the soldier with an ultimatum: Switch sides and spy for Russia, or his family would suffer more harm. – Washington Post

Ukraine’s air force shot down all four drones used in Russia’s overnight attack on central regions, the Ukrainian military said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for a new approach to migration after Tajiks living in Russia were detained for a deadly attack on a concert hall outside Moscow that killed at least 144 people and wounded 551 more. – Reuters

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a bill on Tuesday to lower the mobilisation age for combat duty from 27 to 25, a move that should help Ukraine generate more fighting power in its war with Russia. – Reuters

Russia has seen a significant jump in the number of people signing contracts to join the armed forces since last month’s deadly attack on a concert hall near Moscow, the defence ministry said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a shakeup of top naval posts after a series of ships in the Black Sea Fleet were lost in attacks by Ukraine. – Bloomberg

Russia has dialed down its use of its sea-launched Kalibr cruise missiles, partly because Moscow is contending with logistical issues in firing them at Ukrainian territory, according to Kyiv’s military. – Newsweek 

Ukraine has lost less than 10% of the truck-mounted Caesar howitzers it received from France and Denmark, with greater mobility resulting in a higher survival rate than for some other self-propelled or towed systems, according French manufacturer KNDS Nexter. – Defense News

Alexander J. Motyl writes: Destroying the “soul” of a nation in this way is just what Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jewish scholar who coined the word genocide, meant by the term. So, there you have it. Kirill has transformed the Russian Orthodox Church into an anti-Christian handmaiden of Putin’s fascist state. Instead of separation of church and state, Kirill has opted for subordination of church to state. – The Hill

Katya Pavlevych writes: What the House needs to realize is that no children will return to their homes if Ukraine does not receive the aid it needs for victory. Any attempt to help abducted Ukrainian children while looking for yet another excuse to delay the vote on military assistance would be akin to applying a band-aid to a broken leg. If we want our letter of the law to mean something, we should start practicing what we preach—appreciation for family values starts with actual actions taken to help children. – The National Interest

Kabir Taneja writes: This new geopolitical landscape, by default, will give terrorist groups more chances of political compromise through negotiations than ever before. The popular yet often frowned-on adage of “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter” seems to be a winning formula for those who were widely seen as critical threats yesterday but now are aspiring to be the stakeholders of tomorrow. – Foreign Policy

Turkey

Turkish inflation continued to rise last month ahead of local elections in which President Tayyip Erdogan’s party suffered a serious blow. The country’s consumer-price index, a measure of rises in domestic prices, increased by 68.50% compared with March last year, accelerating from a 67.07% annual rate in February, according to figures published Wednesday by statistics agency Turkstat. – Wall Street Journal

Turkish authorities on Tuesday prevented the newly elected mayor of a pro-Kurdish party taking up his post and announced a re-run vote in another district where President Tayyip Erdogan’s party lost, prompting legal challenges and opposition condemnation. – Reuters

An Islamist ally-turned-rival has become a new headache for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he battles to cement his authority in the wake of an historic defeat in local elections. – Bloomberg

 

Egypt

An expanded IMF agreement and major investment by the UAE provided little relief to Egypt’s non-oil private sector in March, a survey showed on Wednesday. – Reuters

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi was sworn in for a third term as expectations build for wide-ranging changes after a $50 billion international bailout warded off the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. – Bloomberg

A senior Egyptian official says that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to Jordan earlier this week focused on coordinating positions between the two countries regarding the Gaza Strip, following escalating tensions between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. – Arutz Sheva

Arabian Peninsula

Growth in the United Arab Emirates’ non-oil business sector eased a little in March, a survey showed on Wednesday, with supply constraints from shipping disruption in the Red Sea contributing to backlogs. – Reuters

Strong demand helped drive non-oil business activity in Saudi Arabia in March, with output accelerating to a six-month high, a survey showed on Wednesday. – Reuters

In Baghdad’s Green Zone, a heavily fortified legacy from Iraq’s war-torn years, the glitzy Qatar-financed Rixos hotel is taking shape, highlighting growing investment interest from Gulf Arab states. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Cyprus expressed deep concern on Tuesday over a spike in the number of largely Syrian irregular immigrants it said were coming from neighbouring Lebanon after more than 350 such arrivals were recorded in two days. – Reuters

A suspected explosive-laden drone of unknown origin struck an open area in Jordan close to Israel’s Ramon Airport, which is near the border, the military and authorities said Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Almost six months after the first Houthi missile attack aimed at Israel and six months after the first of many recurring Houthi attacks targeting international shipping routes in the Red Sea, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Tuesday signed a decree designating the Ansar Allah Movement, also known as the Houthi movement, as a formally recognized terrorist organization. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

North Korea successfully test-fired a new hypersonic missile, state news agency KCNA said on Wednesday, the latest step in a plan its leader Kim Jong Un described as aimed at using solid fuel to power its entire range of missiles. – Reuters

After decades of empty threats, much of the world tunes out when North Korea vows to unleash destruction on its enemies. But in the past few months, some prominent analysts began warning that Kim Jong Un may actually be serious about preparing for war. – Bloomberg

North Korea plans to follow up last year’s launch of a spy satellite by putting several more in orbit by the end of this year, according to state media. Pyongyang plans to make itself a “space power,” putting it on the fast track to economic and scientific prowess, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) wrote Monday in a report marking the 11th anniversary of North Korea’s space industry. – Newsweek

China

The first time Janet Yellen went to China, she was impressed. Then the top economist in Bill Clinton’s White House, she saw an economy booming with the support of Western-style market changes. – Wall Street Journal

Almost a decade ago, Ma Ying-jeou became the first Taiwanese leader to meet his Chinese counterpart one-on-one since 1949, an encounter that marked the peak of relations between the two sides. – Wall Street Journal

President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping spoke Tuesday morning, the latest in a series of intensive diplomatic efforts that have unfolded since late last year as the two sides look to advance areas of cooperation amid tense relations. – Washington Post

Niva Yau writes: China’s efforts in the region further underscore how the Middle East has become a theater of strategic competition in recent years. China understands its advantage in the region is economic in nature, but that through these economic ties it can also advance its image as a global power and, subsequently, its governance style.  Washington should take this ideological contest seriously, recognize its stakes, and respond accordingly. Beijing hopes to promote its narratives and reinforce like-minded governments partly in order to undermine relationships between these countries and the United States. In so doing, China hopes to create a model for expanding its influence around the world. – Washington Institute

South Asia

Rising crude oil prices are a cause for concern for the world’s third-largest importer of the commodity, India’s oil secretary Pankaj Jain said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Russia said on Tuesday it had important matters to discuss with Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders and was working to remove the Taliban from its list of banned terrorist organisations. – Reuters

Job creation in South Asian economies is not keeping pace with the rise in the working age population, putting the region on a path that risks “squandering its demographic dividend”, the World Bank said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Oil India (OILI.NS) plans to start its 180,000 barrels per day (bpd) Numaligarh refinery in the northeastern state of Assam by December 2025, its chairman Ranjit Rath said on Wednesday. – Reuters

An alliance led by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party is expected to get the majority votes in the country’s most populous state, according to an opinion survey published some two weeks before national elections. – Bloomberg

Asia

The Philippines will continue resupply missions to soldiers stationed in a grounded warship off Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea and China’s attempts to foil them will be met with a response, a top security official said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Indonesia’s president-elect Prabowo Subianto on Wednesday told Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida he wanted deeper security and economic cooperation just two days after telling Chinese President Xi Jinping he wished for close ties. – Reuters

Taiwan’s biggest earthquake in at least 25 years killed nine people on Wednesday, injuring more than 800, while 50 went missing en route to a national park, authorities said, as rescuers used ladders to bring others to safety. – Reuters

Mike Pompeo And Bryan Clark write: The U.S. military has been the deterrent against great power war and global first responder for nearly a century. It is at risk of losing both roles unless defense officials embrace the idea that a general-purpose U.S. force can no longer dominate every situation. The Pentagon needs to build special tools for special situations. Otherwise, an already unstable world will only grow more chaotic. – The Hill

Europe

President Emmanuel Macron of France held confidential calls with President Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in February to lay the groundwork for a Paris summit that he hoped would shake up the West’s strategy in the Ukraine war. – Wall Street Journal

To mark NATO’s anniversary, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith is hosting all the diplomats on Wednesday, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other dignitaries at her official residence outside Brussels, Truman Hall, named for President Harry S. Truman, who oversaw the alliance’s creation in 1949. – Wall Street Journal

A pile of flowers blanketed a small memorial in the center of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius after the death of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny last month. “Putin Is a Murderer,” read a placard in Russian. – New York Times

European policymakers have scaled back rules to protect nature, drawn up limits on the import of tariff-free Ukrainian grains and scrapped new legislation limiting pesticide use as farmers’ protests resonate with voters ahead of elections. – Reuters

British Foreign Minister David Cameron on Wednesday called for NATO allies to bolster defense spending and production in support of Ukraine amid the ongoing Russian invasion. – Reuters

France will propose EU-wide level sanctions on those behind spreading disinformation amid what Paris sees as growing efforts by Russia to destabilise the bloc, Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne on Tuesday. – Reuters

Norway is to increase the number of conscripted soldiers from the present 9,000 to 13,500, the Norwegian government said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Senior Alternative for Germany officials plan to quiz two lawmakers from the far-right party over their alleged links to a Europe-wide, pro-Russia disinformation network. – Bloomberg

Portuguese Prime Minister Luis Montenegro called on opposition lawmakers to be open to discussions with his center-right minority government, which needs to find backing from other parties to get budgets approved. – Bloomberg

Security forces in Portugal were called on Wednesday night to the Israeli Embassy in Lisbon, after an envelope containing suspicious substance was delivered there. – Arutz Sheva

David Kirichenko writes: In recent months, the Belarus Partisans have conducted only a few high-profile attacks. Yuliana Shemetovets, the Cyber Partisan spokeswoman, says the group is keeping a low profile in preparation “for a revolutionary situation.” A Black Swan event almost happened with last year’s mutiny of the Wagner Group in Russia. “We want to stay inside the system, extract data, and provide data to partners we trust,” said Shemetovets. When the time is right, she vows that the Cyber Partisans will be ready to unleash havoc. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Africa

New Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye on Tuesday appointed firebrand politician and key backer Ousmane Sonko as prime minister in his first act as president. – Reuters

An analysis of accounts on social media platform X that have been used to promote Russian interests in South Africa are now being utilized to rally support for a new party backed by former President Jacob Zuma, according to a director at the Centre for Information Resilience. – Bloomberg

Cameron Hudson writes: In an era of enhanced geopolitical competition, African countries have become newly empowered by their abundant choices that are upending traditional power dynamics. Either Washington accepts this new reality and finds a way to truly engage these countries as equals, as it says it intends, or else it will continue to see both its values and interests diminished on an increasingly strategic continent. – Foreign Policy

Eduardo Castellet Nogués writes: The plan also includes building refineries along the rail line and near the Lobito port, a response to China’s domination of the world’s refining capacity. If successful, the Lobito project could signal a turning point in countering China’s Belt and Road. Failure would mean allowing China to strengthen its grip on Africa — and on the continent’s critical minerals. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

The Americas

Brazil is advocating for the immunity of heads of states that are not party to treaties such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), according to a document seen by Reuters, which could favor Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the Group of 20 summit in Rio this year. – Reuters

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that a visit by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to Russia was being prepared, a sign of continued close ties between the two major oil-producing nations which are both at odds with the United States. – Reuters

For decades, Argentines could count on coming together April 2 around a steadfast claim to the islands they know as the Malvinas and — at least until recently — expect their president to share that conviction. – Associated Press

A Peruvian archbishop who sued two journalists over their reports about sexual abuse and alleged financial corruption in his religious movement, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, has resigned amid a Vatican investigation. – Associated Press

Colombia and Panama are failing to protect hundreds of thousands of migrants who cross the Darien jungle on their way to the U.S. and have become increasingly vulnerable to robberies and sexual violence, Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Wednesday. – Associated Press

North America

Haiti is witnessing an unprecedented level of human rights abuses amid a state of chaos caused by gang violence, the United Nations human rights chief said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S. government has asked the Mexican government to review allegations that a parts factory in that Nuevo Leon has denied workers their labor rights, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said on Monday. – Reuters

More than 53,000 people have fled Haiti’s capital in less than three weeks, the vast majority to escape unrelenting gang violence, according to a United Nations report released Tuesday. Associated Press

United States

The Israeli strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza is the latest example of a persistent political problem for President Biden: His approach to the Israel-Hamas war has left him squeezed on both sides. – Wall Street Journal

Last year, President Joe Biden hadn’t even spoken a word at the White House celebration of Ramadan before someone shouted out “we love you.” Hundreds of Muslims were there to mark the end of the holy month that requires fasting from sunrise to sunset. – Associated Press

The Biden administration has dismissed a deal with House Speaker Mike Johnson to tie Ukraine aid to lifting the Biden administration’s pause of new liquefied natural gas export licenses. – Bloomberg

Editorial: Biden is fooling himself if he thinks illegal crossings will not rise again. When they do, we are going to see more videos of Democratic officials begging immigrants to move on and leave their cities, and more Democratic activists calling Biden’s policies a disaster. Biden can end the crisis he created. He just needs to find the political will to do so. – Washington Examiner

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: Americans will become reconciled to their choice this fall. They will engage passionately and obstreperously in the Trump vs. Biden debate. But it’s hard not to see the choice itself as a historic tragedy in the making. Even the millions who ardently support Mr. Biden because he’s not Mr. Trump don’t particularly heed his words or have visceral confidence in his leadership. This problem isn’t going to get better in a second term. – Wall Street Journal

James P. Pinkerton writes: Such is business. However, both the U.S and Japan must think first about national security—including the security that comes from strong alliances. Given these high stakes, let’s hope that progress can be made in Washington, D.C., when Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visits President Joe Biden. A world full of danger is watching to see if good friends can get to a yes on a win-win deal. – Newsweek

J. Alex Tarquinio writes: None of this accounts for the fact that the U.N. has become more polarized over the last decade because the world has too—both between countries and within them. But in the end, it would be a mistake to write off the U.N., which still ultimately aims toward Hammarskjold’s vision. The international community must hope against hope that these good intentions push the needle back in the right direction. – Foreign Policy

Cybersecurity

In a scathing indictment of Microsoft corporate security and transparency, a Biden administration-appointed review board issued a report Tuesday saying “a cascade of errors” by the tech giant let state-backed Chinese cyber operators break into email accounts of senior U.S. officials including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. – Associated Press

Apple’s new development in AI aims to take on OpenAI’s GPT products and may make your interactions with virtual assistants like Siri more intuitive. – Business Insider

Thursday’s notice of proposed rulemaking sets the stage for a landmark shift in how the U.S. government understands the prevalence and severity of cybersecurity incidents. – Cyberscoop

Defense

From the air control tower at the center of the U.S. Navy’s largest jet base, the roar of fighter engines is inescapable. It’s coming from the rows of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets — and, increasingly, F-35C Joint Strike Fighters — on the flight line, going through routine maintenance before hitting the skies. – Defense News

The first three F-16 Fighting Falcons that will be loaded with self-flying technology have arrived at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, the Air Force said Tuesday. – Defense News

The U.S. Army is considering pre-positioning stock in Europe’s High North amid Finland and Sweden officially joining NATO, according to the deputy chief of Army Materiel Command. – Defense News

Several of the U.S. Navy’s top shipbuilding programs are running one year to three years behind schedule, as the service and the industrial base grapple with workforce and management challenges. – Defense News

A new Pentagon strategy for integrating commercial and military space capabilities calls for greater protection for private sector satellites targeted by hostile nations, noting that the U.S. could use force to defend those systems. – Defense News

The U.S. military spends billions on replacement parts for aircraft each year, with the Air Force requesting $1.5 billion for parts in the next fiscal year alone. Now, officials at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, working with a startup called Machina Labs, say they’ve found a robotic AI-driven solution to those high costs. – Defense One

Editorial: Acknowledging that a foreign adversary has the capability to harm Americans with a new weapon also won’t please the U.S. public. The intelligence community may also worry, perhaps at the request of senior officials, about the implications if Russia is to blame. The U.S. might have another brawl with Vladimir Putin to handle. – Wall Street Journal

William Walldorf writes: A casualty event like Black Hawk Down or, more recently, Jordan could be just over the horizon in Niger. Those costs aren’t worth the benefits of keeping U.S. forces in Niger. All military operations eventually run their course. Niger has reached that point for the United States. Time to draw down forces. The Biden administration won’t regret it. They’ll have the Nigerien junta and its decision to kick us out this month to thank for that. – The Hill

James Holmes writes: In short, sprearing out capability imparts staying power. A fleet in which everything that floats fights can absorb punishment and persevere on to victory. Which is the point of naval operations. Demonstrating the ability to operate in distributed fashion would convey to prospective foes like China that the U.S. sea services and fraternal armed forces are a tough if not impossible nut to crack. That could give party overseers in Beijing pause. And giving hostile leaders pause when strife looms constitutes the essence of deterrence. – The National Interest