Fdd's overnight brief

April 5, 2022

In The News


Western leaders vowed to investigate alleged war crimes in Ukraine and impose new penalties on Moscow over purported Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians that have sparked international condemnation and outrage. – Wall Street Journal 

As Russian troops amassed at Ukraine’s border in early December, White House officials pored over multiple versions of a highly classified map that detailed Moscow’s burgeoning military presence. – Wall Street Journal 

U.S. and Spanish authorities seized a $90 million super yacht in Spain that they said is owned by a sanctioned oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, marking the first such seizure in the Biden administration’s efforts to hunt down the luxury real estate, private jets, yachts and other assets of Russian elites stashed around the globe. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia’s apparent retreat from Kyiv and retrenchment into Ukraine’s easternmost regions marks the latest sign that the war is at an inflection point — one that U.S. officials believe could portend even uglier fighting to come. – Washington Post  

The U.N. Security Council will meet on Tuesday as the United States and Europe threaten to further isolate President Vladimir V. Putin and demand that he be held accountable for possible war crimes by Russian forces outside the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. – New York Times 

The United States stopped the Russian government on Monday from paying holders of its sovereign debt more than $600 million from reserves held at American banks, in a move meant to ratchet up pressure on Moscow and eat into its holdings of U.S. dollars. – Reuters 

Russia will respond proportionately to the expulsion of its diplomats from a number of Western countries, Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev said late on Monday. – Reuters 

Russia’s foreign ministry said it would reiterate its request for the U.N. Security Council to meet on Monday over what Moscow called the “criminal provocations by Ukrainian soldiers and radicals” in the town of Bucha near Kyiv. – Reuters 

The United States will ask the U.N. General Assembly to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday, after Ukraine accused Russian troops of killing dozens of civilians in the town of Bucha. – Reuters 

Roughly two-thirds of the Russian troops that had been amassed around Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv have since left, a senior U.S. defense official told reporters on Monday, adding that the troops will likely be redeployed to another part of the country. – Washington Examiner 

From satellite jamming over Eastern Europe to Russia’s testing of an anti-satellite weapon, analysts tracking counterspace threats say the last year has brought confirmation of several troubling predictions – and 2022 will likely continue those trends. – Defense News 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy planned to speak Tuesday to U.N. Security Council diplomats outraged by growing evidence that Russian forces deliberately killed civilians, many of them shot in yards, streets and homes, and their bodies left in the open. – Associated Press 

The US and France called for a significant escalation of sanctions against Russia after reports of atrocities by its forces in Ukraine, with Emmanuel Macron urging a ban on Russian oil and coal imports and Joe Biden proposing a trial for war crimes. – Financial Times 

Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russians would begin a campaign to “hide their guilt” in the territories of Ukraine that remain under Moscow’s control, after its troops retreating from Kyiv’s suburbs in recent days left behind the corpses of hundreds of civilians. – Financial Times 

When President Joe Biden told the world from Warsaw on March 26 that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” the White House quickly sought to downplay the U.S. leader’s remarks, noting that Biden’s remarks were not a call for “regime change” in Moscow. – Newsweek 

Editorial: A war crimes investigation needn’t start with Mr. Putin, and it might be better if it didn’t. […]The indictments should name individuals and the specific crimes that occurred in the areas under their command. The names and charges, once announced, are sure to become known to the Russian forces. Perhaps it will concentrate minds about the dirty war they have been asked to prosecute and the trouble Mr. Putin has put them in. This may also be a prosecution better done by Europeans than by the U.S. They are the people most acutely threatened by the war, and Mr. Putin would only be too happy to turn this into a Russo-U.S. fight. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: In the end, the war against Ukraine is about whether a people who want to build a democracy, to choose their own leaders and to shape their own future, can be cowed into submission by an armed force; whether the sickening inhumanity of murdering residents in Bucha with a bullet to the back of the head will destroy the will of all Ukraine to resist. Instead, it must strengthen their resolve and boost the willpower of all nations supporting Ukraine to decisively defeat the Russian invasion. – Washington Post 

Rebecca Grant writes: Watch for Russia to ramp up the ground war. Russian spokesmen said they will focus on the Donbas. Russia may still be hampered by the stodgy command and control that slowed its Kyiv advance but fighting near its own borders could reduce logistics problems. Mercenaries from the Wagner Group will join other Russian reinforcements. Don’t forget there are actual trenches in parts of the Donbass. The best way to bring peace is through Ukraine’s defeat of Russia on the battlefield. It can’t be done without more of America’s help. – Fox News 

Edward Fishman and Chris Miller write: Although the Biden administration does not need congressional authorization for the sanctions, a congressional mandate would give the measures teeth and staying power—and, critically, make the threat of secondary sanctions indisputably credible. These actions would isolate Russia from the global economy and dry up its main source of hard currency—oil sales. Such a strategy might not end Russia’s war against Ukraine. But it would ensure that Putin’s horrific violence carries enduring costs, and it would curb Russia’s ability to fund its military machine in the future. – Foreign Affairs 


The United States is responsible for the pause in talks between Tehran and world powers in Vienna aimed at reviving their 2015 nuclear deal, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Monday. – Reuters 

The United States still believes there is an opportunity to overcome the remaining differences with Iran in talks over its nuclear program, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday. – Reuters 

Iran’s oil production capacity has returned to the same level as prior to the reimposition of sanctions in 2018, when the US unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear deal, a top official said. – Agence France-Presse  

Iran will only return to Vienna to finalize an agreement to revive its landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday. – Agence France-Presse


As Israel grapples with a surge of terror attacks, one of the government’s more left-leaning ministers told Jewish Insider last week that the way to combat extremist violence is to bring the Palestinians into the wave of regional normalization deals sparked by the Abraham Accords. – Jewish Insider 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett will continue to be responsible for Israel’s strategy in confronting the Iranian threat even after his rotation for the premiership with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, sources close to the prime minister confirmed on Monday. – Jerusalem Post 

Gaza’s Hamas rulers prevented the Palestinian Islamic Jihad from firing rockets toward Israel after three of the latter terror group’s operatives were killed in a West Bank firefight with Israeli security forces over the weekend, the Kan public broadcaster reported Monday. – Times of Israel  

The regime in Jordan is facing increasing criticism at home and especially amid the warming of relations with Israel, which has recently been reflected in the signing of bilateral agreements and a series of visits by senior Israeli officials to Amman – Arutz Sheva  

Israel Police is bracing itself for a series of commemorative dates throughout April and May that could potentially spark nationwide chaos, a top-brass police officer told Ynet on Monday. – Ynet  

Military chief Aviv Kohavi said Monday that the Israel Defense Forces had foiled nearly a dozen terror attacks in the past two weeks, amid heightened tensions following several deadly attacks, as well as gunbattles with terror group members in the West Bank. – Times of Israel 

Editorial: Saying that the government can’t fully respond to terrorism because of Ra’am is a complete lie. We see the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), and the police responding when needed – just like the successful operation in Jenin on Saturday when a group of Islamic Jihad terrorists was killed on their way to attack Israelis. – Jerusalem Post 

Lahav Harkov writes: But since entering office, the Biden administration has done all it can to make the Taylor Force Act irrelevant by granting hundreds of billions of dollars to organizations that prop up the Palestinian Authority without demanding changes or reforms. […]It only served to broadcast what seems obvious at this point, that discouraging terrorism and putting an end to the Palestinian Authority’s murder-for-hire policy is not really on the administration’s agenda. It speaks volumes about who the Biden administration sees as the conflict’s victims and who its perpetrators; not even four terrorist attacks and 11 martyrs could change that. – Newsweek 


Arab countries have expressed willingness to mediate between Russia and Ukraine, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said during a press conference in Moscow on Monday. – Reuters 

Gulf Arab states are channelling up to $22 billion to Egypt to help it overcome a currency crisis, the third such rescue in a decade, as analysts watch for greater exchange rate flexibility to avert future crises. – Reuters 

On March 26, 2022, the Saudi Al-Arabiya television channel reported, citing Egyptian sources, that the Egyptian armed forces and the Sinai Tribes Union had thwarted an attempt by several ISIS operatives to infiltrate Sinai from Gaza, killing three of the operatives and capturing three others. One of the operatives who was killed was identified as Mus’ab Mutawa’, aka Abu Jamil Al-Ghazzawi. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Gulf States

Airbus has revoked the contract for a third A350 ordered by Qatar Airways after the Gulf carrier rejected delivery in an ongoing dispute over damage to the surface of the long-haul jets, two people familiar with the matter said. – Reuters 

The U.S. is committed to the defense of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf allies that face threats from Yemeni Houthi fighters, a U.S. official said Monday, as a fragile truce took hold in Yemen’s war. – Bloomberg 

Samuel Ramani writes: Although Iraq has avoided taking sides in Russia’s war with Ukraine, the conflict could exacerbate factional divisions and profoundly impact the Iraqi economy’s near-term trajectory. While the strides made in Russia-Iraq cooperation over the past decade are unlikely to be destroyed by the war, Baghdad is likely to limit its cooperation with Moscow to essential spheres and overcome the impact of sanctions by embracing a genuinely multipolar foreign policy. – Middle East Institute 

Bilal Y. Saab and Karen E. Young write: It is possible to envision improved ties between the United States and its Gulf Arab partners. But Washington will need to acknowledge the real security threats the Gulf faces from Iran and its proxies, and the Gulf Arab monarchies will need to continue to embrace the benefits and potential domestic political risks of an open global political economy. Only a more effective, transparent, and comprehensive dialogue, supported by leadership on both sides, can get this roughly eight-decade-long partnership on a new track. – Foreign Policy 

Middle East & North Africa

Lebanon Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh on Monday denied that the institution he has led for 30 years was bankrupt and said it was still going about its legally-mandated role despite losses in the financial sector. – Reuters 

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan slammed a move by Tunisia’s leader to dissolve its parliament last week as a “smearing of democracy” and a blow to the will of the Tunisian people. – Reuters 

John Calabrese writes: If Beijing and Washington were to misplay their hands, the secondary impacts of the war in Ukraine for MENA countries would likely mean they would have to face the threat of the extraterritorial application of US sanctions. This, in turn, would impose the impossible choices they have sought to avoid, causing US-MENA relations to further fray while raising the prospect of a region roiled not just by competing interests and agendas but by an overlay of heightened US-China strategic rivalry. – Middle East Institute 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea opposes war but would use nuclear weapons if South Korea attacked, Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Tuesday, in a warning that analysts said is probably aimed at the South’s incoming conservative president. – Reuters 

A team of foreign policy and security advisers to South Korea’s president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol is visiting the United States this week, seeking to help engineer a early summit with President Joe Biden and coordinate efforts to rein in North Korea’s intensifying weapons tests, sources said on Monday. – Reuters 

The United States plans to introduce a new resolution in the UN Security Council in response to North Korea’s most recent ballistic missile tests, Washington’s special envoy for North Korean affairs said Monday. – Agence France-Presse 

Toby Dalton writes: With North Korea resuming a testing campaign for long-range missiles and possibly nuclear weapons, it is critical for the Yoon and Biden administrations to get out in front of a brewing crisis with actions to strengthen the alliance and messaging of solidarity. The best way to dissuade Kim from attempting nuclear coercion is to demonstrate why it will fail. – War on the Rocks 


Kim Yo Jong, believed to be at least 33 years old, is a senior North Korean official helping oversee the country’s policies toward the U.S. and South Korea, according to Seoul’s intelligence agency. – Wall Street Journal 

When China tapped career bureaucrat Carrie Lam to become Hong Kong’s top official in 2017, she was widely viewed as a conciliatory figure, pledging to heal divisions surrounding the city’s pro-democracy struggles. Instead, Mrs. Lam, who said Monday that she wouldn’t seek a second term, citing family reasons, has presided over the most divisive period since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule a quarter-century ago. – Wall Street Journal

While Russian troops have battered Ukraine, officials in China have been meeting behind closed doors to study a Communist Party-produced documentary that extols President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia as a hero. – New York Times  

A call between top diplomats from China and Ukraine sends a fresh signal that President Xi Jinping could soon speak with Volodymyr Zelenskiy for the first time since Russia’s invasion more than a month ago. – Bloomberg 

China’s “breathtaking expansion” of its strategic and nuclear arsenal is a quickly escalating risk for the U.S., the head of U.S. Strategic Command plans to tell lawmakers at a closed-door hearing on Tuesday. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: The death of free Hong Kong was planned in Beijing, but Carrie Lam will go down in history as its chief executioner. […]Her biggest offense may be that she and other Hong Kong officials continue to pretend that Hong Kong retains its autonomy and independent rule of law. Beijing will appoint her successor, and repression is now part of the job description. At least Ms. Lam’s tenure is a warning to democratic Taiwan about its fate if it succumbs to Chinese Communist Party rule. – Wall Street Journal  

Tom Rogan writes: That’s how the Marine Corps must operate to prevail against the PLA. Gen. Berger wants small groups of Marines to be able to seize artificial island territories in the South China Sea. His plan would enable Marines to rapidly establish potent combat units on Taiwan and the Philippines. […]The Marines would then seek to protect these territories as strongholds to support the supply and forward projection of other U.S. and allied forces as well as the collection of intelligence for targeting PLA units. – Wall Street Journal 

Matthew Brooker writes: So Lam’s departure should not be misinterpreted as China’s government belatedly responding to public pressure. […]Only one potential candidate has surfaced so far in local media: John Lee, Lam’s No. 2 and a former secretary for security and deputy police commissioner. That hints at how Beijing continues to view Hong Kong: through a security prism that supersedes all other considerations, including its role as a financial hub. There is no reason to expect this to change. – Bloomberg 

Odd Arne Westad writes: Ramping up pressure against Russia while showing China how its close association with Putin works against stabilization of Sino-American or Sino-European relations is the best we can do. It might not be enough to save Ukraine from further destruction. But it may make great-power war less likely by convincing at least some Chinese policymakers that Putin’s interests and their own are not as easily compatible as both sides now seem to believe. – Foreign Affairs 

Derek Scissors writes: In terms of internal Chinese finance, the United States cannot force any sort of crisis; but it can force some spending trade-offs by halting the flow of capital that has taken place since 2016. If Japan and the richer parts of the EU were to join in restricting investment in China, Beijing’s past and current choices to accumulate debt and suppress private wealth creation would come home to roost, threatening the funds otherwise available for military and security forces, industrial subsidies, technology development, and elder care. – American Purpose 

Anthony H. Cordesman writes: There is a very real cultural difference between China and the West in addressing the need for integrated civil and military strategies, and China seems much more committed to integrating civil and military activity at every level. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Jeremy Greenwood and Shuxian Luo write: The western Arctic states need a pragmatic, long-term view that acknowledges the benefits of sustainable Arctic development with China playing a meaningful role. […]These countries should also keep China engaged in multilateral Arctic diplomacy, be that through the resuscitation of the Arctic Council or the institutionalization of some alternative platforms, to ensure that China continues to adhere to the agreed international legal framework in pursuing its Arctic aspirations. – War on the Rocks 

South Asia

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday that it is monitoring political and economic developments in Sri Lanka “very closely” as public unrest in the island nation grows amid its worst economic crisis in decades. – Reuters 

Pakistan’s top court will on Tuesday resume its deliberations on the legality of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attempt to block an opposition bid to oust him, a dispute that has led to political turmoil in the nuclear-armed country. – Reuters 

Sri Lanka’s parliament will convene Tuesday in its first session since a state of emergency was imposed as the country grapples with protests and mounting demands for the president’s resignation over a worsening economic crisis. – Agence France-Presse  


Australia has accelerated plans to buy long-range strike missiles years ahead of schedule because of growing threats posed by Russia and China. – Associated Press  

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further dampened the economic prospects for developing countries in east Asia and the Pacific, meaning lower economic growth and higher poverty in the region this year, the World Bank has warned. – The Guardian 

Heather Nauert and Amy K. Mitchell write: The U.S. must uphold its commitment to finding safe and permanent resettlement options for those who worked alongside Americans for the past 20 years. The government must also fix the cumbersome bureaucratic process which currently mires thousands of Afghans and their advocates in red tape. And finally, the moral injury inflicted upon America’s veterans must be addressed. As Ukraine has proven, we’ve seen what the world can do. It’s time to apply that same determination on behalf of the people of Afghanistan. – The Hill 


German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, long an advocate of Western rapprochement with Russia, expressed regret for his earlier stance, saying his years of support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline had been a clear mistake. – Reuters 

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner on Monday rejected a European Union embargo on Russian gas imports as mounting civilian deaths in Ukraine increase pressure on the bloc to impose sanctions on Russia’s energy sector. – Reuters 

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is set to call for tougher sanctions on Moscow during a visit to Poland on Monday following evidence of civilian killings in Ukraine which she blamed on Russia. – Reuters 

The Pentagon plans to order and send to Ukraine 10 of the newest model Switchblade drones armed with tank-busting warheads in addition to previously announced deliveries of a less powerful version, according to two people familiar with the decision. – Bloomberg 

Germany is expelling 40 staff members at the Russian embassy in Berlin with suspected links to spy agencies as a first response to the killing of Ukrainian civilians in the town of Bucha. France is kicking out 35 diplomats as well, two foreign ministry officials said. – Bloomberg 

Lithuania has become the first member of the European Union to end its dependence on natural gas from Russia, the bloc’s biggest supplier of the fuel, according to the Baltic country’s energy minister. – Bloomberg 

Poland’s most powerful politician said he “might be open” to the US stationing nuclear weapons in his nation, a neighbor to Ukraine — drawing condemnation Monday from the Kremlin, which warned it would only heighten tensions amid fears of atomic war. – New York Post 

Germany has received approval from Israel and the United States to purchase the Arrow-3 missile defense system. – Jerusalem Post 

Robert A. Manning writes: There is a tendency to confuse Western consensus with global consensus. This nascent grouping may evolve into an informal non-aligned network. This would further fragment the global system. Moreover, many have economic or arms supply ties to Russia and major and investment ties to China. If past is prologue, they are likely to play off the West and a Sino-Russian pole for advantage depending on the issue. Regardless of how and when the Ukraine war ends, we are already seeing economic and strategic fallout that is shaping a rocky future. – The Hill 


French, American and European officials have expressed serious concerns about allegations that hundreds of people were killed last week in a town in the West African nation of Mali by Malian soldiers accompanied by Russian mercenaries on a campaign to fight insurgents. – New York Times 

They were known as the janjaweed, the armed militia men who came racing on camels and horses at dawn, moving fast to kill and rape, burning huts and leaving another village destroyed in the Darfur region of Sudan’s impoverished far west. Their leader, Ali Kushayb, stood out for his ruthless efficiency in the government-led campaign to crush a 2003 rebellion in Darfur. On Tuesday, a defendant by that name went on trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he is charged with 32 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including persecution, pillaging, murder and rape, all of which he denies. – New York Times  

A Rwandan appeals court on Monday upheld a 25-year jail sentence for Paul Rusesabagina, who was portrayed in the movie “Hotel Rwanda” sheltering hundreds of people during the 1994 genocide, rejecting a bid to extend it to life in prison. – Reuters 

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) cannot account for 168 people following an attack on a train last week in which eight people were killed and several wounded, the company has said. – Reuters 

Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 21 civilians in an overnight attack on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local human rights group and a witness said on Monday. – Reuters 

Michael Rubin writes: Biden may still impose Africa bans, but he omits the over-the-top rhetoric. But when rhetorical style is stripped away, there really is not much difference between Trump’s attitudes toward Africa and Biden’s practices. Biden’s team will deny racism shapes their policy, but the only other explanation is dysfunction and neglect. Either way, the response to the Hargeisa fire is only the tip of the iceberg to a very disturbing trend within the White House and the State Department when it comes to Africa. – Washington Examiner

The Americas

Canada’s Centerra Gold Inc. said it has agreed to hand control of its expropriated gold mine to Kyrgyzstan’s government in a deal that was approved Monday. – Wall Street Journal 

Chilean voters are cooling on a planned new constitution to replace the current Augusto Pinochet-era text, opinion polls on Monday showed, with those opposing the redraft surpassing those who plan to approve it for the first time. – Reuters 

Pope Francis’s long-awaited apology to Canada’s indigenous community for more than a century of abusive residential schools, many of them run by the Catholic Church, should be followed by millions of dollars in compensation and the release of residential school records, survivors and indigenous leaders said. – Reuters 

Canada said on Monday it will impose sanctions on nine Russian and nine Belarusian individuals for having “facilitated and enabled” Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

United States

The US successfully tested a hypersonic missile in mid-March but kept it quiet for two weeks to avoid escalating tensions with Russia as President Joe Biden was about to travel to Europe, according to a defense official familiar with the matter. – CNN 

American journalist James Foley’s terrorist captors never made serious attempts to negotiate for a ransom before brutally beheading the New Hampshire native in 2013, his family testified on Monday. – New York Post 

Editorial: Ukraine wants Vladimir Putin to understand that he cannot win — that the more the Russian president insists on salvaging some meager victory, the greater the risk to his military, his power structures, and Russia’s economy. But Biden, despite having the power to make this happen, seems intent upon drawing defeat from the jaws of victory. He must find the courage to make a better choice. – Washington Examiner 

Tom Rogan writes: Biden should call for Russian flagged vessels of any kind to be denied access to international ports. He should push Israel to seize the assets of Russian-Israeli oligarchs who have relocated there. In concert with Britain (which seeks a stronger response to Russia’s invasion), Biden should significantly escalate the supply of artillery and tactical drones to Ukrainian forces. These weapons could annihilate Russian logistics trains and lines of communications. He should push nations further afield such as Japan to end their engagement with more lucrative Russian dealings in the energy sector. – Washington Examiner 

Kori Schake writes: Defense is expensive. It’s inefficient. But it is an essential insurance policy designed to guarantee that the United States can protect itself, its allies, and its interests. Americans have allowed their military to atrophy, and they urgently need to restore both its reach and its punch. […]Washington needs to make up the gap before its adversaries gain too much ground. This should be a wake-up call. The United States must drop the excuses that have led it to so perilously underfund its defense. – Foreign Affairs 


The Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy officially launched Monday at the State Department, with wide latitude to develop policy on diplomatic issues related to technology and the internet. – Cyberscoop 

The long-running cybercrime group FIN7, known for breaking into payment systems and corporate networks, has been moving into ransomware operations, according to researchers at security firm Mandiant. – Cyberscoop  

Days after CyberScoop exclusively reported the White House is considering scaling back a Trump-era policy giving the Department of Defense and U.S. Cyber Command broad authorities to launch cyber-operations, conflict erupted in Washington about the wisdom of such a move. – Cyberscoop  

The email marketing company Mailchimp said its network was breached followed a social engineering attack. – Bloomberg 


The U.S. Army’s Victor-model Black Hawk utility helicopter is now cleared to fly in national airspace, Brig. Gen. Robert Barrie, the program executive officer for Army aviation, told Defense News at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual conference. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army in fiscal year 2023 is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for its Integrated Visual Augmentation System, a do-it-all headset that has faced challenges in the field and in the halls of Congress. – Defense News 

Editorial: Congress last year intervened to buy more ships, and it will need to come to the rescue again. Promising ideas for making the most out of ships in the water: Outfitting the littoral combat ships with the long-range Naval Strike Missile, or tying up the poor old cruisers to do air defense over Guam. But the Navy’s proposal to retire two dozen ships to save $3.6 billion over five years—a tiny fraction of the service’s budget, as Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria has pointed out—suggests the institution lacks a strategy as well as money. Americans have grown accustomed to peaceful seas over the past 70 years, but that luxury will fade if the U.S. Navy does. – Wall Street Journal 

Mark R. Whittington writes: The lunar settlement could grow to something more than a science research base. Lunar miners would be able to use it as a base of operations to extract minerals from the moon and transport them to microgravity factories in Earth orbit. New industries and new wealth could be created. All in all, the moon’s economic development is a more compelling vision than Apollo 2.0. – The Hill