Fdd's overnight brief

August 10, 2020

In The News


The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has asked the United Nations to extend an international arms embargo on Iran, a move pushed strongly by the United States. – Reuters

Iran said on Monday that countries should refrain from politicising the massive blast in Beirut last week, and that the United States should lift sanctions against Lebanon. – Reuters

A senior Iranian official said on Friday there was no difference between the outgoing and incoming U.S. special envoys for Iran because American officials “bite off more than they can chew”. – Reuters

Iran is urging the United Nations to hold the United States accountable for the interception of an Iranian passenger plane by two U.S. fighter jets in the skies over Syria last month, which it called an “unlawful” and an “adventuristic act.” – Associated Press

An unknown gunman has killed two Lebanese nationals on the streets of the Iranian capital, local media reported on Saturday. – Associated Press

The Trump administration’s Iran strategy will face a key test this week as the United States calls for a vote at the United Nations on its resolution to extend an arms embargo against the Islamic Republic. – The Hill

Iran’s regime is watching carefully changes in Washington as US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook is departing his post. A key element in the maximum pressure campaign against Iran, he will be replaced by Elliot Abrams, US special representative for Venezuela. – Jerusalem Post

On the day after the massive explosion in Lebanon, Iran’s Foreign Minister was in full solidarity mode. At least in English he was. Meanwhile in Iran little was being done for Lebanon and there appeared to be little interest in the strategy among the plethora of state and IRGC-linked media. Now, on August 8, four days after the blast that left more than 130 dead, 60 missing and thousands injured, there is still little interest. Why? – Jerusalem Post

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday welcomed the Gulf Cooperation Council’s call for an extension of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran, and urged the UN Security Council to listen. – Arutz Sheva


Hezbollah’s leader, Hasan Nasrallah, warned Friday not to hold the Shiite militia responsible for the massive blast at Beirut’s port, as many Lebanese point to Hezbollah as a source of problems that helped bring about the tragedy. – Washington Post

French President Emmanuel Macron has told U.S. President Donald Trump that U.S. sanctions that have targeted Iran-backed Shi’ite group Hezbollah are playing into the hands of those they are meant to weaken, including Iran, an Elysee official said on Saturday. – Reuters

Hezbollah apparently planned to use the ammonium nitrate stockpile that caused a massive bast at Beirut’s port this week against Israel in a “Third Lebanon War,” according to an unsourced assessment publicized on Israel’s Channel 13 Friday night. – Times Of Israel

Political leaders have been absent since the explosion, with the president and politicians close to Hezbollah spreading rumors that the explosion was caused by “foreign” interference and Hezbollah denying it has responsibility. Protesters hanged an effigy of the Hezbollah leader during protests Saturday. – Jerusalem Post

Hezbollah has eyed Israel’s Haifa Port but had not stored explosives at the Beirut Port and had no connection to Tuesday’s blast there, the organization’s leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday. – Jerusalem Post

Despite last Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut, which left at least 158 people dead, dozens missing and thousands injured and homeless, Lebanon’s biggest problem is Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Defense Minister Benny Gantz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Edy Cohen writes: The situation in Lebanon is very serious, but as long as it tolerates Hezbollah and its vast supply of illegal weaponry, the World Bank, the Western countries, and many Arab countries will refuse to assist it. As Hezbollah will never give up its weapons, the future for Lebanon looks extremely grim. – Algemeiner

Ron Prosor writes: Since 2006, German Navy vessels are patrolling Lebanon’s territorial waters. Believe it or not, they do that at the request of Lebanon’s own government, which asked for this assistance in order to help enforce resolution 1701 after the Second Lebanon War. All the mechanisms and methods are already there. What is missing is the will and decision to implement them. We should not ask for whom the bell tolls – it tolls loud and clear for the leaders of Europe. If they don’t act now to save Lebanon from Hezbollah and Iran, they may never get another chance. – Jerusalem Post


In the first two weeks of August a series of incidents in the desert regions and areas adjoining the Euphrates River in eastern Syria have seen an uptick in assassinations and protests. This area is controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the main anti-ISIS force backed by the United States. – Jerusalem Post

At least 43 Syrian nationals were among those killed in a massive explosion in the port of Beirut on Tuesday that destroyed parts of the Lebanese capital, Al-Mayadeen TV channel said on Saturday, citing the Syrian embassy in Lebanon. – Reuters

Iran now has a military presence in 10 governorates in Syria that includes no fewer than 125 outposts of its Revolutionary Guards Corps and pro-Iranian militias, the Turkish research institute Jusoor revealed in a study published earlier this month. – Israel Hayom


Turkey is ready to help rebuild the port of Beirut, which was destroyed by a massive blast on Tuesday, Turkish Vice-President Fuat Oktay said during a visit to Lebanon on Saturday. – Reuters

Turkey’s navy has issued an advisory saying that the Turkish ship Oruc Reis will carry out a seismic survey in the eastern Mediterranean over the next two weeks, a step likely to revive tensions with NATO ally Greece. – Reuters

Turkey’s president called a maritime deal between Greece and Egypt “worthless” Friday and said his country would resume its disputed oil and gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean. – Associated Press

Michael Rubin writes: Rather than bolster security in the Eastern Mediterranean, State Department equivocation has undermined it. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may slow-roll Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act implementation out of deference to President Trump, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. The State Department has a huge Turkey problem, and until it begins operating in conformity to U.S. law and congressional intent, for a single purpose and as part of a coherent national strategy, and in conformity to U.S. interests, the national security of the U.S. will suffer. – Washington Examiner


The Israeli military said late Sunday that it struck a Hamas target in the northern Gaza Strip in response to the continued launches of explosives-laden balloons from the Palestinian territory into Israel. – Associated Press

A Palestinian woman died Friday after being shot in the chest by an apparent stray bullet during an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. – Associated Press

The Israel Air Force’s second F-35i Adir squadron was officially declared operational on Sunday, six months after it was opened. Based out of Nevatim in southern Israel, the 116th Lions of the South squadron will now take part in IAF operational activity. – Jerusalem Post

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi met with the troops that foiled the attack along the Syrian border last week, telling the Maglan force that it stopped a cell that had been sent by Iran. – Jerusalem Post

A suspicious object attached to a set of balloons was found in an agricultural area within the Eshkol region, which was suspected to have come from the Gaza Strip. – Jerusalem Post

A Palestinian terrorist from Gaza has been arrested and charged with the 2010 murder of two Israeli soldiers after he entered Israel to donate bone marrow to his brother. – Algemeiner

The Israeli security establishment has signaled that it is prepared to retaliate strongly against continuing incendiary balloon attacks on the country’s southern region, even if it means escalation. – Algemeiner

IDF forces today conducted a tour of the area where the bomb attack in the southern Golan Heights was thwarted last night. During the tour, weapons and a bag were found, containing a number of explosive devices that were ready to be used against an IDF force, 25 meters from the perimeter fence, inside Israeli territory. – Arutz Sheva

Omer Dostri writes: In any case, the conditions of the current reality are considered relatively favorable in the event of an opening a war, and Israel must take the risk.[…] In the end, a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon is inevitable (a question of when and not whether), and the organization is getting stronger militarily from day to day. It is possible that the appropriate “when” is now. – Jerusalem Post

Shimon Samuels writes: We were counting on Fidel Castro’s interest to reveal this outrageous behavior of Cuba’s pre-revolutionary government and of US State Department pre-War policy. […]The Gulf War ended on February 28, 1991. Saddam is gone, as is Fidel. Cuba today is “Communism light,” yet ironically, it is one of the most hostile states to Israel on the international scene. – Jerusalem Post


President Emmanuel Macron of France called on world leaders to fast-track financial and humanitarian aid to Lebanon on Sunday after explosions last week decimated parts of Beirut and left more than 150 people dead. – New York Times

About 2,750 tons of improperly stored ammonium nitrate ignited Tuesday in Lebanon’s capital in an explosion that devastated Beirut. […]This also isn’t the first time that stockpiles of ammonium nitrate have exploded. The dangerous chemical, used in both fertilizer and bombmaking, has previously ignited in deadly incidents, including in the United States, China and France. – Washington Post

Lebanon’s government was in crisis Sunday as key ministers resigned after the massive blast that gutted parts of the capital last week and demonstrators furious with the country’s ruling elite took to the streets for a second day. – Washington Post

A Lebanese judge on Monday began questioning the heads of the country’s security agencies over last week’s devastating blast in Beirut as another Cabinet minister resigned in protest. – Associated Press

Lebanon’s president has rejected calls for an international inquiry into the blast that ripped through Beirut and killed more than 150 people, as anger grows over government incompetence. – Financial Times

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Saturday discussed Lebanon’s urgent humanitarian, medical and reconstruction needs following Tuesday’s devastating blast at Beirut port. – Reuters

The U.S. government supports Lebanese demonstrators’ right to peaceful protest and urges all involved to refrain from violence, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut said on Saturday. – Reuters

Pope Francis urged the people of Lebanon on Sunday to work together in the wake of the devastating port blast to give birth to a new “free and strong” coexistence. – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he will join a conference call with Lebanon’s president and other world leaders on Sunday to discuss aid to Lebanon in the wake of this week’s devastating Beirut port explosion. – Reuters

President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron spoke over the phone Friday about working with other countries to send immediate aid to Lebanon, the White House and the Élysée said. – Politico

Two of the most powerful countries in the Middle East that will seek to influence Lebanon in the wake of the explosion that gutted the port of Beirut – and has killed and injured thousands of people – are concerned about protests upsetting their plans. Media in Iran and Turkey were noticeably silent on the massive protests in Beirut on Saturday. Sunday morning found few if any reports in the pro-government media of both states. – Jerusalem Post

The massive explosions that rocked Beirut this week are posing a test for how the U.S. and international community provide humanitarian assistance amid frustration with corruption among Lebanon’s political leaders. – The Hill

John U. Bacon writes: As vital as the large commitments are, these smaller gestures will likely resonate with Beirut’s citizens long after the rubble is cleared.[…] The generosity that flowed into Halifax showed human kindness could not be erased even by the greatest man-made explosion the world had ever seen. Of the many lessons Canada’s disaster holds for Beirut — and a watching world eager to help — that might prove to be the most lasting. – Washington Post

David Gardner writes: Mr Macron, who was warmly received on Thursday in the streets of Beirut, where almost no Lebanese politician would dare appear, insisted there would be no international bailout without real reforms.[…] That requires the political clear-out called for by last October’s civic uprising — and rallying a nation that has been brought to its knees. – Financial Times

Arabian Peninsula

A large ship filled with explosive materials sitting incapacitated for years in the water. Experts repeatedly sounding alarms, warning of a major but preventable catastrophe. Yet the warnings were ignored.[…] Except that this scenario is unfolding off the western coast of Yemen, threatening to trigger the world’s worst-ever oil spill and untold ecological damage. – Washington Post

An unconfirmed but large number of civilians, including children, were killed in air strikes in northern Yemen on Thursday, the United Nations said. – Reuters

The Trump administration has issued a rare rebuke of Saudi Arabia over the detention of two of the adult children of a former Saudi intelligence official who has been credited with protecting Americans from al-Qaida threats. – The Guardian

Editorial: Mr. Aljabri alleges in his complaint that the crown prince threatened him on WhatsApp on Sept. 10, 2017, that if he did not return to the kingdom on his own, a worldwide manhunt would be initiated based on bogus corruption charges diffused by Interpol, the international police organization. The crown prince tried to make good on the threat, but fortunately Interpol rejected the material in 2018 as “politically motivated.” The new allegations, if proved, reinforce the conclusion that the kingdom is led by a crown prince who commands death squads and continues to evade accountability for murder. – Washington Post

Middle East & North Africa

As a result of the famous Sykes-Picot agreement, a line was drawn in the Middle East, separating Israel, Transjordan and Iraq, which were given to the British, and Syria and Lebanon, which were given to the French.[…] As a result, just as Jewish merchants moved between Jerusalem, Damascus, Halab, and Beirut during the days of the Ottoman Empire, citizens of Mandatory Palestine – both Jews and Arabs – continued to visit their northern neighbors while living under British rule. – Jerusalem Post

The chairman of Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) on Saturday warned against the risk of a disaster at the country’s oil ports due to a growing military presence with storage tanks held at capacity for months due to a blockade. – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump will host a visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to the White House on Aug. 20 to discuss challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic as well as security, energy and economic issues, the White House said in statement on Friday. – Reuters


National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that Chinese hackers were targeting U.S. election infrastructure in the lead up to the Nov. 3 presidential election, making a new claim about the level of Beijing’s activity in the election. – Wall Street Journal

Ecuador’s navy is conducting surveillance of a massive Chinese fishing fleet that is operating near the protected waters of the Galapagos Islands, amid concerns about the environmental impact of fishing in the area of the ecologically sensitive islands. – Reuters

It’s only Monday, but there’s already a couple more reasons to wonder just how much worse U.S.-China ties are going to get this week — despite some friendly-sounding overtures from Beijing. – Bloomberg

Beijing’s top representative office in Hong Kong said on Saturday that sanctions imposed by Washington on senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials were “clowning actions” that would not frighten or intimidate Chinese people. – Reuters

Britain should have an “eyes wide open” approach to its relationship with China and remain robust in standing up for its values, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday. – Reuters

China will sanction 11 Americans in retaliation for similar measures imposed by the Trump administration on Friday, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. – Bloomberg

Adam Minter writes: Restricting WeChat isn’t the only reason, but it is another blunt reminder to Chinese people that they’re not as welcome in the U.S. as they used to be. The Trump administration claims that national-security concerns justify the move. Perhaps they do. But if the two countries continue to go down this road, the damage done will be permanent. – Bloomberg


A traditional Afghan council agreed to release 400 Taliban prisoners accused of major crimes, paving the way for U.S.-backed direct talks between the country’s warring factions to end the nearly two-decade Afghan war. The council, known as the Loya Jirga, said in a declaration on Sunday it was calling for a start to peace negotiations and an immediate cease-fire. – Wall Street Journal

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that the United States will go down to below 5,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of November. – CNN

Ruchi Kumar writes: The Taliban had previously denounced the government’s move to seek counsel from the Jirga and declared a “continuation” of war even though they never really stopped fighting, even during the ceasefire. The rigid conditions they have set for starting talks with the Afghan government, coupled with its inability to uphold commitments made to the US, do not inspire confidence in their will to engage in sustainable peace efforts. – The National


The United States’ top health official lauded Taiwan’s democracy on Monday as he met with the island’s leader for a visit laden with symbols of stronger ties between Washington and the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing. – New York Times

Police on Monday arrested the media tycoon and activist Jimmy Lai, his sons and several executives of his publishing group for allegedly colluding with foreign forces, a crime punishable by life imprisonment under a sweeping national security law that China recently imposed on Hong Kong. – Washington Post

The U.S. levied sanctions on some of Hong Kong’s leading officials and China’s top enforcers of Beijing’s clampdown on the territory, ratcheting up the Trump administration’s use of sanctions against senior Chinese political figures. – Wall Street Journal

Indian investigators on Sunday began examining the black box of a Boeing-737 that overshot a runway on its second attempt, killing 18 people in the country’s worst aviation accident in a decade. – Reuters

Chinese fighter jets briefly crossed the median line of the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Monday morning before being “driven out” by Taiwan’s air force, the island’s defence ministry said. – Reuters

Director at China’s Hong Kong Liaison Office, Luo Huining, said U.S. sanctions on him indicated he was doing what he “should be doing for my country and Hong Kong”, a statement on the liaison office’s website showed on Saturday. – Reuters

The United States should stop arms sales to Taiwan to avoid affecting bilateral relations, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday, after Reuters reported that Washington was negotiating the sale of at least four sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan. – Reuters

The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean apologised on Sunday for a major oil spill which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster. – Reuters

Hong Kong financial regulators sought to calm market fears on Saturday as global financial firms in Hong Kong weighed cutting ties with local clients after the United States imposed sanctions on senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials. – Reuters

Max Boot writes: The major difference is that while it took 334 B-29s to demolish central Tokyo, only one B-29 was needed over Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal,” LeMay later said. The United States won the war, but only by displaying a willingness to kill civilians from the air on a scale unmatched in history. The B-29 was a technological marvel and a war-winning weapon but at a terrible cost. The B-29 was the original “weapon of mass destruction.” – Washington Post


Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Russia’s foreign minister against Moscow paying bounties to Taliban-linked militants and other Afghan fighters for killing American service members, U.S. officials said. – New York Times

Russia is willing to supply a coronavirus vaccine to the Philippines, or team up with a local firm to mass produce it, its ambassador to Manila said on Friday, as infections in the Southeast Asian nation surge. – Reuters

Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation, the military warned in an article published Friday. – Associated Press

Richard Blumenthal writes: There is no excuse for perpetuating Russian disinformation in the U.S. Senate, just as there is there is no excuse for barring the American public from learning more about the genuine foreign threats to the November election. The Trump administration appears to be failing to take the danger seriously, failing to prepare adequately. Protecting the nation’s democratic values should be a bipartisan imperative. – Wall Street Journal


Riot police clashed with protesters in the Belarus capital Minsk after exit polls from the country’s presidential election projected veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko winning with 80% of the vote despite growing anger over a stagnating economy and a rising number of politically linked detentions. – Wall Street Journal

Polish border guards have detained 34 people from the Middle East, including four women and four children, who were traveling in a trailer of the lorry that came from Turkey via Slovakia, authorities said on Saturday. – Reuters

Protesters on Sunday called for an end to the Spanish monarchy after the sudden departure of the former king Juan Carlos from the country this week amid a corruption scandal. – Reuters

Former Spanish king Juan Carlos has been staying at Abu Dhabi’s exclusive Emirates Palace Hotel since leaving Spain aboard a private jet on Monday under a cloud of financial scandal involving Saudi Arabia, newspaper ABC said on Friday. – Reuters

Germany, France and Poland are observing developments in Belarus with “great concern” ahead of the presidential vote this weekend, they said in a joint statement on Friday, urging authorities to conduct the election in a free and fair manner. – Reuters

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling on Ukrainians to refrain from interfering in the upcoming U.S. elections. The call comes after the U.S. intelligence community released a statement saying the Russian government is trying to help President Donald Trump win reelection, and that a Ukrainian member of Parliament is participating in that effort. – Politico

Robert Zaretsky writes: For the moment, the French are far less enthusiastic over Macron than are the Lebanese. Shortly before his visit to Lebanon, only 39 percent of voters expressed confidence in Macron. Of course, Macron’s numbers can improve, but it is doubtful that commitments in time and resources to Lebanon, no matter how special the relationship, will be the reason. – Washington Post

Carl Bildt writes: One day Belarus will emerge as a truly independent country with a modern economy and an open and democratic society, part of the family of European nations. It should be remembered that for centuries it was part of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, and remnants of those traditions are still there. That day might not be here yet, but the inspiring images of demonstrators coming out of the country these days clearly show the direction in which the young people of Belarus want to go. – Washington Post

Andrew Roberts writes: A second Anglospheric superpower would mean that the political values we share will be better defended and promoted, and a flourishing Canzuk would be a fine neighbor and trading and defense partner for the U.S. As the world order undergoes its most profound transition since the end of the Cold War, it is an idea whose moment has arrived. – Wall Street Journal

Rafael Korenzecher writes: The streets of Stuttgart, Frankfurt and Dijon just happen to be full of rioting, police-attacking young men of a certain cultural background that, like Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter, Shall Not Be Named. And these riots have nothing to do with increasing attacks on Jews and Christians, with growing “No-Go Areas” in European cities, and the enormously popular policies of Germany’s sainted chancellor. German voters, as we know from sad historical experience, do not like to rock the boat – even when it’s heading for a waterfall. – Jerusalem Post


Jihadist militants on motorcycles killed six French aid workers and their local guide and driver in a giraffe park in Niger on Sunday, according to government officials, the latest attack in a nation hailed by western nations as a bulwark against a rising tide of Islamist militancy across West Africa. – Wall Street Journal

French and Nigerien soldiers on Monday combed a wildlife reserve in Niger and the surrounding area for traces of the gunmen who killed six French aid workers a day earlier, a French military source said. – Reuters

A car bomb exploded at the gates of a military base in Somalia’s capital Saturday, killing at least eight soldiers and wounding 14 others, with the toll expected to rise, police said. – Associated Press

The Americas

Canada said Friday it intends to slap its own tariffs on a range of U.S. products that contain aluminum—ranging from washing machines to golf clubs to canned beverages—in retaliation to President Trump’s move this week to aggravate one of the world’s largest and steadiest trading relationships. – Wall Street Journal

Two former members of U.S. Special Forces were sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Venezuelan court for taking part in a murky raid in May to oust President Nicolás Maduro, the country’s attorney general announced on Twitter. – Washington Post

Home to almost half of the world’s new cases of coronavirus, Latin America is a long way from winning the war against Covid-19. But there is already one victor in the region: China. – Financial Times


Several investment and technology firms are exploring a potential deal for the U.S. operations of TikTok, which is facing a Trump administration ban, but they each would have to surmount hurdles at least as high as the Chinese social-media platform’s main suitor, Microsoft Corp. – Wall Street Journal

In a reversal from a few years ago, many officials who oversee U.S. election technology and outside security experts now worry less about hacking in the November elections than about misinformation and logistics such as a shortage of poll workers and slowdowns at the U.S. postal service. – Reuters

A Russian court on Monday fined Google 1.5 million roubles ($20,350) after finding it guilty of failing to block content banned in Russia, the Interfax news agency reported. – Reuters

Huawei Technologies Co [HWT.UL] will stop making its flagship Kirin chipsets next month, financial magazine Caixin said on Saturday, as the impact of U.S. pressure on the Chinese tech giant grows. Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on transactions using popular Chinese messaging app WeChat will cut ties to families and friends in China, millions of users in the United States fear, as they become the latest casualties in the standoff between the two nations. – Reuters

An artificial intelligence algorithm will face off against a human F-16 fighter pilot in an aerial combat simulation in late August, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced Aug. 7. – C4ISRNET

Editorial: Trump’s orders will result in lawsuits and a debate over whether to expand the Emergency Powers Act further. Whatever the outcome, the public must be prepared for a paradigm shift in how we view tech gadgets in the context of Chinese espionage. Trump has done the right thing here, even if it is not necessarily the popular thing. – Washington Examiner


The top U.S. counterintelligence official on Friday warned that Russia, China and Iran will all try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, with Russia already trying to undercut Democratic candidate Joe Biden. – Reuters

The U.S. Air Force said on Friday it awarded United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Elon Musk’s SpaceX $653 million in combined military launch contracts under the Pentagon’s next-generation, multibillion-dollar launch capability program. – Reuters

The State Department claimed responsibility for a barrage of text messages that were sent to phones in Iran and Russia and offered up to $10 million for information on foreign hackers seeking to interfere in the 2020 election. – Washington Examiner

DoD’s long-awaited M-Code secure channel for GPS signals is making slow but steady progress toward becoming a reality, with a fourth GPS III satellite slated to launch next month and final upgrades to the Air Force’s OCS ground control stations. – Breaking Defense

Military information is too important to store in a single cloud. Although the $10 billion JEDI contract dominates public conversation about military cloud services, the Pentagon’s Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy says the department is creating its own repository of shareable code for managing the constellations of clouds within the Pentagon. – Breaking Defense

One of the Navy’s primary suppliers of missile tubes for its nuclear submarines is planning to walk away from the military business, a move that will drop the number of domestic companies capable of doing the work to two at a time when the service is in a scramble to ramp up its sub-building efforts. – Breaking Defense

Navy salvage teams on Friday recovered the bodies of the seven Marines and sailor missing after their amphibious assault vehicle sank during training July 30 off Southern California, the Marine Corps announced late Friday. – USNI News

The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is conducting drills off the coast of Northern Japan with land-based Navy and Air Force units this week. – USNI News

The U.S. Air Force has concluded a two-day, $1.4 million exercise that evaluated the F-35 fighter jet’s ability to provide its electronic warfare capabilities to other stealthy reconnaissance and bombing platforms. – C4ISRNET

Support is growing both in Congress and in the Pentagon to pursue a Hawaii-based ballistic missile defense radar that the Missile Defense Agency did not include in its fiscal 2021 funding request. – Defense News

The No. 2 official assigned to the U.S. Space Force is getting his chance to officially join the new service. Air Force Lt. Gen. David “DT” Thompson was tapped as the Space Force’s vice chief of space operations and for promotion to the rank of general, the Pentagon announced Friday. – Defense News

Jason Orestes writes: So when you see how much we budget toward defense, compare it with other nations, and wonder why in the world we keep spending more, this is why. These realities are not lost on the Pentagon when it determines U.S. defense resources. We still maintain the premier military, allies, and technology in the world but cannot rest on those laurels with adversaries that aren’t as far behind as hoped. – Washington Examiner

Anthony D. Romero writes: Donald Trump should not be allowed to provide a precedent for future presidents with authoritarian tendencies to repeat the injustices we are enduring. Dismantling DHS into its component parts would restore greater balance to our system of checks and balances. And rather than tolerating misinterpretation of “homeland security,” we need our government to advance a “more perfect union.” – USA Today

Barry Blechman writes: Improving airfields, ports and transport lines would be helpful, for example, as would enlarging logistical hubs for pre-deployed tanks and other heavy equipment. In the end, this finding is an argument for a more nimble US military, along with the intelligence and surveillance resources necessary to keep a close eye on the military readiness of potential adversaries. – Breaking Defense