Fdd's overnight brief

December 21, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

Hamas rejected an Israeli offer to stop fighting for one week in exchange for dozens of hostages, saying the group wouldn’t discuss releasing their Israeli captives until a cease-fire first goes into effect, Egyptian officials said. – Wall Street Journal

When news of the Oct. 7 attacks on southern Israel by Hamas militants reached Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, many took to the streets in celebration, distributing sweets and cheering fighters as they paraded hostages through the enclave. Since then, however, quiet criticism has begun spreading against the militant group, with Gazans blaming the militants for having provoked Israel’s wrath and for their inability to shield the population from a devastating war and a humanitarian crisis that deepens by the day. – Wall Street Journal

The Israeli military released footage of a tunnel network in Gaza City that it said provided Hamas’s senior leadership and operatives covert passage across the enclave. The military said that tunnel shafts were found in the residences and offices of senior Hamas officials and that they allowed for covert descent through elevators and stairs and allowed for both escape and prolonged stays. – Wall Street Journal

For weeks, Susan Abdelsalam has checked to see whether her husband’s name was on a list that could mean the difference between life and death. – Washington Post

The U.N. Security Council failed again Wednesday to produce a resolution that could pressure Israel to curtail the violence in Gaza and allow humanitarian aid into the enclave. – Washington Post

Ziv hoisted another large cardboard box, navigating around his dead mother’s wilting garden, before adding it to the growing pile inside the white truck outside. – Washington Post

Democratic lawmakers are increasingly airing concerns about insufficient information provided to them and are demanding more congressional oversight concerning U.S. support for Israel in its ongoing war in the Gaza Strip. – Washington Post 

Fluttering down from the skies over Gaza on a recent day were clouds of fliers dropped by the Israeli military asking for tips on the whereabouts of top Hamas leaders. – New York Times

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday he did not expect an Israel-Hamas deal for the release of hostages held in Gaza to be struck soon. – Reuters

Israel wants to fast-track the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza through a maritime corridor from Cyprus, bolstering stability in the region, the country’s foreign minister said Wednesday. – Associated Press

The Israeli army has raided and detained staff at two of the last functioning hospitals in Gaza’s north, where the defense minister said Tuesday that troops were working to completely clear out Hamas militants. – Associated Press

Cyprus and Israel are working on the final details of an initiative to establish a maritime aid corridor to Gaza from Cyprus, the foreign ministers of the two countries said. – Bloomberg

Israel’s campaign to root out Hamas from the Gaza Strip needs to shift from a large-scale military attack to a more precise operation that will reduce the toll on Palestinian civilians, the top US diplomat said. – Bloomberg

Malaysia banned on Wednesday Israeli-flagged cargo ships from docking at its ports in response to Israel’s actions in Gaza, which it said ignores “basic humanitarian principles.” – Agence France-Presse

Hamas has rejected an Israeli proposal for a week-long truce in the Gaza Strip in return for the release of some 40 hostages, including all women and children the terror group still holds, according to a report Wednesday. – Times of Israel

Between 8,000 and 10,000 Palestinian laborers from the West Bank will return to their jobs in Israeli West Bank settlements and businesses in the coming days following a decision by the Israel Defense Forces Central Command. – Times of Israel

Editorial: Biden has provided Israel with tremendous support in its war with Hamas, and that should be greatly appreciated. But he is wrong in trying to signal his concern for Palestinians by highlighting Jewish “settler violence” and turning what is a deplorable but fringe phenomenon into something on par with the raging Palestinian terror that continues unabated in Judea and Samaria. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Rubin writes: Throughout the current crisis, Jordan has behaved badly, condemning Israeli counterterrorism even as Jordanian King Abdullah II seeks to eradicate Hamas inside his own kingdom. Just as Turkey learns treaty revisions can go both ways, so too should Abdullah II understand that upending Oslo might lead to reconsideration of whether Jordan itself is Palestine occupied by Hashemite interlopers. The Abraham Accords succeeded by discarding conventional wisdom. It is time to do likewise with the Palestinians. – Washington Examiner

Douglas Altabef writes: Not following through on the self-apparent conclusions from that wake call will be judged very harshly by history, especially for the leaders who refused or proved unable to follow through. Right now, Israel must understand that other countries are pursuing their own interests in seeking to determine ours. Fair enough, but we must be true, clear eyed and determined to pursue our own interests, regardless of how they are viewed abroad. – Jerusalem Post

Elie Podeh writes: The primary challenge lies in the lack of substantial popular support for the current PA leadership. Hence, any prospective agreement may necessitate engaging with a different leadership – one that is democratically elected, enjoys legitimacy, remains dedicated to a political resolution, and is both capable and willing to confront any Palestinian entity resorting to violence. – Jerusalem Post

Liran Segal writes: Balancing security concerns with economic needs is a delicate task, but the state must prioritize safety without compromising its citizens’ privacy and security. Intelligence is not just limited to James Bond movies with happy endings. It involves continuous and meticulous collection, even within civilian and operational spaces. Many details are acquired over a long period, as terrorist organizations have done through their workforce employed within the core of Israel. – Jerusalem Post

Naftali Balanson writes: The public, as well as the organization’s donors, should know that rather than promoting human rights, Al-Haq is just hiding behind a curtain and encouraging hatred of Israel. Citizens of countries donating to this organization should be outraged that this is where their tax money is going, and those governments should be ashamed to be supporting a terror-linked organization promoting hate. – Algemeiner

Iran

Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the German ambassador to Tehran on Wednesday in protest against a ruling that implicated the Islamic Republic in a plan to attack a synagogue in Germany last year, the state-run IRNA news agency said. – Associated Press

An Iranian woman who was forced into marriage as a child and being held in prison for murdering her husband, was executed Wednesday despite calls from human rights groups for leniency.  – Fox News 

Filmmakers and film-festival organizers from around the world have called on Iran in an open letter to drop all charges against Iranian filmmakers Behtash Sanaeeha and Maryam Moghadam and lift their travel ban.  – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Human rights groups and others have condemned the execution of a woman in Iran who was found guilty of killing the man she was forced to marry as a child. Amnesty International said it “is horrified by reports” of the “chilling execution” in Iran of Samira Sabzian, a mother of two. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iranian spies offered a people-smuggler $200,000 (around £158,290) to assassinate two news presenters codenamed “the bride and the groom” outside their London studio, to show critics of the regime they “could do harm to them at any time”.  – ITV

Editorial: The United States faces a rising challenge from China, Russia, and Iran. These adversaries are attempting to distract and divide U.S. military forces, straining America’s ability to act decisively in any one location. In the Red Sea, Iran-supported Houthi rebels are launching drone, missile, and hijacking attacks on international shipping lanes. Fearing threats to life and property and suffering surging insurance costs for Red Sea transits, shipping firms are diverting their cargo around Africa. This adds delays and costs to the global economy. It is likely to lead to higher costs for consumers. […]America is being tested. Biden must act with greater clarity of purpose and strength. The trajectory of escalation is clearly moving against U.S. interests, and if adversaries around the world continue to push and find only American mush, they will keep pushing until they hit the arteries. – Washington Examiner

John R. Bolton writes: Iran is not looking for ways to live with America in the Middle East. Tehran wants us out, particularly from our gulf military bases. Tehran also wants Israel further isolated and ultimately eliminated. None of this should be acceptable to the United States. To the mullahs, U.S. restraint shows not good faith but civilizational decline. We never strike Iran, and the mullahs draw the appropriate conclusions. Powerful retaliatory strikes against Iran’s surrogates alone might establish deterrence, but Washington is not even trying that. – Washington Post

Russia & Ukraine

The U.S. is looking for the “right way” to work with Russia for the return of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, and another American held in Russia, Paul Whelan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal

Former TV journalist Yekaterina Duntsova put her name forward on Wednesday to stand in a Russian presidential election in March that Vladimir Putin is expected to win by a landslide. – Reuters

A Russian court fined Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) on Wednesday 4.6 billion roubles ($50.84 million) for failing to delete so-called “fake” information about the conflict in Ukraine and other topics, the TASS news agency reported. – Reuters

The vast majority of Ukrainians would not support the sacking of Valeriy Zaluzhnyi from his position as head of the armed forces, a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) showed on Wednesday. – Reuters

The U.S. imposed new sanctions on alleged violators of a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian oil and tightened compliance rules for insurance firms and shippers, Wednesday. – Associated Press

Ukraine’s armed forces are taking up a more defensive posture, a military analysis said Wednesday, after their summer counteroffensive failed to achieve a major breakthrough against Russia’s army and as winter weather sets in after almost 22 months of the war. – Associated Press

Russia sees no current basis for holding negotiations to end its 22-month war in Ukraine, according to President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman. – Bloomberg

Hezbollah

Federal prosecutors have indicted an alleged member of the Hezbollah terrorist organization who is accused of helping to orchestrate the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Argentina that killed 85 people, officials announced Wednesday. – Washington Post

Hezbollah is paying a growing price in weeks of hostilities with Israel that have killed more than 100 of its fighters, but does not foresee all-out war even as the toll increases and the conflict grinds on, sources familiar with its thinking say. – Reuters

Hezbollah fired rockets at Kiryat Shmona and other northern towns shortly after midnight Wednesday, following a day of escalating cross-border attacks between Israel and the Lebanese terror organization. – Times of Israel

Afghanistan

Three men who died in a small plane crash in Oregon were Afghan Air Force pilots who fought with the American military and came to the U.S. as refugees after Afghanistan fell to the Taliban in 2021, according to groups that helped with their resettlement. – Associated Press

The United Nations is seeking to verify reports that Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers are allowing girls of all ages to study at Islamic religious schools that are traditionally boys-only, the U.N.’s top official in the country said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Zubaida travelled from the rural outskirts of Khost in eastern Afghanistan to give birth at a maternity hospital specialising in complicated cases, fearing a fate all too common among pregnant Afghan women — her death or her child’s. – Agence France-Presse

Thousands of Afghans who were detained in Pakistani and Iranian prisons have been sent back to Afghanistan as Islamabad and Tehran ramp up the expulsion of Afghan citizens. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Syria

Seven members of Syria’s security forces were killed Wednesday when their bus struck an Islamic State group landmine in the Badia desert, in the centre of the country, a monitor said. – Agence France-Presse

Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Chris Coons, D-Del., will introduce a resolution Thursday morning condemning attacks by Iranian military proxies on U.S. military service members in Iraq and Syria. – Fox News

Syrian President Bashar Assad earlier this week declared that there is no evidence that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust and accused the United States of funding the German Nazi party. – Times of Israel

Since Monday, over 44,000 people on X (formerly known as Twitter) have watched a grisly video that shows men in uniform repeatedly stabbing unarmed detainees. The original poster, with over 500,000 followers, wrote that the “cowardly Israelis only bomb or stab in the back.” She added: “They have no humanity and no mercy in their hearts. Anyone that supports Israel should be ashamed.” – Haaretz

Arabian Peninsula

Saudi Arabia’s name was conspicuously – perhaps surprisingly – absent from a list of countries the United States announced as part of its new naval coalition protecting Red Sea shipping from Yemen’s Houthi group. – Reuters

Egypt has signed a $4 billion deal with Saudi Arabia’s Acwa power company to develop a green hydrogen project, Egypt’s cabinet said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

Abu Dhabi’s state oil giant ADNOC said on Wednesday it signed a 15-year agreement to deliver at least 1 million metric tons a year of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to a subsidiary of China’s ENN Natural Gas. – Reuters

Kuwait’s new ruler rebuked elected lawmakers and cabinet ministers for failing to cooperate in the right ways to drive through reforms in the oil-rich but politically dysfunctional Gulf state. – Bloomberg

Yemen

When the United States announced it was leading an international maritime task force to confront attacks on ships in the Red Sea, it did not take long for the group behind the attacks, the Houthi militia in Yemen, to dismiss the effort as a lost cause. – New York Times

Greece has advised commercial vessels sailing in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden to avoid Yemeni waters, keep only the necessary crew on the bridge and follow alerts issued by maritime authorities to avoid attacks in the area. – Reuters

Shipping companies remain in the dark over a new international navy coalition being assembled by the United States to combat attacks in the Red Sea, with many vessels continuing to avoid the area or cancelling contracts, sources said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Several U.S. allies have said they support efforts to protect shipping in the Red Sea after attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi group, but some have said they would not join a naval coalition that Washington said it was building for the task. – Reuters

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Wednesday got closer to the Houthis than usual on a naval vessel near Eilat threatening the Yemen terror group if they dare to continue to try to attack Israel’s southernmost city. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited the Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on Wednesday, and thanked its crew for their role in helping prevent a broader conflict in the Middle East during the Israel-Hamas war. – Reuters

Turkish warplanes carried out new airstrikes Wednesday against Kurdish militant targets in neighboring Iraq, the Turkish defense ministry said, a day after Turkish and Iraqi officials held high-level security talks in Ankara. – Associated Press

More than a hundred container ships are taking the long route around Africa to avoid violence in the Red Sea, creating extra costs and delays, as the US weighs up how to respond to the latest threat to the global economy. – Bloomberg

Mali summoned the Algerian ambassador on Wednesday following what it called “interference” and “unfriendly acts”, accusing the diplomat of holding meetings with Tuareg separatists without involving Bamako, the foreign ministry said. – Agence France-Presse

The European Union has agreed to give Tunisia 150 million euros to support the government’s efforts to undertake economic recovery, the EU commission and the Tunisian foreign ministry announced Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: With friends like these among the U.N.’s top female leaders, it’s no wonder the group has been so quiet on sexual violence by Hamas, including rapes, sexual mutilation and murder of Israeli women. […]The U.S. pays about 22% of the U.N. budget despite its frequent hostility to American interests. That’s bad enough, but now Turtle Bay officials are endorsing voices that support the elimination of another member state. Why are U.S. taxpayers still paying the bills? – Wall Street Journal

Bruce Jones writes: The entire episode highlights this point: There’s a deepening contradiction between the reality of globalization, heavily dependent on sea-based trade and on China, and the reality of geopolitical contest, in which naval power is rapidly emerging as a central dimension. Tensions and bad choices abound in the Red Sea—but they are also a harbinger of tougher choices and turbulent waters ahead. – Foreign Policy

Korean Peninsula

South Korea and Japan will hold high-level economic talks on Thursday for the first time in eight years, Seoul’s foreign ministry said, in a further sign of improving ties as the countries are drawn closer by shared geopolitical concerns. – Reuters

South Korea’s top court ordered two Japanese companies to financially compensate more of their wartime Korean workers for forced labor, as it sided Thursday with its contentious 2018 verdicts that caused a huge setback in relations between the two countries. – Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country has a policy of not hesitating to launch a nuclear strike on its rivals if provoked, as he praised troops involved in its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, state media reported Thursday. – Associated Press

The United States flew long-range bombers for joint drills with South Korea and Japan on Wednesday in a show of force against North Korea, days after the North performed its first intercontinental ballistic missile test in five months. – Associated Press

China

In the remote desert where China detonated its first atom bomb nearly 60 years ago, a drilling rig recently bored a deep vertical shaft that is estimated to plunge down at least a third of a mile. – New York Times

A Hong Kong court on Thursday sentenced the younger sister of a pro-democracy labour union leader to six months imprisonment for removing evidence from the latter’s home amid an ongoing security crackdown in the China-ruled city. – Reuters

Republican lawmaker Marco Rubio on Wednesday urged the Biden administration to sanction Chinese chip design firm Brite Semiconductor over its ties to China’s top sanctioned chipmaker and its work for Chinese military suppliers. – Reuters

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi says the country will maintain military pressure on the Philippines amid a dispute over sovereignty in the South China Sea that could involve U.S. forces defending their treaty partner. – Associated Press

Joel Gehrke writes: The meeting was hailed as an opportunity to stabilize U.S.-China relations following a year of diplomatic acrimony and high-risk military encounters in the South China Sea, but it continued a pattern of Xi’s regime pressing the United States for concessions in the Indo-Pacific. – Washington Examiner

South Asia

Dozens of opposition lawmakers suspended from Parliament by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government for obstructing proceedings held a street protest on Thursday accusing the government of throttling democracy in the country. – Associated Press

An ethnic armed group in northeastern Myanmar has seized a major crossing point for trade along the Chinese border, residents and media reports said. – Associated Press

Sadanand Dhume writes: With domestic terrorism surging, per capita income stagnant, inflation running at close to 30%, and jobless Pakistanis swelling the ranks of illegal migrants to Europe, Pakistan badly needs sober leadership. Rather than a charismatic spokesman for failed ideas, it needs a leader who is willing to challenge shibboleths. This means less grandstanding about so-called Western Islamophobia, and more focus on pulling Pakistan’s people out of poverty. Imran Khan isn’t the man to do that. – Wall Street Journal

Asia

A proposal for permanent deployment of U.S. Patriot missile defense batteries in Palau in response to China’s expanding reach in the Pacific has come under fire as the nation’s politicians debate the move ahead of elections next year. – Reuters

Taiwan on Thursday accused China of “typical economic coercion” after Beijing announced the end of tariff cuts on some chemical imports from the island – saying Taipei violated a trade agreement – just ahead of Taiwanese elections next month. – Reuters

Australia and New Zealand leaders agreed Wednesday to seek closer defense ties as the latter considers sharing advanced military technologies with the United States and Britain through the so-called AUKUS partnership. – Associated Press

Australia has rejected a US request for a warship to help protect international shipping lanes in the Red Sea, with Defense Minister Richard Marles saying the nation’s strategic focus had to remain on the Indo-Pacific. – Bloomberg

Gearoid Reidy writes: Japan has largely avoided the trend of populism that has consumed many countries over the past decade. But if it starts to lose seats, the LDP might be forced to make friends with some less mainstream parties — opening the door for more fringe figures. There’s also a danger that, as has happened elsewhere, this affair could exacerbate public disillusionment with the system itself and spill over into something much less palatable — a concern made worse by the lack of a convincing mainstream opposition that could step in to take over from the LDP. – Bloomberg

Europe

For weeks, a border blockade by Polish truckers has severely hampered Ukraine’s overland trade, preventing the war-torn country from exporting tons of grain, delaying the delivery of vital military equipment and squeezing the country’s already meager revenues. – New York Times

European Union finance ministers agreed on Wednesday the latest reform of the bloc’s two-decade-old fiscal rules, allowing more time to cut public debt and creating incentives for public investment even during budget consolidation. – Reuters 

Prosecutors in Germany said on Wednesday they would move to confiscate more than 720 million euros ($790 million) from the Frankfurt bank account of a Russian financial institution, marking the country’s first such attempt. – Reuters

Ireland said on Wednesday it would mount a legal challenge against Britain over a new law giving conditional amnesties to former soldiers and militants involved in decades of violence in Northern Ireland. – Reuters

Switzerland’s upper house of parliament took steps Wednesday toward banning the use of racist symbols that excuse violent or extremist behavior, including speech, gestures and the display of flags that stir hatred, as well as the public wearing of symbols reminiscent of Nazi tyranny in Europe. – Associated Press

A Rwandan doctor was sentenced by a Paris court on Wednesday to 24 years in prison for his role in the 1994 genocide in his home country. – Associated Press

The United States on Wednesday voiced alarm after Hungary passed laws to curb foreign influence, which critics fear will be used to curb dissent against nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government. – Agence France-Presse 

France is prepared to move the opening ceremony of the 2024 Paris Olympics if needed over security concerns, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday. – The Hill

Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová has announced her country is advancing negotiations with Germany to carry out a joint acquisition of Leopard 2A8 tanks, and is also nearing the completion of talks to buy C-390 Millenium transport aircraft and F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. – Defense News

The German Defence Ministry has signed a contract with Airbus for 62 H145M light attack helicopters, with a portion of the fleet equipped to fight tanks from afar — a direct lesson from the fighting in Ukraine. – Defense News

The Netherlands plans to spend as much as €250 million (U.S. $274 million) on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the North Sea to protect the cables and pipelines that crisscross the seabed off its coast. – Defense News

Africa

The swift takeover on Tuesday of a major city in Sudan’s agricultural breadbasket by the Rapid Support Forces paramilitary group has sent shock waves throughout the country, cast doubt on the might of its rival — Sudan’s army — and opened a new and potentially deadlier phase in the eight-month civil war that has devastated one of Africa’s largest nations. – New York Times

The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) has temporarily suspended food assistance in some parts of Sudan’s state of Gezira as fighting spreads south and east of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, the aid agency said in a statement on Wednesday. – Reuters

Four French IT workers with diplomatic passports and visas have been arrested in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, a French diplomatic source said on Wednesday, denying a media report that they were intelligence agents. – Reuters

Lengthy delays at the polls forced officials on Wednesday to extend voting in Congo’s presidential election as many residents in the mineral-rich West African nation struggled to cast ballots because of steep logistical and security challenges, raising concerns about the integrity of the process. – Associated Press

Sierra Leone lifted a nationwide curfew almost a month after an attack on army headquarters in the capital, Freetown, which President Julius Maada Bio said was an attempt to overthrow the government. – Bloomberg

Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo named Rui Duarte de Barros as prime minister in a bid to consolidate his power following an attempted coup in the West African nation. – Bloomberg

Latin America

Venezuela turned over to the U.S. a man at the center of a Navy bribery scandal and released 10 detained Americans in a prisoner exchange in which President Biden granted clemency to a prominent moneyman for President Nicolás Maduro. – Wall Street Journal

Police in Ecuador rescued a prominent British businessman on Wednesday morning, four days after he was kidnapped, authorities said. – Reuters 

Argentine libertarian President Javier Milei on Wednesday signed a decree outlining economic reforms including an end to limits on exports plus measures to loosen regulations, as his new government combats a severe economic crisis. – Reuters 

Suriname’s former dictator Desi Bouterse was sentenced on Wednesday to 20 years in prison for the murders of 15 opponents of the then-military regime in December 1982, ending a historic 16-year legal process. – Associated Press

United States

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a request by federal prosecutors to immediately review his claim that he cannot be prosecuted for trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat. – Reuters

Editorial: There are many, many reasons beyond Jan. 6 why Trump should not be the next president. But that is a decision that must be left to voters. The Colorado Supreme Court needs to learn the limits of its power. We are confident the U.S. Supreme Court will teach the state justices that lesson soon. – Washington Examiner

Hal Brands writes: The specter of Trump’s return is already influencing global politics: It is fueling Putin’s belief that he can win in Ukraine by outlasting the West. America’s allies realize that if Trump triumphs, his animosity toward them might sunder the free world — that he would inject instability, incompetence and unilateralism into US statecraft at a time of growing danger. There are many ways he could even weaken the democratic pillars of America’s global strength: firing civil servants en masse; prosecuting his enemies; weaponizing the power of the state to entrench himself in office. – Bloomberg

Cybersecurity

A group of hackers in recent months has attempted to steal personal and financial information from residents and visitors of the United Arab Emirates in a new text-based phishing campaign, according to new research. – The Record

German law enforcement has seized the servers of the darknet marketplace Kingdom Market, a bazaar for drugs, malware, fake documents and other tools for cybercriminals. – The Record

Almost a dozen international partners announced on Wednesday the launch of a new system called the Tallinn Mechanism to amplify cyber support for Ukraine in the years to come. – The Record

James Durso writes: As the Chinese cyber espionage threat continues unabated, it is critical that the government lean more heavily on these entities in the years to come. – The Hill

Defense

Drones and artificial intelligence capabilities that have been tested and refined in the Middle East by an innovative U.S. Navy task force are now under consideration to support the new multinational coalition set up to protect ships transiting the Red Sea, multiple sources told DefenseScoop. – DefenseScoop

The Army tested its modernized communications network with a division for the first time last month, a major milestone as it seeks to scale technologies across the service. – DefenseScoop

Several nations have announced their contributions to Operation Prosperity Guardian, a new multinational security initiative in the Middle East to help protect merchant ships in the Red Sea area from drones and missiles. – Defense News

BAE Systems and AMS Integrated Solutions have signed an agreement to provide maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for artillery systems in Ukraine. – Janes

A Japanese court on Wednesday ordered the governor of Okinawa to approve the central government’s modified plan for landfill work at the planned relocation site of a key U.S. military base on the southern island despite persistent opposition and protests by residents. – Military.com

Wilson Beaver writes: Likewise, multiyear buys have consistently been shown to decrease costs over time, resulting in a positive outcome both for the military and for the American taxpayer. To its credit, this fiscal year’s National Defense Authorization Act approves six new munitions for multiyear procurement, but this funding ultimately still depends on congressional appropriators, who still haven’t fully funded the multiyear procurement of munitions authorized in last year’s NDAA. – Defense News