Fdd's overnight brief

January 14, 2022

In The News


As Washington and Tehran clash in Vienna over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran continues to struggle under the weight of U.S. sanctions. Among them are restrictions that make it difficult for Iranians to access information and fast-changing technologies that much of the rest of the world takes for granted. – Washington Post 

As talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers to revive the 2015 nuclear deal continue, the Islamic Republic is trying to strengthen ties with China, Russia and other nations that could help it get around American sanctions that are battering its economy. – Wall Street Journal 

Iranian shipping companies in league with international recruiting firms have been forcing large numbers of Indian seafarers to work in dangerous conditions, often with little or no pay, according to more than two dozen men who say they were tricked into taking this employment. – Washington Post 

The website of Iran’s supreme leader has showcased an animated video that appears to show a robot calling in a drone strike to assassinate former President Donald Trump. – Associated Press 

U.S. military veterans and their families called on the Biden administration Thursday not to release frozen funds to Iran as part of nuclear negotiations until U.S. victims of terrorist attacks carried out by the Tehran regime or its proxies are compensated. – NBC 

Since he entered office, and even before, US President Joe Biden has made a point of insisting that Iranian escalations in the past several years are a direct result of his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal. – Times of Israel 

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has successfully tested its first solid fuel satellite carrier rocket, the Islamic Republic’s state-run news agency claimed Thursday. – Algemeiner 

Iran International issued a statement Thursday saying that Iranian intelligence targeted its senior correspondent in Israel, in an operation uncovered by Israeli intelligence this month. – Iran International 

Bobby Ghosh writes: However hard Tehran tries to spin the World Bank report as a sign of economic tenacity, then, ordinary Iranians already know how tenuous things really are. The Biden administration and the other world powers gathered in Vienna should not be fooled. – Bloomberg 

Lahav Harkov writes: The Western parties to the talks insist they will soon reach the point at which Iran will have to take some bigger steps toward returning to the JCPOA or they will walk away from the table. […]Neither result will look good for the Biden administration. Either they won’t return to the JCPOA, a foreign policy goal Biden already set during his presidential campaign, and the diplomacy he so touted will have failed. Or they will succeed on that front, but all of the aforementioned proven weaknesses of the nuclear deal will still be in place. – Jerusalem Post 

David Albright, Sarah Burkhard and John Hannah write: Moreover, depending on their size, the deeply buried halls may be able to hold, either in the short- or long-term, a small centrifuge enrichment facility able to produce significant amounts of weapon-grade uranium, posing a great threat in the event of further buildups of centrifuge capabilities, whether in violation of the JCPOA or in accordance with its sunsets, or significantly degraded International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. – Institute for Science and International Security 

Meir Javedanfar writes: Iranians, including some in the press, have questioned the high price paid for the Islamic Republic’s anti-Israel policies. The regime has ignored such calls. The more the regime remains inflexible in its anti-Israel policies and rhetoric, the more it delegitimizes such policies inside Iran. The Israeli foreign ministry doesn’t really need a Twitter account in Persian to condemn and delegitimize Iran’s anti-Israel policies. Tehran’s own policies already do that more effectively. – Middle East Institute 


U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed on Thursday for a suspension of rules preventing the use of money in Afghanistan to save lives and the economy and for a path to the conditional release of frozen Afghan foreign currency reserves. – Reuters 

The Pakistani Taliban on Thursday confirmed the killing over the weekend in neighboring Afghanistan of the group’s former spokesman and vowed to avenge the slaying. – Associated Press 

The Taliban said Thursday they have approved their first budget for Afghanistan since the hardline Islamists returned to power in August, with no mention of foreign aid.  Agence France-Presse 


Envoys from Turkey and Armenia will hold a first round of talks aimed at normalising ties in Moscow on Friday, in a move Armenia expects will lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations and reopening borders after decades of animosity. – Reuters 

President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday told ambassadors from the European Union that the bloc had not provided meaningful support in battling migration and that it had not reciprocated Turkey’s efforts to improve relations. – Reuters 

The lira held firm on Friday after Turkey’s finance minister was cited as saying inflation would peak in January and hit single digits by June 2023 elections, but a key survey showed inflation would still be around 30% at the end of this year. – Reuters  

Turkey’s newly appointed finance chief said the country’s inflation will peak months earlier and at a level far lower than predicted by top Wall Street banks. – Bloomberg 


Israeli police on Thursday fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of Bedouin Arabs protesting a tree-planting campaign they say is aimed at pushing them off disputed land. – Associated Press 

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces during a demonstration against the return of Jewish settlers to the illegal Israeli outpost of Homesh, near the Palestinian village of Burqah in the occupied West Bank. – Agence France-Presse  

Over the years, Israel has been accused of sending genetically engineered sharks into Egyptian waters to attack swimmers, radiation-seeking lizards into Iran to find uranium mines and various birds throughout the Middle East for spying. There is an entire Wikipedia entry dedicated to these “Israel-related animal conspiracy theories.” – Times of Israel 

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: One thing is certain: Mandelblit will not sign a deal that allows Netanyahu to remain an MK in the near future, which would be a deal more lenient than that given to Arye Deri, leader of Shas. The question is whether jail time and a finding of moral turpitude – which would force Netanyahu out of politics for seven years– are really off the table, as some reports say, or whether it is simply that Netanyahu wants the public to think this. – Jerusalem Post  

Omri Nahmias writes: As much as the US wants to see its close ally taking a tough position on Russia, Israel has its own considerations. It also needs to maintain its unique relationship with Russia, including coordination in Syria, explains Dan Arbell, scholar-in-residence at the Center for Israeli Studies at American University. Arbell previously served as deputy chief of mission at the Israel Embassy in Washington, and has been a diplomat for over 20 years. – Jerusalem Post 

Arabian Peninsula

Four rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Thursday night, the latest in a series of aerial attacks amid Iranian threats and political violence as Iraq’s factions struggle to form a new government. – New York Times 

An explosion from a hand grenade hit the headquarters of Iraqi parliament speaker Mohammed Halbousi’s Taqaddum party in Baghdad early on Friday wounding two guards, police sources said. – Reuters  

The United Arab Emirates is looking to double or triple its trade volume with Turkey, capitalizing on its logistical ties with the rest of the world, in the latest sign of warming ties between the erstwhile rivals. – Bloomberg 

Middle East & North Africa

Lebanese truck and bus drivers and others blocked main roads in the capital and other areas on Thursday in protest at the failure of politicians to address an economic crisis that has sent the currency into tailspin and driven prices sky high. – Reuters  

The BBC has obtained extraordinary recordings which we believe to be of phone calls made by a former Middle East dictator, Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, as he flew out of the country in 2011. These final moments show how his authority crumbled, sealing the fate of his 23-year dictatorship and sparking the region’s wave of pro-democracy “Arab Spring” uprisings. – BBC 

Ido Levy writes: A convenient fiction of general withdrawal from the region has become prevalent, fostered by the symbolic end of the combat mission in Iraq and equivocations from President Biden and other officials wrongly suggesting that America no longer has troops in Syria. Instead, the administration should get comfortable explaining how a small commitment—just a fraction of the U.S. deployments in Europe and East Asia—has helped reduce terrorism, uphold human rights, and alleviate suffering in the Middle East and around the world. – Washington Institute 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired at least two ballistic missiles on Friday, the third test in two weeks, just hours after criticizing a U.S. push for new sanctions over the previous launches as a “provocation” and warning of a strong reaction. – Reuters 

North Korea’s hacker army launched at least seven attacks on cryptocurrency platforms in 2021 that menaced global players and netted the reclusive state almost $400 million worth of digital assets, a report said. – Bloomberg 

North Korea hit back at U.S. sanctions in response to recent hypersonic missile tests that raised new security concerns, vowing a “stronger and certain reaction” to Washington’s attempt to halt its weapons programs. – Bloomberg 

At around the same time North Korea said it fired off a hypersonic weapon, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop order for air traffic operating in the Western U.S. and Hawaii. – Military Times  

Josh Rogin writes: China uses vaccines to coerce and threaten other countries. The United States should use them to build bridges, starting in North Korea but then on a global scale. Right now, our neglect of North Korea and several other poor countries is harming our health security and our national security, which are intertwined more than ever. – Washington Post  

Matt Abbott writes: Biden promised “a new era of relentless diplomacy” around the world in his first address before the U.N. General Assembly. Yet to show the American people, as well as American allies and partners, that such relentless diplomacy can yield results it is time to recalibrate the administration’s approach to North Korea through these initial steps. – War on the Rocks 


China suspended the social media account of a popular Chinese economist, days after an article that he wrote, suggesting that the country spend $314 billion to boost its fertility rate, went viral online. – Wall Street Journal  

Beijing is trying to fortify the Chinese economy against a prolonged period of tension with the U.S. and other countries, stockpiling some essentials and planning on more domestic production as it accelerates efforts to make China less dependent on the world. – Wall Street Journal  

When China reversed plans to raise taxes on expatriates hours before they were scheduled to take effect, the Western business community welcomed the move, but the last-minute decision underscored challenges for foreign businesses there. – Wall Street Journal  

A Xinjiang official warned that foreign companies could face boycotts from Chinese consumers, in one of the most direct signals yet that Beijing is willing to use its market power to counter a U.S.-led human rights campaign. – Bloomberg 

China’s increasingly muscular efforts to isolate Taiwan internationally have paid off in Washington after a foreign naval association caved to Chinese pressure and reversed course on letting Taiwanese officers join the group. – Financial Times 

Robert D. Kaplan writes: Containment is a word nobody likes to say out loud. But it works. Remember especially that it was Richard Nixon’s Vietnam-era policy of détente and tactical maneuvering—rather than an attempt to seek all-out victory in the Cold War—that preceded Ronald Reagan’s successful Wilsonianism. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed of its own accord. We should keep that in mind, given that domestic tensions inside Russia and China, though more opaque than our own, aren’t to be underestimated and in fact help fuel their aggression. – Wall Street Journal 

Shaomin Li writes: This may be why the Biden administration has given up on pushing for systemic changes in China. But time is not on our side because as the Chinese economy grows faster, the Chinese government will become more powerful. Any “kicking the can down the road” policy is suicidal. – Wall Street Journal 

Matthew Brooker writes: For better or worse, Hong Kong was left in 1997 with a pluralist media industry imbued with democratic values. This was the system that China undertook to preserve for 50 years after the handover. China is now moving the city closer to the mainland’s norms. While there’s still a way to travel, full convergence looks like the ultimate destination. – Bloomberg  

Tom Mitchell writes: It is hard to believe that just three years ago Hong Kong was thriving in its traditional role as a bridge to China. Now the territory finds itself trapped, sealed off from both its Chinese hinterland and the rest of the world, with no end to its isolation in sight. – Financial Times  

Richard Fontaine writes: Every month, it seems, U.S. policymakers sound the alarm about the U.S.-Chinese relationship with greater volume. Across party lines and branches of government, many policymakers now endorse a major response to the China challenge. The watchwords are more resources, more speed, more vigor. All of this is appropriate. But Washington would do well to clarify what, precisely, this national effort aims to achieve. – Foreign Affairs 

Michael Schuman writes: What can be said with greater certainty is that Ukraine and Taiwan both show how easily U.S. weakness—or even the mere perception of weakness—could unravel the strained networks and alliances that support the American world order and usher in a new era of global conflict and instability. “Is Ukraine the same as Taiwan? No, of course they are not the same situation,” Pletka, of the American Enterprise Institute, said. “But in terms of the U.S.’s willingness to become entangled, I think there you see the very same signals.” – The Atlantic 


Myanmar believes that Cambodia will rule with fairness during its chairmanship this year of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), a spokesman for its ruling military council said on Friday. – Reuters 

China gave strong verbal backing to Kazakhstan’s leader for his deadly crackdown to quell violent unrest, but stood aside as Russia sent in special forces troops. – Associated Press 

Troops of a Russia-led security alliance were preparing to pull out of Kazakhstan on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The withdrawal comes only a week after they were deployed to the ex-Soviet nation on the request of its president, who was seeking to quell extremely violent mass protests. – Associated Press 

Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah criticized Cambodia’s prime minister for taking unilateral action in meeting the leader of Myanmar’s junta, as the region remains divided over how to approach the troubled nation. – Bloomberg 

Armenia expects diplomatic relations will be established with Turkey and borders between the two countries will open as a result of talks to normalize ties, which began on January 14 in Moscow, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have urged Kazakh authorities to respect human rights after detaining thousands amid anti-government rallies that turned deadly in the former Soviet republic’s largest city, Almaty, last week. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Nargis Kassenova writes: Over the past three decades, U.S. policy in Kazakhstan has consistently worked to reinforce the new nation’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, checking Russia’s neo-imperial tendencies. The events unfolding this month show that the story is a complicated one. The interaction between Russia and Kazakhstan undeniably features some aspects of a patron-client relationship. […]Whatever other policies they might pursue, the United States and its allies should persist in their efforts to support Kazakhstan in this journey. – Washington Post 

Bruce Pannier writes: Though it is quite likely that none of the governments in Central Asia wanted to see the Taliban return to power, that is now the reality. The first days of 2022 are another reminder to the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan that they are dealing with a militant group, not politicians. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Tom Burgis writes: So successful has Nazarbayev’s regime been at hollowing out civil society and hounding his enemies abroad that the protests have thrown up no leaders of national stature. As a result, says a former intelligence officer in the region, the likely upshot is a “redistribution” of wealth among the ruling few. The ex-spy and others who know the regime believe that, even if some of the chief beneficiaries change, the system Nazarbayev spent a generation building looks likely to endure after he is gone. – Financial Times 

Robert A. Manning writes: Repairing our democracy is no easy task. The hope is that many are sick of all the partisan whining and social media echo chambers, and that the political pendulum may swing back toward the center, where governing usually happens. As for autocracies, I suspect Putin is finding out that they don’t make spheres of influence like they used to, and that in this populist era he may be sitting over powder kegs more than client states. – The Hill 

Bruce Klinger writes: Current Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has expressed concerns about China’s growing military strength and called Taiwan “the front line in the struggle by democracies to resist authoritarianism’s advance.” This latest series of seemingly minor policy wins will help the U.S. make the most out of Tokyo’s new-found clarity. – Heritage Foundation 

Wilder Alejandro Sanchez writes: The events of January will have a significant impact on Kazakhstan’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia and the United States. However, the future of relations between Kazakhstan and China will largely be driven by the politics of water. While China has the right to develop its territory to the benefit of its citizens, being upstream of Kazakhstan means that Beijing also has responsibilities toward its friendly neighbor. Continued dialogue between the two nations will be essential to resolve water issues and protect Lake Balkhash. – The National Interest 

Klon Kitchen and Bill Drexel write: Contemporary Taiwan may be unique in the history of great power competition in the degree to which both geopolitical conquest and a superpower tech race are at stake. Each requires different, but interrelated, preparations on distinct timescales. Any strategy that fails to weigh the two together is not a winning one. And while no part of a Chinese invasion on Taiwan will be easy, the U.S.’s urgent technological priorities are, at least, clear—and ripe for immediate action. – Lawfare 


Russia’s deputy foreign minister said talks with the U.S. over the security situation in Ukraine had stalled and suggested that Moscow could dispatch a military deployment to Venezuela and Cuba, as the Kremlin seeks to pressure Washington to meet its demands to halt Western military activity that Russia claims poses a threat. – Wall Street Journal 

The United States and its European allies appeared no closer to resolving a crisis with Russia over a possible renewed war in Ukraine, as Western officials flatly rejected Moscow’s call to pledge there would be no further eastward expansion of NATO, while a top Russian negotiator said diplomacy already had reached a “dead end.” – Washington Post 

Russia on Friday announced a snap combat readiness inspection of its troops in its far east and said they would practice deploying to far-away military sites in Russia for exercises. – Reuters  

The West must prepare for the eventuality that there could be an escalation in tensions with Moscow, the U.S. envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said after talks with Russia in Vienna on Thursday, warning that “the drumbeat of war is sounding loud.” – Reuters  

The CIA is overseeing a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to five former intelligence and national security officials familiar with the initiative. The program, which started in 2015, is based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S., according to some of those officials. – Yahoo News 

Editorial: When Biden’s staff show up to lobby them on Putin’s behalf, Democratic senators should think twice. If they pass up the chance to vote for Cruz’s sanctions bill, they will be the ones colluding with Russia. – Washington Examiner 

Mark Gongloff writes: The U.S. and the rest of Team Anti-Sphere must decide whether they want to play this game again or risk going to war to defend the sovereignty of places like Ukraine and Taiwan. It’s not an easy call. What would James Monroe do? Actually, don’t answer that. – Bloomberg 

Seth G. Jones and Philip G. Wasielewski writes: Hopefully, reason will prevail in Moscow, and Russia will not invade Ukraine. If there is an invasion, however, the United States and its allies and partners need to be prepared to resist tyranny. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


Europe’s growing dependence on Russian gas and oil is limiting the continent’s room to maneuver in the mounting U.S.-Russia crisis over security in the region and making it highly vulnerable in the event of an escalation. – Wall Street Journal 

Poland’s foreign minister said on Thursday that Europe was at risk of plunging into war as Russia said it was not yet giving up on diplomacy but that military experts were preparing options in case tensions over Ukraine could not be defused. – Reuters 

European ministers bemoaned on Thursday a perception that they had been left isolated after Russia held talks with the United States and NATO over the future of the continent and said that Washington had never coordinated as much with the EU as now. – Reuters 

Sweden’s military said on Thursday it was ramping up its visible activities on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland amid increased tensions between NATO and Russia and a recent deployment of Russian landing craft in the Baltic. – Reuters 

Britain’s domestic spy service MI5 has warned lawmakers that the Chinese Communist Party has been employing a woman to exert improper influence over members of parliament. – Reuters 

Denmark warned on Thursday of a rising espionage threat from Russia, China, Iran and others, including in the Arctic region where global powers are jostling for resources and sea routes. – Reuters 

Brussels is poised to withhold more than €100m from Poland to cover unpaid fines imposed by the EU’s top court, the justice commissioner has warned, as he responds to “waves” of problems in the country’s judicial system. – Financial Times 

The city of Munich has held the first of 150 events this year that will commemorate the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Olympic Games there fifty years ago. – Algemeiner 

French and European Union defense leaders have an ambitious timeline to develop the bloc’s key military strategy and space documents while Paris leads the EU Council for the next six months. – Defense News 

Anthony Faiola writes: That’s the message China is sending Lithuania, a tiny Baltic country of 2.8 million. Beijing unleashed withering penalties — including a de facto trade embargo and a downgrading of diplomatic relations — following Vilnius’s move to allow Taiwan to open a contentiously named representative office in Lithuania. A vocal critic of Beijing’s human rights record, Lithuania also announced in December that it would not send a government delegation to the Beijing Winter Games, in concert with a U.S. diplomatic boycott. – Washington Post 

Edward Wong and Lara Jakes write: To meet one of the three main criteria for entry into NATO, a European nation must demonstrate a commitment to democracy, individual liberty and support for the rule of law. While Ukrainian leaders say they have met that threshold, some American and European officials argue otherwise. – New York Times 

Zsuzsa Anna Ferenczy writes: This drama is far from over. Lithuania will need to effectively communicate its commitment, both domestically and internationally, towards the Lithuanian public, to the EU, as well as internationally and toward China. A failure to unflinchingly pursue its values-based foreign policy would mark a victory for authoritarian bullying, with Lithuania and the democratic world the losers. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Yoruk Isik writes: Constraining Moscow’s expansionist policies in the Black Sea should involve practical steps, such as establishing a Black Sea maritime policing mission with a year-round NATO naval presence. Most importantly, however, is to have a common resolute position. – Middle East Institute 


Sweden has decided to withdraw its troops this year from a European special forces mission to the Sahel region, its foreign minister said on Friday. – Reuters 

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that it was essential for Mali’s transitional government to present an acceptable electoral calendar which could lead to the gradual easing of sanctions on the West African nation. – Reuters 

The European Union will impose sanctions on Mali in line with measures already taken by the ECOWAS grouping of West African states, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday – Reuters 

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awards the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize, on Thursday issued a very rare admonition to the 2019 winner, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, over the war and humanitarian crisis in his country’s Tigray region. – Associated Press 

The government of Ethiopia has sent a letter to the World Health Organization, accusing its Ethiopian director-general of “misconduct” after his sharp criticism of the war and humanitarian crisis in the country. – Associated Press   

At least one protester and one police officer were killed and dozens of people injured on Thursday during another day of demonstrations against military rule in Sudan, medics and police said. – Reuters 

The Americas

Officials serving at U.S. diplomatic missions in Geneva and Paris are suspected to have been afflicted with the mysterious neurological ailment known as Havana Syndrome and at least one was evacuated back to the U.S. for treatment, people familiar with the incidents said. – Wall Street Journal 

At least 78 human rights defenders were killed in Colombia in 2021, the United Nations human rights agency said on Thursday, adding that more cases were still being verified. – Reuters  

Editorial: Mr. Ortega had an answer for that, too: the presence, at his inauguration, of a special envoy from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Mr. Ortega recently withdrew Nicaragua’s recognition of Taiwan in favor of the People’s Republic, apparently to secure the latter’s aid in thwarting Western sanctions. Certainly, shunning the embattled island democracy in favor of the autocracy threatening it further clarified what kind of company he wishes to keep. – Washington Post 


Hackers brought down several Ukrainian government websites on Friday, posting a message on the site of the Foreign Ministry saying, “Be afraid and expect the worst.” – New York Times  

Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube and Reddit Inc. are being subpoenaed to turn over posts, videos and other material to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the panel’s chairman announced Thursday. – Bloomberg  

ISIS’s digital presence is under constant attack by the West, Iranian proxies and others, but its army of bots is learning to adapt even to aggressive attempts to shut it down, a new report by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at Reichman University said. – Jerusalem Post 

Parmy Olson writes: Online platforms and Meta in particular will argue that they have bent over backward to be transparent, even publishing regular transparency reports. But civil society groups and researchers have long rolled their eyes at their lack of useful detail. That isn’t surprising. Few large companies would willingly reveal their toll on human well-being. But being forced to look at the problem is the first step to solving it. – Bloomberg 

Alex Iftimie and Brandon Van Grack write: Thus, rather than banning cyber insurance, which would unreasonably force victim companies to bear the entire cost of recovery, the U.S. government could work with insurance carriers to ensure that underwriting requirements are making the private sector more resilient to ransomware attacks, and those insurance policies provide incentives to companies to recover from incidents by means other than paying a ransom. – The Hill 

Raj M. Shah and Kiran Sridhar write: The right combination of tools—real-time information, robust standards, incentives for improved cyber practices by companies themselves, dynamically priced insurance coverage—will make cyberattacks much more costly for hackers to carry out and much easier for U.S. companies to defend against. – Foreign Affairs 


Bringing new cloud and data capabilities to the tactical edge is a top priority for the U.S. Army this fiscal year, according to the service’s chief information officer. – Defense News 

The Pentagon’s top technology official says Congress is on board with a proposed rapid experimentation reserve, and she expects lawmakers to approve initial funding for the effort in fiscal 2022. – Defense News  

The first set of Stryker combat vehicles equipped with 50-kilowatt laser weapons will be delivered to a unit of Army soldiers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, by the end of September, according to the head of the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. – Defense News 

The Biden administration must learn lessons from the slow U.S. response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea: it must be prepared to send weapons to Kiev faster and, potentially, to boost NATO troop presence in the region if Russia attacks, the nominee to lead the Pentagon’s international security office told Congress on Thursday. – Defense One  

Toby Dalton and Ariel Levite write: Before the nuclear regime frays further, states must make an urgent effort to reinvigorate the NPT bargain. This work is essential both to stopping and rolling back future proliferation and to eventual disarmament—in other words, to a world in which nuclear technology doesn’t contribute to geopolitical instability. – Foreign Affairs  

Tom Collina writes: When President Biden sits down to edit the nuclear posture review, he needs to make sure sole purpose is in there. Protecting this position would allow Biden to keep his campaign promise, stick with his convictions and, most importantly, reduce the risk of nuclear war. On nuclear policy, Biden needs to make a clean break from Trump’s dangerous legacy. – Defense One  

Thomas Spoehr and Frederico Bartels write: The Department of Defense cannot change its ways overnight, no matter how artful the recommendations developed by the commission. However, done correctly, the PPBE Reform Commission can place the department on the road to necessary changes to the underlying resource management culture and the oversight relationship between Congress and the department. The commission represents the best opportunity in a decade for the Pentagon to improve its resourcing processes and regain the agility needed to compete effectively on the world stage. – War on the Rocks  

Bryan Clark, Dan Patt, and Timothy A. Walton write: Although disruptive, this shift is achievable, as shown by commercial enterprises’ ability to adopt a similar approach and the increasing reliance of US military force-generation organizations on AI-enabled algorithms to guide maintenance and modernization. If the DoD fails to move in a new direction regarding readiness assessment, it will continue to incentivize the status quo and find itself with two different versions of the US military—the one that trains at home and the one that fights in the field. – Hudson Institute  

Ben Nelson writes: Modernizing our nuclear triad is an opportunity to live up to the expectations of our constituents on a critically important issue that will help ensure a safer nation for future generations. I encourage my former colleagues in the Senate to find a partner across the aisle and work to get things done. – Defense News