Fdd's overnight brief

July 20, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

The European Union is working under the assumption that Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline won’t return to operation when scheduled maintenance ends this week, officials said Tuesday, and are working through contingency planning even as they hold out hope the gas flows will resume. – Wall Street Journal

The Nord Stream pipeline that channels Russian natural gas to Europe shut down for scheduled maintenance last week, stoking fears across the continent that the Kremlin could cut off supplies in retaliation for sanctions against its invasion of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

“Russia is taking steps toward annexing parts of Ukraine it controls, in direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” a top U.S. national security official warned on Tuesday, including installing proxy officials expected to call “sham” votes on joining Russia and forcing residents to apply for Russian citizenship. – New York Times 

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska visited the White House on Tuesday, part of her high-profile trip to Washington as the Russian war in her country enters its sixth month. – Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Moscow did not see any desire from Ukraine to fulfil the terms of what he described as a preliminary peace deal agreed to in March. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Iran this week shows how Russia has become isolated in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, John Kirby, the White House’s chief National Security Council spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday. – Reuters

Ukraine’s top presidential aide said on Tuesday that Ukraine does not want the war to last into winter, as this would give Russian forces time to dig in and make any Ukrainian counter-offensive more difficult. – Reuters

Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday that Russia will prevail in Ukraine and will set the terms for a future peace deal with Kyiv. – Reuters

The Ukrainian military needs “at least” 100 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, to launch an “effective” counterattack against Russia, said Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov. – Washington Examiner

One hundred and forty New York Army National Guard soldiers have been deployed to Germany to help train Ukrainian military personnel. – Washington Examiner

Russia’s military offensive, which has struggled to sustain its effectiveness through its war in Ukraine, is “likely becoming” a more serious issue, according to the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense. – Washington Examiner

Nearly 2 million Ukrainians refugees have been sent to Russia, according to both Ukrainian and Russian officials. Ukraine portrays these journeys as forced transfers to enemy soil, which is considered a war crime. Russia calls them humanitarian evacuations of war victims who already speak Russian and are grateful for a new home. – Associated Press

Ukraine has become an association country of the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Tuesday, with both stressing that closer cooperation will help Europe face what is expected to be a hard winter amid an energy crisis tied to Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

Ukrainian forces have struck and seriously damaged a bridge that is key for supplying Russian troops in southern Ukraine, a regional official said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

David Ignatius writes: Putin’s trip to Tehran is a creative attempt to gain political leverage by a leader who knows that brute Russian force of arms, alone, could dig Russia into a conflict from which it might not escape for decades. – Washington Post

Serge Schmemann writes: Russia will be playing its natural role of civilization of civilizations. Russia should also be playing the role of the northern balancer of this system. I hope we shall be able to play this double role. We are proud heirs of a great culture created by Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol. – New York Times

Oscar Arias and Jonathan Granoff write: NATO’s nuclear arsenal failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has almost no utility as a weapon of war. But NATO’s nuclear weapons can still be put to good use, not by threatening to launch them and escalate the war, but by withdrawing them to make room for new negotiations and eventual peace. – The Hill

Gregory J. Wallance writes: Unless the Biden administration can free her, perhaps in a prisoner exchange since she is effectively a prisoner of war, she could be in a Russian prison for a long time. So long that, if history is any guide, Griner could be watching on a prison television as Russian athletes in successive Olympics win medals using illegal substances to enhance their performance, and receive accolades from Vladimir Putin. – The Hill

Bobby Ghosh writes: If he has the traditional Russian appreciation for irony, Putin might reflect that the one thing he has in common with his US counterpart is a problem called Erdogan. But the parallels end there. – Bloomberg

Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage write: The less apocalyptic the perspective of Washington and its allies, the better. The United States and Russia are not on the verge of World War III. Not every move is existential. – Foreign Affairs

Elizabeth Hoffman writes: Support for Russian civil society also serves to counter the narrative pushed by the Putin regime that the United States and the West seeks to suppress a strong and powerful Russian Federation and is hostile to the Russian people. Support to Ukraine and the Zelensky government will help the United States and likeminded partners win this battle against Putin and his authoritarian expansionism. Ultimately, to win the war, the United States should also invest in the Russian people. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Iran’s leader gives Putin a strong endorsement of Russia’s war in Ukraine. His words also a signal to the world that the long-fraught relationship between Moscow and Tehran was strengthening into a true partnership, cemented partly by the Western sanctions damaging both of their economies. – New York Times

With Iran declaring it now has the “technical means” to build a nuclear bomb, the Biden administration insists there is still time for Iran to accept a negotiated deal to avert a showdown that could lead to military conflict. – Washington Examiner

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russian gas producer Gazprom (GAZP.MM) signed on Tuesday a memorandum of understanding worth around $40 billion, Iran’s oil ministry’s news agency SHANA said. – Reuters

Tehran is ready to export military equipment and weapons, Iran’s army ground forces commander Kiumars Heydari said on Tuesday according to the student-led news agency Young Journalists Club (YJC). – Reuters

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Russian President Vladimir Putin that Tehran and Moscow needed to stay vigilant against “Western deception,” calling for long-term cooperation between Tehran and Moscow, state TV reported on Tuesday. – Reuters

Iran supports a political solution to Syria’s crisis, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said in a televised speech to a three-way summit with Russia and Turkey on the Syrian conflict in Tehran on Tuesday – Reuters

Russia, Turkey and Iran on Tuesday vowed to continue their cooperation to “eliminate terrorists” in Syria, in a trilateral statement after their presidents met in Tehran. – Arutz Sheva

Michael Rubin writes: As American partisans engaged in a circular firing squad, they failed to give Iranian leaders credit for their own agency. While President Mohammad Khatami charmed the world with his offers of a “Dialogue of Civilizations” (a dialogue that never included Israel), his own aides bragged about how they hoodwinked Western officials with false engagement so that sanctions would not interfere with their covert nuclear program. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The overall context of the IRGC being involved in busting a human-trafficking ring that targeted women may be more than is reported. It was unclear why the IRGC and its intelligence agents were sent to Erbil, why they focused on this ring and why Iran seems to have viewed this as an important security operation, whereas cracking down on vice and human trafficking, including prostitution and kidnapping of women, would normally be a police and law-enforcement issue, rather than an intelligence case. – Jerusalem Post


Israel’s new prime minister paid an unannounced visit to the border with Lebanon on Tuesday, threatening to unleash a harsh military response to what he described as “unacceptable” aggression by the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group. – Associated Press

The US State Department is urging countries that have not yet done so to blacklist the Hezbollah terrorist organization. – Arutz Sheva

Amos Harel writes: From its very first days, the caretaker government headed by Yair Lapid is facing new challenges and possibly new trolling as well. On the security front, Hezbollah is inflating an essentially technical issue relating to the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon as an excuse to issue new threats. – Haaretz


Ankara hopes Washington will not fall for a “game” by some U.S. lawmakers against the potential sale of F-16 jets, Turkey’s defence minister said, after the House of Representatives approved a bill creating a new hurdle to any Turkish purchase. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the Kurdish YPG militia was taking steps to divide Syria with foreign support and that it would benefit the Syrian people to rid the country of them. – Reuters

A top administrative court in Turkey ruled Tuesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to pull the country out of a key European treaty protecting women from violence was lawful, rejecting petitions seeking its cancellation, the state-run news agency reported. – Associated Press

The leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Tehran to discuss the conflict in Syria but with the turmoil caused by President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine far more in focus. – Bloomberg

Burcu Ozcelik writes: Turkey sees its maritime rights in the eastern Mediterranean as a matter of strategic national interest—this is true of the AKP as well as the main opposition parties. Even if a change in government should come to pass, this view is unlikely to change under a different ruling party. – The National Interest


Faisal Abu Khadra, a member of the PLO’s Palestinian National Council (PNC) and a columnist for the East Jerusalem daily Al-Quds, wrote in a July 5, 2022 column that the Palestinian refugees’ right of return is a “divine right” that the Palestinians will never relinquish. Palestine, he added, is the Palestinians’ homeland, whereas the Zionists originate in northern Germany and are therefore “Aryan, rather than Semitic, in origin.” – Middle East Media Research Institute

Russian company Yandex has decided to sell several of its key Israeli assets and may have already begun meeting with buyers, according to sources close to the deal, after it was undermined by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Haaretz

Editorial: When two desperate, increasingly isolated countries look to each other for help, the results can be dangerous. With the goodwill and iron-clad support that the US displayed last week still fresh in Israel’s minds, it’s important to remember that ill winds are still blowing in from Moscow and Tehran that could force that theoretical support into military action. – Jerusalem Post

Andrew Doran writes: For all the emphasis on Israel’s Europeanness, it is today, as in many ways it always was, principally a Middle Eastern nation. Israel’s neighbors who grasp this fact will benefit immensely — first through trade, then culture and perhaps one day through civil society and governance. Israel’s diverse citizenry, Israeli Arabs and Sephardim among others, may speed the process of regional rapprochement along as much as state-level diplomacy. – The Hill

Gil Hoffman writes: While Biden and Trump agree on virtually nothing, there is one issue on which there’s seeming consensus: Israel. While there have been recent surveys indicating that this is changing, it can still be said that at a time of hyperpolarization in the US, Israel is what unites Americans with views that vary widely across the political spectrum on domestic issues. And just like they did when Trump visited, Israelis welcomed Biden with the kind of treatment that may be otherwise reserved for the coming of the actual messiah. – Algemeiner

David Wurmser writes: The idea of a regional security alliance, which only a week ago seemed to be already happening, suddenly vaporized the moment the United States said that it was going to put itself in charge of shepherding it to completion. This attempt to insert the United States on top of the security ties in the region was perhaps the most destructive failure, on several levels. – Algemeiner

Anthony Avice Du Buisson writes: Israel should end the balancing act and provide Ukraine with the support it needs, whether militarily, financially or otherwise. This should include imposing sanctions in line with other states on Russia. Israel may insist on neutrality for geopolitical reasons but whether it likes to admit it or not, sooner or later the state will need to take a firm stance. – Jerusalem Post

Herb Keinon writes: A resumption of the EU-Israel Association council is one way to do that, even if — at that first meeting of that council — differences will be aired over the Palestinian issue. This time, however, those differences will not place a brake on the relationship. Because if some Arab countries can move forward at great speed with Israel — despite the lack of movement on the Palestinians issue — then why can’t the EU?  Does the EU, in this matter, really need to be more Catholic than the pope? – Jerusalem Post

Gil Troy writes: Admittedly, a cynical British friend of mine was correct. Biden’s Israel visit was a most elaborate rest stop on the way to the Saudi Arabian “petrol station.” Still, Biden done good. He showed Democrats at home – and peaceniks in Israel – how to recognize the eternal ideals that make Israel Israel and link Americans and Israelis in our unique and mutually beneficial bond. For that, we should say, “Toda raba! Thank you, Mr. President.” – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

A judge in the northeastern Moroccan city of Nador sentenced 33 migrants to 11 months in prison on Tuesday and ordered them to pay small fines in connection with a mass attempt to cross into the Spanish enclave of Melilla last month, defense lawyers said. – New York Times

Syria said Wednesday it is formally breaking diplomatic ties with Ukraine in response to a similar move by Kyiv. – Associated Press

The Palestinian Authority and Jordan are demanding that Israel open Allenby Bridge (King Hussein) crossing 24 hours a day to allow thousands of Palestinian passengers stranded on the Jordanian side to return to their homes in the West Bank. – Jerusalem Post

Eric R. Mandel writes: He did bring the Saudis and Israelis a little closer together. His unequivocal statement that he is a Zionist should not be underestimated. However, the money offered to the Palestinians and UNRWA, marketed as humanitarian aid, appears to be an effort to appease Palestinian leadership and get them to continue security cooperation with Israel to avoid a Hamas takeover of the West Bank. And if oil and gas output increases significantly after the August OPEC+ meeting, the White House may acclaim the trip as a resounding success. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. – The Hill

Danielle Pletka writes: But the overall impression was that of a fading president and fading American power. A recent promise not to “walk away and leave a vacuum to be filled by China, Russia or Iran,” felt hollow after the ignominious U.S. retreat from Afghanistan, hesitation over Ukraine, and inability to reseal the Iran nuclear deal or persuade Saudi Arabia to ramp up oil production, not to speak of the Biden’s faltering leadership at home. – The Dispatch

Robert G. Rabil and Francois Alam write: Biden’s recent trip to Jeddah is a step in the right direction for reinforcing American-Arab relations and easing inflation and gas prices globally. However, the United States is far from achieving its objectives of pushing Russia and China out of the Middle East or creating an anti-Iran alliance. – The National Interest


Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for a reorientation of the world’s trading practices in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pushing again for countries to become less reliant on China for critical components like semiconductors. – Wall Street Journal

Chinese military logistics appear to suffer from some of the flaws that weakened Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Defense Department analysts. – Washington Examiner

China agreed to coordinate economic policies with the European Union, liberalise trade and investment, and further open up its financial sector, but was silent on an investment deal frozen by disputes over human rights, geopolitics and the war in Ukraine. – Reuters

China is asking the United Nations human rights chief to bury a highly-anticipated report on human rights violations in Xinjiang, according to a Chinese letter seen by Reuters and confirmed by diplomats from three countries who received it. – Reuters

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said geopolitics today requires “Nixonian flexibility” to help defuse conflicts between the US and China as well as between Russia and the rest of Europe. – Bloomberg

China flatly denied a report that President Xi Jinping had invited top European leaders to meet him in Beijing later this year, and was still awaiting their response, as tensions fray between Beijing and the bloc. – Bloomberg

The US’s successful collaboration with 37 other nations that’s driven down exports to Russia serves as a blueprint for a new regime on tackling threats from China, the head of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security said. – Bloomberg

Former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Wynn urged a judge to dismiss a US lawsuit seeking to compel him to register as a Chinese agent, saying he wasn’t lobbying when he passed on a message in 2017. – Bloomberg

David Fickling writes: Nations seeking to counter China’s influence in the Pacific shouldn’t be surprised if island governments are enthusiastic about the arrival of a new power in the region. If they want to counteract this shift, friendship and migration will do far more than hectoring and promises of aid. – Bloomberg

Kevin Rudd writes: Managed strategic competition could help stabilize the U.S.-Chinese relationship over the next decade, when the rivalry between the two superpowers would otherwise reach its most dangerous phase as they come closer to economic parity. The outlook for stabilization may be the most promising over the next six months, in the run-up to the U.S. midterms and Xi’s 20th Party Congress. But dealing with China’s (and, for that matter, the United States’) vast array of domestic and international challenges will take longer than that. – Foreign Affairs

South Asia

Sri Lankan acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe was selected by Parliament Wednesday as the country’s new leader, after widespread protests ousted the unpopular Gotabaya Rajapaksa earlier in July. – Washington Post

Sri Lanka won’t be able to resolve its debt restructuring problems without help from China as the country teeters on the brink of economic collapse, according to analysts. – CNBC

India plans to secure fertiliser supplies and hedge against price rises by expanding its footprint in mineral-rich countries through investments and multi-year import deals, fertiliser minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The Russian embassy in India said on Tuesday that it was aware of a Russian cargo ship in detention at the Indian port of Cochin. – Reuters

Anbarasan Ethirajan writes: Despite Sri Lanka seeking additional loans to tackle its current problems – a crippling shortage of fuel and soaring food prices – Beijing is yet to commit on any new loans. India, on the other hand, has provided around $3.5bn as credit and currency swap. As part of the credit line, it has dispatched several shipments of much-needed fuel, food and fertilisers to Sri Lanka in recent months. Experts say that India’s multi-billion-dollar financial assistance has led to a shift in public perception among Sri Lankans. – BBC


China warned that a Taiwan visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would deeply damage relations with the U.S., in what would be one of the highest-level U.S. trips to the island in years amid rancor between Washington and Beijing. – Wall Street Journal

East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta said on Tuesday during a visit to Indonesia that he hoped to boost trade ties between the countries and seal a decades-long bid by his nation to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year. – Reuters

USS Benfold (DDG-65) transited the Taiwan Strait Tuesday, less than a week after its freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea irked the Chinese government. – USNI News

Editorial: The lesson for Taipei and Washington is to build up the capacity to defend Taiwan now to deter China from invading. The West’s failure to deter Vladimir Putin has led to dreadful consequences for Ukraine and the world economy. Mrs. Pelosi’s symbolic show of support for Taiwan would be welcome, but it needs to be backed with the military force to make deterrence real. – Wall Street Journal

Koichi Nakano writes: On the contrary, a reaffirmed commitment to peace would allow domestic resources to be focused on the economy and open the door for better relations with Japan’s neighbors founded on peace through diplomacy. It’s time to beat Mr. Abe’s swords into plowshares. – New York Times

Joseph Bosco writes: His death is a great loss for Japan, the United States, and the world, and a boon to the aggressive dictatorships in Beijing and Pyongyang. Given the relentless propaganda against the United States and Japan spewing from those capitals, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s open contempt for Abe, it is no wonder there was cheering among many Chinese who had been fed the Communist Party’s line for their entire lives. – The Hill

Christopher B. Johnstone writes: This structure is arguably inadequate to supporting an alliance with the Japan that is emerging; the relationship will likely demand a joint operational command structure, resident in Japan, that is far more integrated than what exists today. Japan’s own consideration of a new joint operational headquarters, similar to a U.S. combatant command, provides an opportunity to reconsider the U.S. command structure in Japan. With Japan poised to make significant decisions on national security in the months ahead, the time to reimagine the institutions of the alliance is now. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Jim Przystup writes: It is now time to give credit where credit is due — to an overlooked Japan that has conceptualized and advanced the strategic concept of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific and brought along key allies and partners to support its strategic vision. – Japan Forward


Russia’s state-run gas giant Gazprom has warned some European clients that it can no longer guarantee supply to the continent, the latest salvo in an economic dispute between Moscow and Europe over the war in Ukraine. – Washington Post

The U.S. State Department has green-lighted the potential sale of F-16 sustainment and related equipment worth $127 million to Belgium, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday advanced protocols to support the accession of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, setting up a full Senate vote on expanding the alliance. – The Hill

The European Union is set to propose a voluntary 15% cut in natural gas use by member states starting next month on concern Russia may halt supplies of the fuel. – Bloomberg

Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos is visiting the United States this week as Athens continues its bid to join Lockheed Martin’s F-35 co-production program and lobby against a potential F-16 sale to Turkey. – Defense News

Editorial: The danger is that politicians instead will increase pressure on Kyiv to negotiate a settlement on the Kremlin’s terms. […]What a mistake that would be. Europe is receiving a crash course in Russian energy blackmail. The one thing never to do is to give in to the blackmailer—or Europe’s energy insecurity will grow worse. – Wall Street Journal

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr writes: Use the moment to take away his longer-term hope of keeping Ukraine economically on its knees by pushing aside a blockade that exists more because of the West’s unwillingness to challenge it than Mr. Putin’s willingness to enforce it. The Ukraine restoration project will be on stronger legs. Thankful U.S. taxpayers won’t have to foot so much of the bill for the long struggle ahead. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Claesson and Zebulon Carlander write: The Nordic states can help in showing that cooperation between smaller states who share a similar cultural, political, and economic heritage can be a force multiplier, which would be a win for the United States and NATO as a whole. Even without identical security allegiances, the Nordic states have come far in working together, and if all five are in NATO, the future is promising. – War on the Rocks


Officials at Britain’s Foreign Office warned against the U.K.’s plans to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda, citing the East African country’s human rights record, according to documents cited in a lawsuit brought against the British government. – Associated Press

The African Union should have a permanent seat at the Group of 20 leading economies to give the continent more say as it struggles with the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine, according to three ministers from the region. – Bloomberg

Vladimir Putin has claimed on a trip to Tehran that progress has been made that may allow Russia to lift the blockade on Ukrainian wheat, an issue that is threatening famine across Africa. – The Guardian

The Americas

President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil called dozens of foreign diplomats to the presidential palace on Monday to tell them that he believed the country’s voting systems could be rigged, a potential preview of his strategy for an election that is 75 days away and that polls forecast he will lose in a landslide. – New York Times

The US embassy in Brasilia described Brazil’s elections as a “model for the world,” one day after President Jair Bolsonaro told foreign ambassadors that the country’s electronic voting system is subject to fraud. – Bloomberg

Iran is increasing supplies of a key crude grade that Venezuela is using to boost its aging refineries’ productivity and free domestic oil for exports, documents seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed. – Reuters

President Joe Biden on Tuesday issued an executive order aimed at repatriating American hostages and other U.S. citizens wrongfully detained abroad. – Politico

The US said Mexico’s nationalist energy policies violate North America’s free-trade deal and has requested dispute-settlement talks under the agreement, according to people with knowledge of the matter who also showed a government statement to Bloomberg News. – Bloomberg


Top national security officials warned on Tuesday about the continuing threat of election interference from abroad, emphasizing that Russia could still seek to meddle or promote disinformation during the 2022 midterm races even as it wages war in Ukraine. – New York Times

Russian hackers apparently disguised and advertised a malware-infected Android app as a tool to fight back against Moscow in an effort to expose Ukrainian hackers. – The Hill

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI disrupted ransomware operations of a North Korean state-sponsored group that targeted U.S. medical facilities, recovering roughly a half-million dollars in ransom payments made to the country, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced on Tuesday. – The Hill

A Romanian man accused of helping distribute a computer virus that infected more than 1 million computers and caused big financial losses worldwide has been extradited to the United States, federal prosecutors said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S. House passed its $840 billion version of the annual defense policy bill, including a provision to identify and better secure critical infrastructure at most risk of cyberattack. – C4ISRNET

Six vulnerabilities in a popular GPS tracking device could allow malicious hackers to secretly track, disrupt or even remotely shut off vehicles, federal cybersecurity officials warned Tuesday. – CyberScoop

U.S. Cyber Command and National Security Agency chief Gen. Paul Nakasone stood by his comments last month about the U.S military conducting offensive cyber operations against Russia in its defense of Ukraine. – The Record

The state-backed Russian hacking team behind some of the biggest digital intrusions in recent years has been using both Google Drive and Dropbox to deliver malware against a range of targets, researchers said Tuesday – CyberScoop

Lindsay Freeman writes: Russia’s cyberwar against Ukraine is happening right now and the ICC Prosecutor has an unprecedented opportunity to deliver justice for Ukrainians, prevent future harm through deterrence, strengthen the laws of war by ensuring international law keeps pace with technological development, and demonstrate the ICC’s relevance, legitimacy, and potential. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Joshua Rovner writes: These questions are not terribly exciting, at least not compared to spectacular acts of sabotage. But we might learn something about the practical use of cyberspace operations by asking them. Russia’s experience in Ukraine offers a cautionary tale about expecting too much from cyber attacks, but it may yet reveal lessons about intelligence and war. – War on the Rocks


Pentagon officials are pressing lawmakers to back legislation to fund the domestic production of semiconductor chips, arguing it is essential for national security. – The Hill

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin told the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that the service branch’s size at the end of the fiscal year will be more than 20,000 troops below their target. – Washington Examiner

Ukraine’s defense minister dismissed concerns that weaponry sent to Ukraine by the United States and other nations could be diverted into the dark world of illegal arms trafficking, calling the worry “artificially engineered.” – Breaking Defense

The U.S. Marine Corps has successfully tested an air-defense package incorporating Israel’s Iron Dome Tamir missile, according to Israel’s Ministry of Defense. – Defense News

Lockheed Martin’s chief executive said Tuesday the U.S. and its allies are “changing gears” toward increased defense spending that will boost the company’s future sales ― but it will take time. – Defense News

General Dynamics Information Technology will provide network and data technology support to U.S. Air Forces in Europe after scoring a contract worth as much as $908 million. – Defense News

The Navy quietly slipped a new, classified assessment on the number of ships the service needs to meet its missions around the world to Congress earlier this month. The report calls for a battle force of 373 ships – 75 more than in the current fleet. – USNI News

Nicholas Nelson, Nico J. Luzum, Garritt Garcia, Anika Gouhl, Jack Sheldon, and Maria Winstead write: By encouraging members to use TRLs to award, audit, and scale or terminate technologies, NATO will move closer to its end goals of interoperability, decreased overlap, strategic procurement, and streamlined R&D exchanges. Each dollar spent will thus go further, faster, and have more impact. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Anthony H. Cordesman writes: If NATO is to react to even limited challenges like the Ukraine War, it needs to greatly improve its assessment and planning of its national industrial bases. If it is to compete with China and a Russia that is reacting to its lessons about the Ukraine War, the NATO must do this in a global context. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Long War

Viewed from a helicopter, this enormous camp that holds the wives and children of dead or captured Islamic State fighters was a sea of white tents against the desolate landscape of drought-stricken northeastern Syria. – New York Times

An Australian teenager detained in northeast Syria after living as a child under Islamic State (ISIS) rule has died in unclear circumstances, New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch said. – Reuters

U.N. experts said Tuesday the threat from Islamic State extremists and al-Qaida remains high in conflict areas and neighboring countries and warned that those conflicts will “incubate” the capability for a terrorist operation elsewhere in the world unless they are successfully resolved. – Reuters