Fdd's overnight brief

June 13, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


When Western researchers examined an Iranian drone brought down over Ukraine this spring, they said they made an important discovery: One Chinese-made part was manufactured this year. – Wall Street Journal

The United States and Iran are not discussing an interim nuclear deal, a U.S. official said on Monday, but Washington has told Tehran of steps that might trigger a crisis and also those that may create a better climate between the long-time antagonists. – Reuters 

Iran and Venezuela want to increase bilateral trade to $20 billion, up from $3 billion, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday during a visit to Caracas. – Reuters 

Early this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a mock wartime meeting of his security cabinet in a bunker. Communities in northern Israel are preparing shelters for a long-term conflict. And the military is working overtime on a new laser system to intercept rockets. – Bloomberg

Iran will help the Kremlin set up a drone factory inside Russia, presenting another challenge to America as it seeks to disrupt the weapons trade between the two countries and support the Ukrainian war effort. – New York Sun

Senior officials in Israel estimate that if understandings are reached between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, the Biden administration will try to avoid calling them an agreement, which would necessitate putting the provisions to a congressional vote. – Haaretz 

Bobby Ghosh writes: One place to start would be for the European Union to declare the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, as the US did in 2019. […] The US and its European allies should then redouble vigilance to impose the maximum penalties allowed under the sanctions on any individual or organization enabling Iranian oil exports or doing business with the IRGC and its extensive network of commercial operations. The message to Khamenei must be unambiguous: There will be no new deal on his terms. – Bloomberg 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: “Relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and independent countries in Latin America are strategic. The position of us and these three countries is to stand against imperialism and unilateralism,” Raisi said before departing, Al-Jazeera noted. – Jerusalem Post

Micah Halpern writes: Fifteen tankers in the last two years have been seized by Iran. Other tankers have been subject to Iranian strikes. The US 5th Fleet is responsible for securing the straits. The catch is that if the US steps up its naval presence in that very, very narrow waterway, or even just outside the straits, US ships become a very slow-moving, very big target for Iranian attack. And Iran is waiting for the perfect time to attack – not surgical attacks, but annoying attacks. Enough to irritate the United States without causing an international incident. – Jerusalem Post

Yoni Ben Menachem writes: Second, while Iran may pause uranium enrichment, it is already on the nuclear threshold. During the term of the agreement, it will likely continue to develop nuclear weapons technology, as well as its ballistic missile program. It may also use the time to harden its nuclear facilities against military attack. – Arutz Sheva

Sahar Soleimany writes: In the midst of Russia’s war with Ukraine and accelerating geostrategic competition with China, there is certainly a case to be made for greater US attention to Europe and Asia. But that shouldn’t mean a wholesale abandonment of American values, American allies, American security, or the democratic ideals that have always justified US engagement in the Middle East. Pretending that Iran isn’t slowly dominating the region is a disaster in the making, an inadvertent consequence of Biden’s “pivot.” Because sooner or later, as Iran grows in power and influence, it might mean war in the Middle East. Again. – American Enterprise Institute

Moustafa Ayad and Matthew Levitt write: Such public statements from senior Iranian officials are disconcerting, but the cyber actors actively advocating violence in the United States present a unique and pressing threat. This much is clear: the Shia cyber actors about whom the NCTC has voiced such concern—those who support the IRGC and its Qods Force, along with Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies—are already dangerously active online. – Washington Institute


Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian forces conducted several strikes deep in the Russian-occupied south, as officials in Kyiv said they had recaptured another village in the eastern Donetsk region. – Wall Street Journal 

Criticizing the military is illegal in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and openly displaying political ambition that could challenge the strongman president is highly ill-advised. Yet Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeniy Prigozhin somehow flaunts doing both these days and, for now at least, seems to be getting away with it. – Washington Post

The director general of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said Monday he was en route to Ukraine to assess the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant after a dam breach depleted water levels in the reservoir it uses to cool reactors and spent nuclear fuel. – New York Times

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said that a long-anticipated Ukrainian counter-offensive against occupying Russian forces had started, and he promised more military aid to the Kyiv government. – Reuters 

Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Monday it has signed a contract with the Akhmat group of Chechen special forces, a day after Russia’s powerful mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin refused to do so. – Reuters 

A state of emergency was introduced around the area where two fuel tankers collided on the Lena River in southeastern Russia’s Irkutsk region, damaging a container and spilling gasoline into the water, the region’s governor said early on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Russia launched a “massive missile” attack overnight on the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, killing at least three people and wounding 25 and damaging civilian infrastructure, Ukrainian officials said early on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Ukrainian pilots could begin training to fly U.S.-manufacture F-16 fighter jets as soon as this summer, the Dutch defense minister has told Reuters, a first step toward supplying Kyiv with a powerful, long-term capability in its war with Russia. – Reuters 

Russia is preparing a “man-made catastrophe” at the Titan chemical plant in annexed Crimea, Kyiv’s military intelligence agency, GUR, said on Monday. – Newsweek

Russia is transferring its “most combat-capable” troops from the southern Ukrainian Kherson region—parts of which have been devastated by last week’s destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam—to meet nascent Ukrainian counteroffensive operations along the 800-mile front, according to a defense minister in Kyiv. – Newsweek

Leonid Bershidsky writes: The Ukrainians appear to be looking for a weak spot to exploit in a similar way — a fortification badly built by a corrupt contractor, a poorly trained or poorly led Russian unit, a breach of discipline caused by commanders’ bickering — to prove that maneuver isn’t, in fact, dead. – Bloomberg 

Pankaj Mishra writes: A Ukrainian seizure of Crimea would most certainly be resisted by its Russian majority and a vanquished but not impotent Russia. And if Zelenskiy decides to barter away Crimea in negotiations, he will face fierce opposition among Ukrainian nationalists. The Ukrainian counteroffensive has barely started. Whatever its fate, the road to peace is going to be long, winding, and hard. In the meantime, we should be wary of those promising that any change will be rapid, predictable — and all positive. – Bloomberg 

Fergus Drake writes: If the UK — acting in concert with our allies — can bring about support and recognition for Ukraine’s continuing reforms, then the upcoming conference could spark a cycle of greater transparency and public sector effectiveness. This would provide Ukraine with the weapons needed to win its war on corruption, deliver a successful reconstruction and further draw this brave nation into our community of free and democratic states. – Financial Times


The coalition and opposition are close to finalizing their first agreement with regard to the government’s proposed judicial reforms and may announce it as soon as Wednesday, Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Avigdor Liberman said to the press ahead of his party’s weekly meeting on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Israel’s Foreign Ministry donated hundreds of thousands of liters of water and over 10 tons of food to the victims of the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam, the ministry announced on Monday. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: The panel – perhaps in an effort to appear evenhanded – does criticize the Palestinian Authority and Hamas (although not by name) for their treatment of Palestinians under their control, but it does not condemn, or even mention, the Palestinian terrorism and ongoing rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians. – Jerusalem Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Israelis can debate whether any potential impending nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers would be positive or negative, but either way, as long as the atmosphere is pro-deal, Jerusalem’s actions are likely to be much quieter. – Jerusalem Post


An Austrian man is being held in Afghanistan after he traveled to the country earlier this year, the Austrian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Beth Bailey writes: Amnesty International’s report arrives at a time when too many onlookers are considering engagement with the Taliban. For the sake of the group’s innocent victims, it is vital that relevant organizations follow Amnesty International’s recommendations and begin to hold the Taliban to account for its criminality. – Washington Examiner 

Lynne O’Donnell writes: In the meantime, these Pakistan-based pilots said, they are stuck in a country riven by political and economic turmoil, with no work or income, trying to pay for housing and unable to afford health care. All fear that the day the police knock on the door and they cannot pay bribes to stay out of jail is getting closer. “Of course we all hope that one day we can continue with our flying careers. But right now, because of the situation, it doesn’t matter where we go from Pakistan,” the 30-year-old former pilot said. “We just hope for evacuation from here.” – Foreign Policy


Twenty-two U.S. service members were injured in a helicopter “mishap” in northeast Syria on Sunday, the U.S. military said late on Monday, without disclosing the cause of the incident or detailing the severity of the injuries. – Reuters 

The Netherlands and Canada are taking Syria to the World Court over torture claims, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said on Monday. – Reuters 

A Russian fighter was killed and several others wounded in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo on Monday, a war monitor and a Kurdish security source said. – Reuters 

Emad Bouzo writes: During the tenuous period that lies ahead, it will be best for Syrians to exercise patience, maintaining ties with all Turkish political forces instead of relying on a single political actor. It would not be surprising if Erdoğan’s extended time in office is followed by a period in which the majority of the Turkish electorate shifts away from his policies, as often happens when leaders stay in office longer than they should. Considering the ever-changing political landscape in Turkey, Syrians should hedge their bets rather than viewing Erdoğan’s victory as a decisive conclusion. – Washington Institute


Iraq urged countries on Monday to repatriate their citizens from a sprawling camp in Syria housing tens of thousands linked to the extremist Islamic State group, saying it has become a “source for terrorism.” – Associated Press

Iraq’s parliament belatedly approved a record $152 billion budget for 2023 on Monday, after months of wrangling over the sharing of oil revenue between the central government in Baghdad and the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdish region in the north. – Associated Press

Hamdi Malik and Michael Knights write: Since then, AK has differentiated the position of the armed groups (fasail) from the Coordination Framework – with leaders like Hadi al-Ameri and U.S.-designated terrorist Qais al-Khazali and even Kataib Hezbollah’s Hussein Moanes seeming to give Sudani more time to eventually reduce the U.S. presence. The largest muqawama (Iran-baked militia) media outlets such as Sabereen News, who used to strongly support new facade group brands, offered almost no support to the three new kataibs listed above. This could be genuine segmentation of the muqawama or it could be a disingenuous effort to portray groups like Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Hoquq as non-violent actors, which they are not. – Washington Institute

Neville Teller writes: On March 20, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, held a press conference to mark “the 20th anniversary of US aggression against Iraq.” The irony involved in Russia condemning aggression was no doubt unintentional. – Jerusalem Post


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has spent almost $8bn acquiring and building stakes in gaming companies across the globe in the past 18 months as part of a turbocharged investment spree with the aim of becoming a dominant force in the growing entertainment industry. – Financial Times

In light of the American efforts to bring Israel and Saudi Arabia closer together, the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC has made it clear that an agreement normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia will only be possible if a solution is reached for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. – Haaretz 

Steven A. Cook writes: For too long, bad assumptions have formed the basis of U.S. Middle East policy, including the notion that Iran’s leaders want to normalize ties with their neighbors. In reality, Iran does not want to share the region and is not a status quo power. The regime’s goal is to reorder the region in a way that favors Tehran, and with the Saudis now promising an ambassador and investment, the Iranians have determined they are now freer to advance their agenda. In other words, no de-escalation. – Foreign Policy 

Middle East & North Africa

Egyptian Supply Minister Ali Moselhy said on Monday that no credit line had been opened with India but discussions were ongoing regarding payments for imports using currencies other than the dollar. – Reuters 

The Iran-backed Hezbollah and its closest allies are set to torpedo an attempt by rivals to elect a senior IMF official as Lebanese president this week, in a tussle that underlines its decisive sway and the dim prospects for reviving the crumbling state. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s parliament has been called to convene on Wednesday in a bid to elect a head of state to fill the vacant presidency. But with the main parties at odds over who should take the post, the session appears likely to fail. – Reuters 

Peter Coy writes: The plunge in the lira in the past few weeks, while frightening, is a positive sign in one respect. It indicates that Turkey is no longer wasting its dwindling foreign currency to try to prop up the lira above its natural level. At midday Monday in New York the lira was worth 4.22 U.S. cents, down 15 percent from May 23. – New York Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The Gulf is paying attention to the rise of China. Saudi Arabia, for instance, “announced on Sunday billions of dollars in investment deals between China and the Arab world, on the first day of the Arab-China business conference in Riyadh,” according to Al-Arabiya. “The meeting comes amid growing commercial and diplomatic ties between Beijing and Middle Eastern countries, including a recent landmark Chinese-brokered rapprochement between powerhouses Iran and Saudi Arabia that has shifted regional relations.” – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

The United States is concerned that North Korea is planning to deliver more weapons to Russia, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said on Monday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to bolster strategic cooperation with Moscow. – Reuters 

Chinese warships are conducting salvage operations in waters where a North Korean space rocket crashed last month, South Korea said on Monday. – Reuters 

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said on Tuesday he was doubtful whether China’s ambassador had an attitude of mutual respect after the envoy warned Seoul against making “wrong bets” in the Sino-U.S. rivalry, Yonhap News Agency reported. – Reuters  

South Korea is pivoting to a “hard-line stance” in its relations with China following meetings between the two where Beijing used “high-handed” diplomatic rhetoric, the DongA Ilbo newspaper cited a “key” government official as saying. – Bloomberg 

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will visit France and Vietnam next week and meet with leaders from both countries, Yoon’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

South Korea and Japan’s deepening defence co-operation is triggering alarm in China, as the US seeks to rally its east Asian allies amid increasing regional tensions. – Financial Times


As Beijing and Washington move gingerly toward restoring high-level exchanges, Xi Jinping is stepping up his effort to gird China for conflict. – Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. is moving to rejoin Unesco—with plans to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in membership fees—in a bid to counter the growing influence of China and other adversaries at the United Nations culture and heritage organization. – Wall Street Journal 

China deployed a reconnaissance aircraft over Pacific waters east of Taiwan last week that Chinese media said monitored and gathered intelligence on an exercise involving the navies of the United States, Japan, France and Canada. – Reuters 

The Biden administration on Monday added 43 entities to an export control list, including Frontier Services Group Ltd, a security and aviation company previously run by Erik Prince, for training Chinese military pilots and other activities that threaten U.S. national security. – Reuters 

China said on Monday that allegations that it was using Cuba as a spying base are false and it denounced the U.S. government and media for releasing what it called inconsistent information. – Reuters 

China is willing to begin talks on a free trade agreement with Honduras “as soon as possible”, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday, during the first visit by the Central American country’s president since forming diplomatic ties in March. – Reuters 

New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday he will visit China at the end of this month at the head of a trade delegation. – Reuters 

A widely followed state-backed Chinese social media account accused Washington of repeatedly playing tricks and creating the “illusion” that it is eager to engage with China, days before an expected visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. – Reuters 

The Dutch government plans to vet international students after universities barred some Chinese postgraduates from top technology degrees over fears they could be a risk to national security. – Financial Times

Tom Rogan writes: Kirby’s excuse that the issue was too sensitive to discuss in any sense is laughable. He would have known the story would eventually come out. Why couldn’t he and Ryder have said, “No comment,” or “we have nothing to add,” or “the report isn’t entirely accurate”? Why couldn’t they have offered some other diversion? Top line: They did not need to mislead the public. In doing so, they have undermined their own credibility and the Biden administration at large. And China is the only beneficiary of it. – Washington Examiner 

Gerard DiPippo and Jude Blanchette write: Finally, in gaming out the use of economic coercion, it becomes clear that sanctions themselves will do little to impact Beijing’s calculations unless paired with a credible military threat. If Xi Jinping doubts the United States’ political will to militarily intervene in a Taiwan crisis, or if he believes that the PLA will win a quick and decisive victory, the threat of sanctions would be toothless. If, however, Xi sees the early signaling of sanctions as just the first step in U.S. escalatory threats that include military force, this might prove sufficient in dissuading a Chinese attack. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

South Asia

Sri Lanka’s government has decided to extend a restriction on outward capital transactions by six months due to pressure on its limited foreign exchange reserves, cabinet spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

India threatened to shut Twitter down unless it complied with orders to restrict accounts critical of the government’s handling of farmer protests, co-founder Jack Dorsey said, an accusation Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government called an “outright lie”. – Reuters 

John Reed writes: What’s telling is the speed with which objections have started to ebb away in a region where India is the biggest economy and a growing foreign investor. Governing officials in Nepal and Bangladesh — which have good relations with the Modi administration — initially protested but are now happy to accept the explanation that the map was a historical one. Indians will have the chance to judge for themselves when the building opens to the public next month. – Financial Times


Hong Kong police arrested a man on Tuesday who spray painted anti-American graffiti on the wall and a gate of the city’s U.S. consulate, police and media said. – Reuters 

The head of New Zealand’s public radio station apologized Monday for publishing “pro-Kremlin garbage” on its website after more than a dozen wire stories on the Ukraine war were found to have been altered. – Associated Press

Myanmar’s ruling junta has suspended humanitarian access to western Rakhine state, where more than a million vulnerable people are in urgent need of aid a month after a powerful cyclone devastated the region, the United Nations said. – CNN

Peyman Asadzade writes: The legitimacy crisis, which was temporarily alleviated by his successful leadership during the 2020 Karabakh War, could re-emerge once the euphoria of the victory wanes. Furthermore, despite ongoing efforts to diversify the economy, Azerbaijan remains overwhelmingly dependent on energy exports and thus highly vulnerable to external shocks. A significant decline in global oil and gas prices could trigger a political crisis. Aliyev’s potential political and economic vulnerability in the long term could present an opportunity for opposition groups, including Hoseyniyun, to leverage his weakness for their own benefit. – Middle East Institute



Silvio Berlusconi has died at the age of 86. Italy’s flamboyant former prime minister had been a fixture of European politics, business and sports since the 1990s. – Washington Post

The largest military air exercises in Europe since the end of the Cold War began on Monday as 25 nations took to the air in fighter jets, bombers and cargo planes in a pointed demonstration to Russia. – New York Times

The death of Silvio Berlusconi on Monday brought to an end one of the longest, most consequential and colorful eras in Italian politics, with both ardent admirers and die-hard critics marking a life of outsized influence as something that split contemporary Italian history into the before and after. – New York Times

The nine nuclear-armed states continue to modernize their arsenals and several deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2022, a Swedish think tank said Monday. – Associated Press

France, Germany and Poland have pledged to support Ukraine militarily against the Russian invasion for as long as it takes while they and other western powers work on issue of “security guarantees” aimed at shoring up Ukraine’s defences and assuring its sovereign future. – Financial Times

Nato countries need to improve their defence plans for the Baltic countries especially as Russia prepares to send nuclear weapons into neighbouring Belarus, according to Lithuania’s foreign minister. – Financial Times

Romania’s centre-right prime minister Nicolae Ciucă stepped down on Monday, handing over his post to the Social Democrats, as part of a power-sharing deal agreed in late 2021. – Financial Times

The hurdles facing Sweden’s accession to NATO have delayed talks to elevate Nordic defense cooperation to something of a self-enclosed cluster of nations within the alliance. – Defense News

Sidita Kushi writes: If the “Balkan powder keg” explodes once again, the blood will be on the hands of U.S. diplomats for punishing their democratic allies while pacifying the autocrats. But there is still time to reset and renew investments in the democratization of the Balkans—not in another stabilitocracy. The U.S.’ most successful humanitarian intervention and democratization mission in the post-Cold War era is on the line along with what’s left of its liberal credentials. – Newsweek

Tony Barber writes: For his part, Berlusconi saw himself both as a self-made man who had never lost the common touch, and as a crusader for the values of freedom and free-market competition that defined western civilisation. Berlusconi aroused passionate claims in his support and against himself. His trajectory across modern Italian history was fast, mysterious and never dull; but if he changed Italy more than his opponents wanted, they are doubtless relieved that he changed it less than he himself would have liked. – Financial Times


More than 40 civilians were killed on Monday when a militia attacked a camp for displaced people in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official and the head of a civil society group said. – New York Times

A bipartisan group of American lawmakers has asked the Biden administration to punish South Africa for what it sees as the country’s support of Russia’s war in Ukraine by moving a major trade conference scheduled to be held in South Africa this year to another country. – New York Times

Heavy clashes and artillery fire erupted across Sudan’s capital Khartoum on Sunday and residents reported air strikes soon after the end of a 24-hour ceasefire that had brought a brief lull to eight weeks of fighting between rival military factions. – Reuters 

The United Nations mission in Libya said on Monday it was concerned by the arbitrary arrest of migrants and asylum seekers in the country, accompanied by what it called a disturbing rise in hate speech and racist discourse. – Reuters 

More than 45 civilians were killed in a militia attack on a camp for displaced people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province early on Monday, the United Nation’s peacekeeping mission said. – Reuters 

In 18 months, South Sudan is supposed to hold its first presidential elections, the culmination of the peace agreement signed nearly five years ago to pull the young nation out of fighting that killed some 400,000 people. – Associated Press

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party expelled its former secretary-general on Monday for misconduct and other breaches of party rules while he also faces charges of corruption in a criminal case. – Associated Press

The Americas

The Cuban government was responsible for the death in 2012 of a prominent political activist who had organized a movement that had sought to compel the government to allow more freedom, according to a report released on Monday by an international human rights agency. – New York Times

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Monday in a bid to get a free trade deal moving again. – Associated Press

Former Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was charged on Monday with providing false evidence in an inquiry into a multi-million-dollar government loss on an investment deal. – Associated Press

Mexico’s top diplomat resigned his post Monday to enter the primary race for the country’s 2024 presidential election, and Mexico City’s mayor said she would resign Friday to do the same. – Associated Press

Editorial: Cuba has never lifted a finger to properly investigate Payá’s death. Payá’s wife, Ofelia Acevedo Maura, has repeatedly requested the autopsy report but never got one. Many unanswered questions remain about the deaths. One of the most important — not answered by the commission — is: Who were the Cuban agents in that car that rammed Payá? Who sent them? The commission report should remind everyone: This case is not closed. Payá’s family — and the Cuban people — deserve better. – Washington Post

Walter Russell Mead writes: Washington’s passivity as drug cartels undermined state structures and as hostile foreign powers established beachheads across the hemisphere handed China, Russia and Iran a historic opportunity. Unless Joe Biden learns to channel the spirit of James Monroe, the toxic cocktail of instability and foreign interference in the Western Hemisphere could soon undermine America’s ability to face challenges farther afield. – Wall Street Journal 


Chinese hackers are all but certain to disrupt American critical infrastructure, such as pipelines and railways, in the event of a conflict with the United States, a senior U.S. cybersecurity official said Monday. – Reuters 

Members of the House Armed Services Committee are demanding several updates from the Pentagon on whether it is effectively using artificial intelligence to defend against growing threats from China and other adversaries. – Fox News

Despite being routinely blocked from international subsea cable projects involving US investment, Chinese companies have adapted by building international cables for China and many of its allied nations. – Financial Times

South Korean prosecutors have indicted a former Samsung executive for allegedly working with competitors who tried to build a copycat semiconductor factory in China. – CNN


The House released draft legislation on Monday that puts the squeeze on the Pentagon to arrive at a long-overdue decision as to where to locate the Space Command headquarters following a two-and-a-half-year showdown between Alabama and Colorado. – Defense News

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has recommended to the president that Adm. Samuel Paparo, the commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, become the Navy’s 33rd chief of naval operations. – Defense News

House lawmakers want to expand the role of the Pentagon’s chief technology officer to emphasize the importance of leveraging commercial innovation to rapidly field new capabilities. – Defense News

The Defense Department will stop accepting some newly built F-35 Joint Strike Fighters beginning next month as delays in upgrading the fighter drag on. – Defense News

U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a clearer catalog of spending on nuclear command, control and communications, the means through which the devastating arsenal is readied, coordinated and potentially used. – Defense News

The Air Force would be allowed to retire 42 A-10 Warthog attack planes in 2024 as part of a proposed version of the House’s fiscal 2024 National Defense Authorization Act. – Defense News

By fall 2024, Marine Corps low altitude air defense battalions will begin receiving a powerful new weapon: Marine air defense integrated systems, or L-MADIS, a vehicle-mounted powerhouse that can detect and shoot down hostile drones or even low-flying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. – Defense News