Fdd's overnight brief

June 30, 2023

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Israel’s Mossad spy service announced on Thursday that its agents inside Iran seized the head of an alleged Iranian hit squad that planned to kill Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus. – Associated Press

U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said on Thursday his security clearance is under review and that he expects the investigation to end “favorably and soon.” – Reuters

Growing numbers of Western nations are joining calls to ban Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which trains its terrorist proxies and carries out attacks around the world. – Jerusalem Post

Iran International has obtained information about an IRGC-affiliated company active in supplying drones and missiles for Russia and Lebanese group Hezbollah. An Iranian hacktivist group, called ‘Lab-Dookhtegan’ or Read My Lips, shared with Iran International exclusive information about the activities of the company, identified as ‘Tik’, sharing the photos and identities of several senior members of the company.  – Iran International

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: Ultimately, this is only one issue of many where Tehran presents a major threat. But Israel will be happier to see a bit more strength from the EU than it usually expects, and this may even come in handy down the road with the larger JCPOA sanctions that expire in 2025 and 2030-2031. – Jerusalem Post

Russia & Ukraine

The U.S. has been considering approving a long-range missile system for Ukraine, American and European officials said, a move that would come as Russia grapples with unrest in its military leadership and uncertainty on the battlefield. – Wall Street Journal

Days after an aborted rebellion in Russia by a mercenary group presented a dramatic challenge to his leadership, President Vladimir V. Putin made highly choreographed public appearances in an effort to project power and control, even as U.S. officials said early intelligence reports suggested that a top general had been detained in connection with the failed uprising. – New York Times

Ukrainian forces appear to have used rockets to scatter stacks of internationally banned, hand-size antipersonnel land mines over Russian-occupied areas in eastern Ukraine, according to evidence collected by Human Rights Watch. – Washington Post

The Russian soldiers scurried into a building carrying a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. From his command post a few miles away, Ukrainian Sgt. Heorhiy Volkov was watching a live feed from an aerial drone. […]This is what the pause in Ukraine’s counteroffensive looks like. After encountering stiff Russian resistance to their initial ground assault earlier this month, Ukrainian commanders have largely held off sending large infantry formations and Western tanks to assault Russian positions. Instead, Kyiv is making targeted strikes, trying to soften Russian defenses for the next attack. – Wall Street Journal

Russian cargo ships sanctioned by the U.S. for carrying weapons and other supplies have been regularly calling at Turkish ports since the invasion of Ukraine began, potentially making the NATO member an important plank in Moscow’s broader war effort. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s leadership had encountered some issues with “the head of the paramilitaries,” they told the Central African president, Faustin-Archange Touadéra, but those issues had been resolved and the Kremlin, they assured him, was in control. But others aren’t so sure. – New York Times

Russia’s ambassador to Switzerland said Moscow could not accept any Swiss-hosted peace summit on Ukraine after it joined European Union sanctions against his country, adding Switzerland had lost its reputation for neutrality. – Reuters

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, a longtime admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Thursday Putin has been “somewhat weakened” by an aborted mutiny and that now is the time for the United States to try to broker a negotiated peace settlement between Russia and Ukraine. – Reuters

Dressed in white and yellow protective suits and armed with devices to detect radiation levels, Ukrainian emergency workers took part in a drill Thursday to prepare for a potential risk of radiation leakage from the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. – Associated Press

The Wagner Group is still recruiting fighters across Russia, days after staging a mutiny that led Vladimir Putin to raise fears of civil war. – BBC

In the wake of the failed rebellion in Russia, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov is positioning himself as a warlord ready to go into battle for Vladimir Putin. But unlike the paramilitary Wagner group, which Moscow is now seeking to disband, Chechen special forces have earned a reputation as “TikTok fighters” more concerned with their social media appearance than battlefield successes. – Financial Times

One of Russia’s few IL-22M airborne command post aircraft was shot down during Wagner’s brief revolt on Saturday, which could impact Russia’s air force command and coordination capabilities, the UK Defense Ministry said in Thursday morning intelligence update. – Jerusalem Post

Editorial: Russia’s nuclear deployment also illustrates what Mr. Putin had in mind for a Kremlin-controlled Ukraine. The West helps its own security when it helps Ukraine defeat Russia. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Western leaders also need to send the right message at next month’s Nato summit in Vilnius, particularly the wavering Biden administration. They should show they are ready to provide future security guarantees to Kyiv against aggression by Moscow, and put it on a credible road to Nato membership once the war is over and it meets requirements. Doing less would be a boost for Putin, just when he is down. – Financial Times

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya writes: Where Prigozhin fits into this ominous equation we can only speculate. It seems he still operates with impunity — despite his incendiary threats against Putin’s generals. But his volcanic nature and private army will keep him a threat to us all. So far, my country has managed to stay free of the fighting. But now, Belarus is becoming a new front in Putin’s war. – Washington Post

Peggy Noonan writes: Russian elites want stability. They’d like progress, a better Russia in a better world, though after the last century they’d be forgiven for equating regime change with meet the new boss, same as the old boss. But it will surely mean something in the execution of the war that Mr. Prigozhin described the entire effort as a cynical and cruddy little blunder. – Wall Street Journal

Mikhail Zygar writes: For many members of the ruling elite, it is now clear that Mr. Putin has ceased to be the guarantor of stability he was for so long. A new situation is quickly emerging and what happens next is impossible to know. But it would be prudent, and not just for Russians, to start preparing for what will come after him. – New York Times

Anastasia Stognei writes: Is it wrong to wish victory to the “enemy”? To long for the downfall of Putin’s regime, even if it means enduring a certain degree of chaos? To want my loved ones to stay safe? To maintain ties with my family, despite their pro-war stance? I wish I had that answer. – Financial Times

Rebekah Koffler writes: Meanwhile, the Wagner Group has used its trip to Moscow to land itself in Belarus, which just received a gift of tactical nuclear weapons from Putin. This points to yet another potential goal of the false flag operation: opening a second front to Ukraine’s north while directly threatening NATO’s eastern flank with the weapons of Armageddon. This time, Putin is doing it with Russia’s most effective fighting force. – Newsweek

Rebeccah Heinrichs writes: Ukraine wants these categories of weapons to win, but the Biden administration is following a familiar pattern as they did with other systems. First, they decline to provide them. Eventually, under pressure by Kyiv, allies and Congress, the administration relents. Precious time and Ukrainian lives are lost in the meantime. But this time can be different: It is an opportunity to rush greater capabilities to Ukraine so that it can exploit the Russian disorder and pressure Putin to contrive an offramp. – The Dispatch

Tom Rogan writes: The challenge for Putin is that his Russian Rubicon has been crossed and crossed without obvious riposte. Prigozhin may or may not (I strongly suspect not) have left the political scene for good. But others will see how close the Wagner Group chief came to reaching Moscow and forcing a bloody showdown. Russian leaders, especially KGB men like Putin, fear that revolutions are always lurking. Putin’s narrative before last week was that a coup attempt was implausible or, at the very least, would be suicidal. That has now changed. The KGB colonel’s veneer of indestructibility has been breached. He knows that history bears ill will to Russian leaders who lack assured strength. – Washington Examiner

Peter Laffin writes: As the presidential election season commences, the nation would do well to undertake a serious and overdue debate over just what the hell we’ve gotten ourselves into in Ukraine. There appears to be wide disagreement within the parties themselves, and the candidates appear less willing to offer a clear answer on Ukraine, never mind a clear moral vision, than on any other issue. – Washington Examiner

Mark Toth and Jonathan Sweet write: Given how badly weakened Putin is now — and his reported flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg was not a good look, either — the Russian president may now feel he has no choice but to continue prosecuting his war. But if Russian casualties continue to mount in Ukraine and Putin finds himself on the losing end of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s counteroffensive, the one-time KGB agent may find himself ousted from power — or worse. – The Hill

Dov S. Zakheim writes: Surovikin reportedly has been arrested for his links to Prigozhin. Given his past record, he is likely once again to avoid punishment. In any event, it is highly unlikely that Moscow, or the West, has heard the last of General Armageddon. – The Hill


U.S. lawmakers on Thursday invited Israel’s president to address a joint meeting of Congress on July 19, a top honor aimed at celebrating Israel’s 75th birthday even as tensions rise with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government. – Reuters

Violence has been surging in the West Bank, including deadly clashes in Jenin, a fatal shooting by Palestinians near a Jewish settlement, attacks on Palestinian villages by rampaging settlers, and rare use of Israeli air power against militants. – Reuters

During a hearing of the UN Security Council held on Tuesday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said that building permits in Israeli West Bank settlements are “not an impediment to peace.”  – Ynet

Former US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro was appointed on Thursday as the State Department’s senior advisor for regional integration and will be tasked with supporting US efforts to advance a more peaceful and interconnected region and to “deepen and broaden the Abraham Accords.” – Jerusalem Post

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday said that Israel and its air force power will force Iran to withdraw from its close fighting with Jerusalem back thousands of kilometers to its borders. – Jerusalem Post

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out supplying Ukraine with the Iron Dome missile defense system, reiterating Israel’s concern that the vital technology could fall into the hands of Iran. – Times of Israel

Tom Rogan writes: Top line: the U.S.-Israel relationship was forged in the ashes of the Holocaust and has thrived to the moral, economic, and strategic benefit of both nations. In 2023, however, neither nation’s leader appears terribly interested in consolidating what has made this relationship so successful: the understanding that both nations do better when they stand shoulder to shoulder on the most critical of their concerns. – Washington Examiner

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Actors that may seek to spoil normalization can also have more leverage, such as Iranian-backed terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad’s operatives in Jenin. With one operation, they think they can derail a deal that could be worth billions of dollars in trade and help knit together a corridor of stability stretching from Greece to India. This is unreasonable, and as such, it is worth keeping an eye on the larger picture. Integration of the region is growing, and momentum is building. Riyadh has its timetable for potential normalization. – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

The United Arab Emirates summoned the Swedish ambassador on Thursday to protest against the burning of a copy of the Koran in Stockholm, the UAE foreign ministry said in a statement. – Reuters

Dozens of Iraqis protested on Thursday in front of the Swedish Embassy in Baghdad after a man burned a Koran outside a mosque in Stockholm. – Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday slammed Sweden over the burning of a Koran in Stockholm and said Turkey would never bow down to a policy of provocation or threat. – Reuters

Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations on Thursday condemned the burning of the Quran by an Iraqi living in Sweden, warning such acts “inflame” the feelings of Muslims around the world. – Agence France-Presse

The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution Thursday that will establish an independent body to determine what happened to more than 130,000 people missing as a result of the conflict in Syria. – Associated Press

With Pride Month nearing its end and Middle Easterners marking one of the most important dates on the Islamic calendar, Eid al Adha, followers of an Iraqi Shiite sect have decided to burn the rainbow flag in front of the Swedish embassy at Baghdad. […]At times, it hurts those who try to promote other liberal causes and, even more crucially, it damages major American interests. – New York Sun

Lebanon’s financial crisis has been aggravated by vested interests resisting crucial reforms, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday, warning that no action could lead the country “down an unpredictable road”. – Reuters

Israel is diplomatically engaging with several countries, including France and the United States, in order to pressure Lebanon to remove a Hezbollah post erected on the Israeli side of the border in Mount Dov, or Shebaa Farms as it is known in Lebanon, over two months ago. – Ynet

The US has reportedly struck a secret deal with Kurdish fighters in Iraq, according to a report this week from the Iranian state-run Mehr news agency. According to Mehr, the deal concerns the US approval of a sale of “advanced air defense systems” to Iraqi Kurdistan. – Jerusalem Post

Anna Borshchevskaya, Ben Fishman, and Andrew J. Tabler write: Regardless of what happens to Wagner’s structure and operations, the Kremlin still has a strong strategic interest in maintaining a presence in Syria and Libya in order to project power in the Middle East and Africa. Russia remains the indispensable player in Syria, where propping up Assad has enabled Moscow to obtain minerals and other resources, play Iran and Israel off one another, and remain a mediator for international efforts to reach a political settlement. If this week’s crisis means that Wagner’s capabilities in Syria will be folded into the MOD’s operations, U.S. officials should keep a close watch for how this might affect Russia’s local deployments and force posture. – Washington Institute


U.S. counterintelligence officials are amping up warnings to American executives about fresh dangers to doing business in China under an amended Chinese law to combat espionage. – Wall Street Journal

A Chinese spy balloon that flew over the United States earlier this year before being shot down did not collect information as it went across the country, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – Reuters

U.S.-China tensions over semiconductors began with the Trump administration’s trade war and have ratcheted up under President Joe Biden’s leadership as Washington looks to undercut Beijing’s efforts to build its high-tech industry. The U.S. and the Netherlands are set to deliver a one-two punch to China’s chipmakers by further curbing sales of chipmaking equipment, including some from Dutch firm ASML (ASML.AS), the global leader in the critical process of lithography, Reuters reported on Thursday.- Reuters

European Union leaders are set on Friday to commit to reducing the bloc’s dependence on China and debate how to strike the balance between “de-risking” and engaging in areas such as climate change. – Reuters

The suspected Chinese spy balloon that was shot down in the US earlier this year was using some American technology, according to a preliminary analysis by the FBI. – Financial Times

Miles Yu writes: Now is a good time to start. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “deep concerns” over this Cuba-China intelligence and military cooperation to Chinese leaders last week. China’s spying installations and military training in Cuba reflect the Communist Party’s plans for global dominance. Every day the Chinese are allowed to spy from Cuba brings those plans closer to fruition. – Wall Street Journal

Charles Parton writes: Joe Biden calls both Vladimir Putin and Xi dictators. But while the former is clearly an autocrat, Xi, to the extent that he is a dictator at all, is one by virtue of being the “core” of the CCP, which still has the structures of power. As its constitution sets out, China is a state “under the people’s democratic dictatorship”, which in reality translates as “under the party’s dictatorship”. If the PLA were ever to move against Xi, therefore, it would only be moving against itself. – Financial Times

Bonny Lin , Brian Hart , Samantha Lu , Hannah Price , and Matthew Slade write: Overall, Beijing’s escalation against the Tsai transit showcases a China that is learning from its past actions and adapting its countermeasures based on how it assesses the level of “provocativeness” of Taiwan and U.S. activities. China also appears to be sensitive to the potential costs of its actions and is seeking to advance China’s claims over Taiwan using more sophisticated means beyond just punitive measures. Beijing demonstrated its willingness to take firm and escalatory measures vis-à-vis Taiwan, and it is likely to continue to do so in the future. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

South Asia

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reached a staff-level pact with Pakistan on a $3 billion stand-by arrangement, the lender said, a decision long awaited by the South Asian nation which is teetering on the brink of default. – Reuters

Britain will discuss temporary business visas as part of Free Trade Agreement talks with India but any deal will not contain broader immigration commitments or access to Britain’s labour market for Indian workers, trade minister Kemi Badenoch said. – Reuters

Nicholas Sargen writes: President Biden’s overture to Modi hopefully will mark a new phase in deepening and broadening U.S.-India relations. While India has a long-standing non-aligned status, Russia’s overtures to China should encourage India to move closer to the U.S. when U.S. multinationals seek to diversify their supply chains away from China. As The Wall Street Journal notes, big deals for jet engines and chips during Modi’s visit are a promising start. For the ties to be enduring, however, the mutual political and economic interests of the two countries must continue to expand as India becomes more prominent globally. – The Hill

Wazhma Sadat writes: Undoubtedly, sanctions have contributed to the suffering of the Afghan people. Instead of preventing more harm, sanctions often embolden oppressive governments and give them license to break more rules, collude with fellow anti-democratic regimes, and sponsor terrorist acts. From 9/11 to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine, there are countless examples of failed sanctions; and sadly, many more examples of children like me who grew up feeling a visceral pain due to chronic malnutrition and poverty. Instead of imposing sanctions, Western powers must lift them and support the people of Afghanistan during this historic and dire economic crisis. – Foreign Policy


Australia’s defence minister said on Thursday during a visit to the Solomon Islands that a review of a security treaty between the two nations was “an opportunity to revitalise the security relationship”. – Reuters

A Japanese political party leader and unabashed populist who admires former U.S. President Donald Trump has called for Japan to have a say in how U.S. nuclear weapons might be used in its defence. – Reuters

Japan’s foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said on Friday the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi will visit Japan during July 4-7 to see the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of ammunition and logistics support to Taiwan in two separate deals valued at up to $440 million, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – Reuters

New Zealand is carefully managing its relationship with China and must avoid getting pulled from “pillar and post” amid the strategic rivalry between China and the United States, the Pacific nation’s foreign minister said on Friday. – Reuters

Eleven Chinese aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait on Friday morning, an unofficial barrier between the two sides, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, as China ramps up military pressure on the democratic island. – Reuters

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Thursday that a request for his country to temporarily host a U.S. immigrant visa processing center for thousands of Afghan nationals faces security and other concerns but is still being considered by his administration. – Associated Press

Temur Umarov and Alexander Gabuev write: Down the line, the Sino-Russian power asymmetry could of course grow lopsided enough for Chinese leaders to interfere in Central Asian politics with little need for the Kremlin’s consent or aid. But it is unlikely that this would diminish their shared interests and their mutual support for authoritarian regimes in the region. The potential for cooperation remains far greater than the risk of conflict—and Central Asia a place where the Chinese-Russian axis strengthens rather than weakens. – Foreign Affairs

Timothy R. Heath writes: Finally, U.S. military intervention will continue to remain important for Taiwan’s ability to withstand a large-scale Chinese attack, owing to the island’s vulnerability and military disadvantages. A well-led and socially cohesive Taiwan might be able to mount a determined resistance for perhaps many months, but over time the island’s vulnerability and the military’s inferiority would likely take a severe toll. Absent a robust U.S. military intervention, Taiwan’s government would be severely challenged to withstand a determined all-out Chinese attack indefinitely. – The National Interest


Satellite images of a military base southeast of the Belarus capital Minsk appear to show new facilities set up in recent days, suggesting the swift construction of a base for Wagner, the Russian mercenary company behind an abortive mutiny. – Reuters

NATO should look at skipping the requirement for Ukraine’s Membership Action Plan (MAP) as part of its pathway to joining the alliance, British defence minister Ben Wallace said on Thursday. – Reuters

Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is running for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential election, made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Thursday to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. – Reuters

The United States on Thursday said it condemned the burning of a Koran outside a mosque in Sweden, but added that issuing the permit for the demonstration supported freedom of expression and was not an endorsement of the action. – Reuters

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took center stage at a European Union summit, underscoring the importance the 27 EU leaders attach to protecting their eastern flank from Russian aggression and beefing up Ukraine’s defense capabilities. In a statement issued early Friday after the meeting ended, the leaders reaffirmed their willingness “to provide sustainable military support to Ukraine for as long as it takes.” – Associated Press

Ukraine wants to receive an invitation to begin the process of joining NATO at the military alliance’s summit next month, and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will not attend if leaders do not show “courage”, a presidential aide said on Thursday. – Reuters

European Union leaders declared on Thursday they would make long-term commitments to bolster Ukraine’s security as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged them to start work on a new round of sanctions against Russia. – Reuters

Kosovo’s prime minister offered Thursday to hold new mayoral elections in four Serb-majority municipalities and reduce police there in an effort to defuse tensions with neighboring Serbia that flared anew last month. – Associated Press

Rumours of the demise of Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko were swirling just over a month ago, when he cut short an appearance in Moscow and was reportedly rushed to hospital. […]But the 68-year-old made an unlikely comeback last weekend, when he brokered a truce in Russia and offered a haven to the warlord marching on Moscow, Yevgeny Prigozhin. – Financial Times

Joseph C. Sternberg writes: Whatever the reason, it’s clear Labour is betting there’s more political merit in persuading its urban-left contingent to accept scaled-back green schemes than there is in browbeating blue-collar voters for being insufficiently climate-minded. American Democrats appear hell-bent on doing the opposite. Place your bets on which will win more races. – Wall Street Journal


Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, has asked to join the BRICS bloc of emerging markets, the foreign ministry said on Thursday. – Reuters

The U.N. Security Council is set to vote on Friday to end a decade-long peacekeeping mission in Mali after the West African country’s military junta abruptly asked two weeks ago for the 13,000-strong force to leave “without delay.” – Reuters

South Africa said on Thursday it will host the BRICS bloc summit in August as planned, amid speculation that it may move to China so Russia’s President Vladimir Putin can attend in a nation not obliged to arrest him on war crimes accusations. – Reuters

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had facilitated the release of 125 Sudanese army soldiers held captive by the country’s rival paramilitary force. – Associated Press

The United States humanitarian agency told The Associated Press it is horrified by conditions in Ethiopia, where local officials have reported hundreds of hunger deaths in recent weeks after the U.S. and the United Nations paused food aid for one-sixth of the country’s population over massive theft of the aid. – Associated Press

A slew of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and instances of torture by Burkina Faso’s military has terrorized communities in the country’s northeast this year, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Thursday. […]The Fulani people in Burkina Faso and Mali have been accused of collaborating with Islamic extremists, and as a result have often been targeted by security forces and others. – Associated Press

While the dust settles from the Wagner Group’s abortive march on Moscow in protest of military decisions made throughout the ongoing war in Ukraine, officials and experts acknowledge that the private military company continues to play a pivotal role in achieving the Kremlin’s policy aims abroad, especially in Africa. – Newsweek

The Americas

Bolivia has signed lithium agreements with Russian state nuclear firm Rosatom and China’s Citic Guoan Group, the South American country’s government said on Thursday, as it looks to develop its huge but largely untapped resources of the battery metal. – Reuters

Canada, Britain, Sweden and Ukraine are to move to the International Court of Justice in their bid to hold Iran accountable for the downing of an airliner by Iranian forces in 2020 that killed several people, they said on Thursday. – Reuters

A planned free trade deal between the European Union and South American bloc Mercosur risks increasing demand for farm produce from Brazil at the expense of Indigenous people’s land and rights, a leading activist said on Thursday. – Reuters


A satellite communications system serving the Russian military was knocked offline by a cyberattack late Wednesday and remained mostly down on Thursday, in an incident reminiscent of an attack on a similar system used by Ukraine at the start of the war between the countries. – Washington Post

Google said Thursday it would remove links to news articles on its search function for Canadian users once a new national law takes effect that compels digital platforms to compensate domestic media outlets. – Wall Street Journal

The oversight board for Facebook’s parent company Meta Platforms (META.O) on Thursday said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen should be suspended from the social media site for six months for posting a video violating rules against violent threats. – Reuters

Today, there’s a similar awakening among the scientists and researchers behind advancements in artificial intelligence. If AI really poses an extinction threat to humankind — as many in the field claim — many experts in the field are examining how efforts to limit the spread of nuclear warheads might control the rampant spread of AI. – CyberScoop

The White House National Security Council cautioned on Wednesday that it will review any attempted takeover of foreign commercial surveillance software by an American company to determine whether the acquisition poses a “counterintelligence threat” to the U.S. government. – The Record

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said it is working with federal agencies to remove network management tools from the public-facing internet after researchers discovered hundreds were still publicly exposed. – The Record

A group of previously unknown hackers has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack on the Russian satellite communications provider Dozor-Teleport, which is used by energy companies and the country’s defense and security services. – The Record


The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of F-35 fighter jets, munitions and related equipment to the Czech Republic in a deal valued at up to $5.62 billion, the Pentagon said on Thursday. – Reuters

The US State Department has approved a $293 million potential Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to Norway for Raytheon-made GBU-53/B Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) IIs for use on F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. – Breaking Defense

The U.S. Navy’s amphibious ships are as much of a Swiss Army knife as the Marine expeditionary units that deploy aboard them. They function as miniature aircraft carriers, launchers for small watercraft, and global transports for thousands of personnel and their accompanying vehicles and weapons. But fears that these ships must do more to justify their sustainment costs are driving a new directive in the latest update to the Marine Corps’ strategy. – Defense News

The more we learn about the war in Ukraine, the more we come to know that drones will play an increasingly important role on the modern battlefield. But how is the U.S. military thinking about what role these aircraft might play in future wars? When paired with modern sensors, could they offer an asymmetric advantage in future competitions? – Defense News

A $16.5 billion electronics upgrade will increase the F-35’s combat power as much as 10-fold, especially in electronic warfare, according to the Air Force Association’s in-house think-tank, the Mitchell Institute — if Congress keeps the money coming for the struggling program. – Breaking Defense

Schuyler Moore writes: Digital capability development at CENTCOM will not end with Digital Falcon Oasis. The exercise is part of a quarterly series, and CENTCOM will execute two more Digital Falcon Oasis exercises before the end of 2023 – each building on the software evolutions that came before, and each pushing further toward a truly digital warfighting capability. – Breaking Defense