Fdd's overnight brief

March 12, 2021

In The News


Iran will hold a presidential election in less than three months amid speculation that a hard-liner and a “military man” could succeed Hassan Rohani, who is serving his final term and is under heavy pressure from his hard-line opponents who have consolidated power in the Islamic republic. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The United States repeated on Thursday it will not offer Iran unilateral incentives to attend talks about both sides resuming compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. – Reuters

On December 30, 2020, the Iranian news agency Tasnim, which is affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), published for the first time a June 11, 2011 speech by IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The publication of the speech was to mark the first anniversary of Soleimani’s January 2020 killing by the U.S. – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Iranian authorities have arrested multiple music producers connected to a California-based Iranian pop singer, his management company and Iranian media said Thursday, in Tehran’s latest effort to halt what it deems decadent Western behavior. – Associated Press 

Any new agreement between world powers and Iran must stop Tehran from developing all the components of a nuclear bomb and address new information uncovered since the original Iran deal of 2015, former acting national security adviser Jacob Nagel, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said in this week’s Jerusalem Post Zoom cast. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: In the lead up to the Iranian election it appears Iran will seek to exploit its domestic politics to encourage the West to return to the table.[…]First is that if the US doesn’t come to the table it will continue enrichment. Second is that it will use proxies in Iraq and other areas to attack the US. Third, it will present its “hardliners” as empowered unless the US does the right thing. This is a kind of three-pronged effort. It has worked in the past. Iran believes it will work again. – Jerusalem Post

Jonathan Spyer writes: A similar logic may well apply to the current round of attacks on Ras Tanura and other facilities.[…]The balance of probabilities must lean toward a more direct Iranian role, at the decision-making and very possibly also at the operative level. The (vital) role of the Houthis, meanwhile, is political. They enable Tehran to avoid any process of retribution – for as long as the fiction is accepted. – Jerusalem Post


Turkey, Russia and Qatar are making a joint attempt to promote a political solution to Syria’s 10-year conflict, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. – Reuters

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, when Syrians revolted against President Bashar Assad amid a wave of Arab Spring uprisings. The protests in Syria, which began in March that year, quickly turned into insurgency — and eventually a full-blown civil war — in response to a brutal military crackdown by Assad’s security apparatus. – Associated Press 

Ten years into Syria’s conflict, President Bashar al-Assad has survived the bloody insurgency which started out with peaceful protests in March 2011. – Reuters

The United Nations human rights chief on Thursday urged countries to step up trials in their national courts against suspected war criminals in Syria as the conflict marks its 10th anniversary. – Reuters


Turkey has restarted diplomatic contacts with Egypt, state-run Anadolu Agency cites Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as saying on Friday. The contacts are at the “intelligence and foreign ministry levels,” he said. – Bloomberg

The Turkish government hopes to transform its landing helicopter dock Anadolu into a carrier ship for attack drones, and has already begun tests to see if the dock ship is strong enough for the mission. – Defense News 

President Tayyip Erdogan will attempt on Friday to make good on his pledge of a new economic era for Turkey, with a package of reforms that he says will tackle chronically high inflation, currency depreciation and financial instability. – Reuters


Israel has targeted at least a dozen vessels bound for Syria and mostly carrying Iranian oil out of concern that petroleum profits are funding extremism in the Middle East, U.S. and regional officials say, in a new front in the conflict between Israel and Iran. – Wall Street Journal 

Some three Gazan fisherman were killed by an Israeli quadcopter carrying explosives on Sunday, the Gazan Interior Ministry claimed on Thursday, according to Palestinian media. – Jerusalem Post 

In an effort to strengthen its control over the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Israel Navy held joint maneuvers this week with Greece, Cyprus and France practicing anti-submarine warfare and search-and-rescue operations. – Jerusalem Post

Senior U.S. and Israel officials focused on concerns about Iran during the first virtual meeting of a bilateral strategic group on Thursday, the White House said, an issue on which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has differences with the new Biden administration. – Reuters

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on Thursday it would jointly develop an advanced drone defence system with the United Arab Emirates’ state-owned weapons maker EDGE. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Saudi Arabia is carefully assessing elections in the US and Israel. In recent days it has held high-level meetings with Jordan, Malaysia, Sudan and other countries.[…]Israel’s growing sense of being part of the region now puts it increasingly at the crossroads of these discussions as well. While Israel wants the US to stay vitally connected to the region, the overall trend binding Israel and the Gulf and partners from central Europe to India is visceral. – Jerusalem Post


As churches and Christian communities were increasingly targeted by extremist groups at the height of Iraq’s sectarian war that followed the invasion, the country saw an exodus of Christians. Even more fled after the brutal 2014 IS onslaught that emptied out entire Christian villages across the northern plains of Ninevah. Francis’s four-day visit to Iraq ,including Qaraqosh, aimed to encourage Christians to stay, rebuild and restore what he called Iraq’s “intricately designed carpet” of faiths and ethnic groups. – Associated Press 

Amid exhaustion and regular rocket attacks, the State Department has been dropping “hardship” pay for U.S. diplomats working at the embassy in Baghdad during the weeks when they take time off to deal with the stress, three sources told ABC News. – ABC News

David Schenker writes: To break the cycle and prevent further deaths of American troops and diplomats, it is incumbent on the Biden administration to re-establish credible deterrence. To protect U.S. personnel and preserve our presence in Iraq, Washington will have to move beyond the proxies and start holding Tehran accountable. – The Hill

Gulf States

Yemeni rebels have dramatically ramped up attacks on targets inside Saudi Arabia over the past month, complicating the Biden administration’s efforts to broker a peaceful resolution to Yemen’s years-long conflict and ease its humanitarian crisis. – Washington Post 

Western governments condemned on Thursday an attack by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group on the city of Marib, according to a statement released by Britain’s foreign ministry. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that “some hopeful progress” has been made toward a ceasefire in Yemen, but more commitment was needed from the parties to the civil war. – Reuters

The Biden administration is lifting a Trump-era suspension of aid to parts of Yemen under the control of Houthi rebels, according to US officials and people briefed on the matter. – Financial Times

The United Arab Emirates plans to invest $10 billion in the Israeli economy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, citing a conversation with the Gulf nation’s de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed. – Bloomberg

Alexander Werman writes: Therefore, once Kuwait solves this immediate fiscal liquidity issue, it will still have large, structural financial and economic challenges over the coming decade that will be very difficult to solve. Nevertheless, failure to do so risks draining the wealth Kuwait has so meticulously and presciently built up since 1953 when it established the world’s first sovereign wealth fund. – Middle East Institute 

Karen E. Young writes: The ripple effects of an oil boom in the Gulf have long defined the economic health of the wider Middle East, impacting everything from aid to remittances and investment flows. But any windfall for GCC states this year will more likely be used to consolidate domestic policy gains and for growth in energy markets, mostly in Africa and Asia. They will have little money or energy to help Arab economies in distress, like Syria or Lebanon. If this is oil’s last hurrah, it will not ring across the region. – Bloomberg

Maya Carlin writes: Biden’s concern for humanitarian implications in Yemen and his desire to end the gruesome six-year-long war makes sense. However, Iran is clearly emboldened by perceived U.S. concessions since attacks on the ground have only escalated. If the Houthis believe they will gain leverage by continued assaults in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the humanitarian crisis and war itself will persist. – The National Interest

Middle East & North Africa

Jordan said on Thursday the kingdom’s crown prince cancelled a visit to Jerusalem’s al Aqsa mosque to prevent Israel from undermining his first such trip to the city’s holy sites. – Reuters

Libya’s first woman foreign minister, Najla el-Mangoush, will be sworn in next week as part of a new unity government, a rare female voice at the top table whose appointment many Libyan women welcomed on Thursday. – Reuters

Leading European and Arab world diplomats announced potential “small steps” Thursday toward reviving Mideast peace efforts after upcoming Israeli and Palestinian elections. – Associated Press

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he postponed a visit to the United Arab Emirates on Thursday because Jordan delayed granting overflight rights drew a rare rebuke from Amman over a contested Jerusalem holy site. – Reuters`

France and the United States hit out at Lebanon’s warring politicians on Thursday, with Paris saying they were failing to help the country as it slid towards “total collapse”. – Agence France-Presse

Saud Al-Sharafat writes: Looking forward, studies on the future of terrorism in Jordan suggest an increase in terrorist operations during the next decade. Moreover, problems including the continuing deterioration of economic conditions, high levels of poverty and unemployment, along with issues of water scarcity, may deepen popular frustration in the coming years and consequently push citizens into violent extremism and political violence. – Washington Institute 

Korean Peninsula

Other defectors in the South have also lost contact with their loved ones in North Korea amid the turmoil of COVID-19 — and the trouble is not just on the North Korean side. The disconnection between defectors and their families in the North is shutting down an important emotional and financial link between the rival Koreas, whose citizens are banned from contacting each other. – Associated Press 

South Korea will suspend defence exchanges with Myanmar and ban arms exports to the country after a military coup and violent suppression of pro-democracy protests, the foreign ministry said on Friday. – Reuters

South Korea plans to procure up to 36 additional attack helicopters to further boost the capabilities of the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA), defence officials told Janes on 3 March. […]The acquisition of additional attack helicopters is motivated by the need for greater air attack capabilities to compensate for the reduction in manpower and for the transition of wartime operational command from the United States to South Korea, said RoKA sources, adding that the 36 additional helicopters would cover the extended operational range of ground operations. – Jane’s 360


China drew the curtain on decades of adversarial politics in Hong Kong as the national legislature approved electoral changes that would put pro-Beijing loyalists firmly in charge of the city and squeeze opposition groups from elected office. – Wall Street Journal  

A Chinese official hit back Friday at U.S. criticism of planned election law changes in Hong Kong, noting the chaos surrounding the recent American presidential election. Semi-autonomous Hong Kong is an internal Chinese issue that no foreign country has the right to interfere in, said Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council. – Washington Post 

Under founder Jack Ma, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. had regulators and local officials in its corner as it grew into a Chinese version of Amazon.com Inc. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent crackdown on the empire of China’s best-known entrepreneur has put an end to that. – Wall Street Journal 

China will “soon” hold its first trial for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who have been held in China since late 2018 and who were formally charged with espionage in June 2020, the Global Times reported, citing an unnamed source. – Reuters

U.S. officials will address the “genocide” of China’s Muslim Uighur minority next week in talks with Chinese officials in Alaska, the White House said on Thursday. – Reuters

Britain should not underestimate China’s willingness to defend its interests, an official from the Chinese embassy told BBC radio on Thursday when asked about possible British sanctions. – Reuters

China’s highest-profile political meeting of the year concluded Thursday, with the government laying out economic plans to manage risks now that a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is well underway. – Bloomberg

A Hong Kong court on Thursday granted bail to a fifth pro-democracy activist and former lawmaker but revoked bail for another, after both were charged with subversion under the national security law. – Associated Press 

China on Thursday finished what’s known as the “Two Sessions,” a series of annual political meetings where Chinese officials discussed their plans to compete and perhaps surpass the United States. The event was held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. – The National Interest

Changing the Chinese words to create new meanings will gradually affect the translation and understanding of Western words for both Chinese and Western audiences and isolate those who fail to go along. The purpose is to create a distinction between the understanding of Chinese and Western governance, transform English-language thinking about China, and force English speakers to see the superiority of the present Chinese system and the inferiority of their own systems. – Middle East Media Research Institute   

On March 5, 2021, renowned Hong Kong filmmaker, actor, and screenwriter Wong Jing was applauded by state media for his vehement support for a draft decision by China’s top legislature to profoundly change the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). – Middle East Media Research Institute  

Zack Cooper and Hal Brands write: Competition between the United States and China has begun, but how will it end? There is a bipartisan consensus that Sino-American relations will be defined primarily by rivalry across multiple regions and dimensions of statecraft for years to come. Yet there is little clarity on what U.S. leaders hope will happen after that. Washington has accepted the reality of competition without identifying a theory of victory. There is no lack of suggestions, but U.S. leaders have yet to articulate how this competition will lead to something other than unending tension and danger. – Foreign Policy 

Alice Han and Eyck Freymann write: The era of striving for sky-high growth rates is clearly over. Rather, Chinese GDP growth is likely to underperform expectations this year and beyond. With sober-minded, fiscally conservative planners now firmly in control of policy, Beijing is turning its attention to debt reduction and a daunting agenda of structural reform. – Foreign Policy


The Biden administration will need to decide how, or if, it will maintain counterterrorism capacity in Afghanistan as it considers whether to withdraw the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops on the ground. Donati’s book highlights the possibilities and great risks associated with depending on covert operations to pursue counterterrorism goals. – Foreign Policy 

Afghan political leaders including former president Hamid Karzai are mulling whether to attend a meeting organised by Russia to jumpstart Afghanistan’s peace process as diplomacy by foreign powers including Washington ramps up. – Reuters

Turkey is planning to host a round of Afghanistan peace talks in Istanbul in April, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was cited as saying by the state-owned Anadolu news agency on Friday, adding Ankara would appoint an Afghanistan special envoy. – Reuters

Jamila Azimi says her hopes of seeing an end to her country’s four-decade war are fading a year after the peace agreement between the Taliban and the United States led many to believe that peace in Afghanistan was around the corner. – Radio Free Afghanistan

South Asia

Pakistan on Thursday blocked the popular social media app TikTok after a court order over a complaint that it ran indecent content, a spokesman for the country’s telecoms regulator said. – Reuters

Beyond its prospects as a regional arms seller, there are geopolitical factors at play for India. New Delhi, which is currently engaged in a border dispute of its own with Beijing, looks to pressure China on a separate front by bolstering its competitors’ capabilities. Vietnam, another maritime rival of Beijing and also a player in the South China Sea dispute, has recently expressed interest in signing a BrahMos acquisition deal with India. – The National Interest

Arif Rafiq writes: A sounder approach for Pakistan is to retain goodwill among the Saudis, make the necessary reforms to become an attractive investment destination, and work on more viable strategic partnerships elsewhere in the region. – Middle East Institute  

Rana Ayyub writes: The Freedom House report highlighted what Indian activists and independent journalists have known for a long time. What the citizens of Kashmir, who are vilified in their own land, have known for a long time. What students and dissidents fighting each day to uphold India’s democratic traditions have known for a long time. What Muslims who feel orphaned in a country their forefathers helped built with their blood and sweat have known for a long time. – Washington Post


Myanmar’s military junta accused deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi of corruption as at least seven more people were killed in an increasingly violent effort to suppress the protests over last month’s coup. – Wall Street Journal 

But in the late morning of March 11, the town, which can be traversed in 10 minutes, became synonymous with the brutality of the military that seized power last month. – New York Times

Japan’s government announced Friday that Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will travel to Washington next month for his first face-to-face summit with President Joe Biden after he and his entourage complete their COVID-19 vaccinations. – Associated Press 

U.S. President Joe Biden will meet on Friday with the leaders of Australia, India and Japan, a group central to his efforts to counter China’s growing military and economic power. – Reuters

Australian foreign minister Marise Payne on Friday expressed serious concern at Chinese changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, saying the reforms weakened Hong Kong’s democratic institutions. – Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will travel to the United States to meet President Joe Biden next month to discuss Indo-Pacific issues, Japan’s chief government spokesman said on Friday. – Reuters

The United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar said on Thursday the military junta had “murdered” at least 70 people since its Feb. 1 coup, committing killings, torture and persecution that may constitute crimes against humanity. – Reuters

While Washington acknowledges its allies and partners are willing to back a “free and open” Indo-Pacific policy, the keys to American success in confronting Chinese bullying is having smaller nations see a “consistent and reliable” presence from the U.S., according to a former senior diplomat. – USNI News 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday his first-ever meeting with President Joe Biden as well as the leaders of India and Japan will become an anchor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region. – Associated Press 

Kurt Tong writes: President Biden’s policy architects have a lot of good ideas for his Indo-Pacific strategy. But as with any building project, the president will need both talented artisans and effective tools to bring his blueprint to fruition. APEC and ASEAN are just such useful tools. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


A controversial Russian gas pipeline to Germany could soon reach completion in defiance of American sanctions laws, say senior State Department officials. […]Yet, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee the pipeline is “virtually complete” in the face of lawmakers eager to see aggressive implementation of U.S. sanctions. – Washington Examiner 

Moscow looks to build on the prior export success of its advanced Su-35 air superiority fighter with a raft of new, high-profile deals. Here are the biggest potential customers mulling Su-35 contracts. – The National Interest 

Dr. Vladislav Inozemtsev writes: In conclusion, I would say that Mr. Navalny is a sophisticated activist who deserves credit for undermining Putin’s popularity to an unprecedented degree. He is not a Kremlin agent, and he definitely deserves the status of ‘prisoner of conscience’ as he campaigns for free and fair elections, and against fraud, corruption and arbitrary actions by public servants. But I doubt that in undermining Putin’s position Navalny succeeded in consolidating his own, and now he has accumulated too many enemies in a dictatorially ruled country. – Middle East Media Research Institute   

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: But replicating in 2021 what China put in place in the 1990s with its Great Firewall is not just the technical challenge demonstrated on Wednesday. Beijing has fostered local social media alternatives that dominate at home.[…]That means curbs will be seen and felt, denting the image of a system that leans on perceived popular support. More go-slows and blockages will do little to help the economy. – Bloomberg


The European Union is set to target China with sanctions over human-rights abuses for the first time since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, blacklisting four people and one entity in Xinjiang, several diplomats said. – Wall Street Journal 

Almost five years after Britons voted to leave the European Union, the government said it would wave through some goods arriving at British ports from the continent until January 2022 — a tacit admission that it lacks the capacity to perform the border checks required by Brexit. – New York Times

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s first videoconference with European Union foreign ministers last month was so good humoured that some diplomats in Europe described it as a “love fest”. – Reuters

Britain and the European Union should stop trying to score points in their post-Brexit relationship, the bloc’s ambassador to London said on Thursday, appealing for a more constructive approach to their increasingly thorny ties. – Reuters

Ukraine is set to nationalise Motor Sich, one of the world’s top makers of engines for cargo aircraft and helicopters, to prevent a long-running Chinese takeover attempt that has been strongly opposed by the US. – Financial Times

Daniel Polansky writes: At the moment, last summer’s optimism seems unfounded, and political freedom for Belarus looks as distant as ever. It remains unclear whether the preelection detente that allowed for Minsk’s rapid development will return, with Kasia and her cohort facing the stark choice of fleeing their homeland or remaining beneath the authority of a leader who shows no signs of giving up his dubious distinction as Europe’s last dictator. – Foreign Policy 

Edward Lucas writes: As the EU flounders and Europeans fume, China continues to make progress. Ukraine has approved the Sinovac jab (but fined a distributor for late delivery), while the Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić greeted a vaccine shipment, saying he was “infinitely grateful” for the “huge progress” in his country’s relations with China, and highlighting new investment projects. – Center for European Policy Analysis


South Sudan has been struggling to recover from five years of war that at least one study says killed almost 400,000 people. A coalition government formed last year between President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar is implementing a peace deal behind schedule, while deadly violence continues in parts of the country. – Associated Press 

Central African Republic will vote in a second round of parliamentary elections on Sunday under high security after a surge in rebel violence surrounding December’s polls. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden is deeply concerned and highly engaged on the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday. – Reuters

A Sudanese militia leader accused by rights groups of atrocities in Darfur was released from a Khartoum prison on Wednesday following a pardon by Sudan’s ruling council, the movement he heads said in a statement. – Reuters

Ivory Coast faced shock and uncertainty on Thursday following the death of Prime Minister Hamed Bakayoko, the West African nation’s second premier to die in office in less than eight months. – Reuters

Gunmen in Nigeria’s northwestern Kaduna state kidnapped a number of students from a college late on Thursday, a police spokesman and a state government official said on Friday. – Reuters

Nigeria’s government vowed to use the full force of its military to end deteriorating insecurity that has disrupted schooling and farming in the northern part of Africa’s most populous nation. – Bloomberg

An Islamist insurgency in north-east Mozambique has driven more than half a million people from their homes in the past year. – BBC

The Americas

China, Russia, North Korea, Iran and others are seeking support for a coalition to defend the United Nations Charter by pushing back against the use or threat of force and unilateral sanctions, according to a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday. – Reuters

US President Joe Biden’s stimulus program is being hailed as both boosting domestic growth and spurring the global recovery, but the IMF warned that policymakers will need to be alert to risks posed by the massive spending as well as low interest rates. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: House Democrats are reportedly pressing President Joe Biden to reverse U.S. policy on Cuba once again, returning to the detente that prevailed before Donald Trump took office. Biden should indeed take the first steps toward renewed openness — and put the onus on Cuba’s Communist leaders to respond. – Bloomberg

John Thornhill writes: There is no doubt the challenge posed by China will require a long-term, systemic response from the US, not the natural reflex of the attention-deficient superpower. But the US must resist the temptation to emulate China’s pursuit of “military-civil fusion”. While government and business will have to collaborate to an intimate degree, they should never run off together.[…]The strength of the US lies in invention, innovation and fierce economic and political competition. That is its greatest national security asset that should never be lost. – Financial Times


The U.S. Air Force’s top IT official warned this week that the service needs to continue to increase investment in information technology as the Pentagon prepares for flat or declining budgets, or risk falling behind. – C4ISRNET

Heather Penney writes: Warfare in the information age will require sharing that information across the battlespace. Common standards will not be enough to deliver that advantage. Sharing information at speed will require software mission integration tools that can be used at the unit level and as part of mission planning. Bureaucracy is never fast, but we must adapt our current acquisition structures and funding if we are to adapt to the future information battlespace in order to outpace our adversaries. – C4ISRNET 

Ryan Nabil writes: If the United States falls behind China and other global competitors in 5G adoption, it will significantly harm America’s future global competitiveness in 5G-dependent technology—which range from automated production to driverless cars. That is why both Democrats and Republicans must ensure an environment that reduces market uncertainties and encourages the private sector to invest in 5G technologies. Reimposing strict net neutrality regulations for U.S. telecommunications companies will do just the opposite. – The National Interest


China is “emboldened” to take military action, and more must be done to counter it, the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific said in Congressional testimony this week. – The National Interest 

The U.S. Air Force took delivery March 10 of the first F-15EX from Boeing and will soon begin testing the new jet, the service said Thursday. – Defense News 

The U.S. Air Force selected Raytheon Technologies to transition the service’s primary intelligence-sharing system, awarding the company $178 million. – C4ISRNET 

A Thai woman extradited as part of the wide-ranging Navy corruption investigation involving ship-husbanding contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia appeared in federal court this week. – USNI News

The U.S. Navy and Air Force signed a contract last month for dozens of Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles, a closely watched program that seems to introduce a new sophisticated guidance system into lethal ship-killing missiles. – Defense News 

A long-standing independent report on the health of the U.S. Navy is set to end this year unless Congress acts, USNI News has learned. The Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), founded under Battle of Mobile winner Adm. David Farragut in 1868 and cemented into law by Congress in 1882, is in charge of assessing ship readiness. The inspection body this month released its latest report, which could be the last one under current law. – USNI News 

This report discusses two types of amphibious ships being procured for the Navy: LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ships and LHA-type amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS. The first LPD-17 Flight II class ship, LPD-30, was procured in FY2018. LHA-type amphibious assault ships are procured once every few years. – USNI News 

Although the Strategic Long-Range Cannon remains a priority for the Army, the project is currently on pause pending a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, a group of scientists, military personnel, academics, and private sector individuals who provide non-partisan and objective advice on various projects undertaken by the military. – The National Interest 

Kris Osborn writes: While most of the concern regarding China’s missile arsenal centers around the much-discussed “carrier killer” missiles purported to threaten the ability to attack and destroy aircraft carriers at ranges out to over 2,000 miles offshore, there are also commensurate and equally serious risks to U.S. bases, installations, and assets placed throughout the Pacific. – The National Interest