Fdd's overnight brief

March 19, 2020

In The News


The United States on Wednesday named seven companies that it has blacklisted for trade in Iranian petrochemicals, three based in mainland China, three in Hong Kong and one in South Africa, the State Department said in a statement. – Reuters 

Iran is to pardon 10,000 prisoners including political ones in honour of the Iranian new year on Friday, according to state TV. – The Guardian 

Iran-controlled forces are launching rockets at U.S. troops in Iraq while Western leaders focus on a coronavirus pandemic that threatens to overwhelm hospital networks around the world. – Washington Examiner 

President Hassan Rohani said on Wednesday Iran has responded, and will respond, to America’s assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the Revolutionary Guards commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in January. – Reuters 

In a video message on the occasion of the Iranian New Year (Nowrouz) on March 21, the exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi has said that he considers the Islamic Republic the “primary impediment in remediation and containing the [coronavirus] crisis”. – Radio Farda 

The UK is privately pressing the US to ease sanctions on Iran to help it fight the growing coronavirus outbreak. – The Guardian 

The US began encouraging Iranians to use the encrypted messaging app last year, when Iranian demonstrators took to the streets and US officials wanted to learn more about the regime’s bloody crackdown. – CNN 

 A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced the son of former Chief Commander of the Iranian Army to ten years in jail for corruption, the Islamic Republic Judiciary spokesman announced at his weekly news conference on Tuesday, March 17. – Radio Farda 

Iran has backed China’s calls to investigate yet unfounded claims of the United States being the origin of the new coronavirus as an international blame game worsened over a pandemic that has infected more than 200,000 people across the globe. – Newsweek 

The following is the March 12, 2020 Congressional Research Service report,Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations. – USNI News 

Exile Iranian musicians critical of religious hardliners in Tehran converged this month to perform in the most unlikely locale: Saudi Arabia. Taking place amid heightened tensions between the regional enemies, the event was promoted as cultural dialogue but also allowed the kingdom a subtle dig at Tehran, with Saudi-owned MBC Persia airing the concerts for Iranian viewers. – Reuters 

Adam Taylor writes: Rouhani suggested this week that the country planned to retaliate further for Soleimani’s killing. The Trump administration’s maximum-pressure campaign against Iran has resulted in little tangible benefit to the United States, but at the same time, the costs of the U.S. policy are growing. If it succeeds now, will it have been worth it? – Washington Post 

John Raine writes: Tehran’s chosen way of war poses, therefore, a strategic challenge to the West: How to either neutralize or match its ability to fight through others? Iran has exploited cultural advantages in establishing its network of influence through indigenous third parties. […]The challenge to the West and its allies is not, therefore, restricted to maintaining the traditional balance of power in the Middle East. Instead, the West should gain the edge in what is starting to look like the critical, warfighting capability — the strategic partnering with indigenous, nonstate partners, to advance a state’s interests. – War on the Rocks 

Bobby Ghosh writes: At the same time, regime officials have stepped up a campaign to blame American sanctions for the crisis. The not-so-subtle message: These deaths will be on President Trump’s head. Exaggerating mortality rates and attributing them to sanctions is a familiar tactic. […]Leader Ali Khamenei, who has described the virus as a “biological attack” against Iran (no prizes for guessing the attacker) is exercising his perennial right to power without responsibility. The Iranian regime’s actions — and inaction — in handling the virus crisis should guide the world’s response. – Bloomberg 

Thomas Parker writes: Iran therefore has an interest in maintaining pressure on U.S. forces there regardless of who is in the White House. Iranian leaders believe that they have the upper hand in Iraq, given its proximity to Iran, their Iraqi militia partners, the vulnerability of a weak Iraqi regime, the mainly dovish attitude of the U.S. public towards the prospects of hostilities against Iran, and perhaps President Trump’s own ambivalence about the U.S. presence there. Even if the attacks do not have much of an impact on the American electorate, Iran could claim that they helped to defeat President Trump in case he does lose: the ultimate revenge for the killing of Soleimani. – Washington Institute 


As the international community becomes more inward looking and the EU, US and other states close their borders, the region in eastern Syrian appears largely abandoned during the global pandemic. Turkey and other states have already indicated they can’t do much for Syrian refugees either, yet it appears the WHO may be trying to do more in Idlib and other areas of Syria, while blockading eastern Syria. – Jerusalem Post 

Alia Malek writes: It is easier to look at Syria’s unraveling and blame those who dreamed about a better future, who grossly miscalculated what Mr. Assad would do and the world would allow to happen. Confronting the real cause and holding it accountable, for now, seems impossible. Especially when the rest of the world is ready to normalize the regime’s methods and its impunity. […]A tenuous, fragile deal between Turkey and Russia has given a pause to the Syrian regime’s military offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib, where three million people face an uncertain fate. – New York Times 

Jennifer Cafarella, John Dunford, Michael Land, Blane Wallace write: The United States should require Turkey to recommit to the NATO alliance and reduce cooperation with Russia in return for American humanitarian, military, and diplomatic support in Idlib. […]If Turkey does so, the U.S. should work with its European allies to provide robust humanitarian support in Idlib, apply diplomatic pressure against Russia, Iran, and Assad, and bolster Turkey’s military leverage in Idlib by providing the Patriot missile system Turkey has requested. – Institute for the Study of War 


The speaker of Israel’s parliament, an ally of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, abruptly adjourned the body, blocking an opposition effort to place his aggressive response to the coronavirus under legislative oversight. […]This month’s election gave the forces aligned against Mr. Netanyahu 61 seats in parliament compared with 58 held by the prime minister and his allies. – Wall Street Journal 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was supposed to be facing trial this week on bribery, fraud and breach of trust charges. Instead, he was shutting down the courts and ordering Israel’s internal security service to identify people who should be quarantined using data harvested from their phones. – New York Times

Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank surged ahead in 2019, a watchdog group said in a report Tuesday, maintaining a rapid pace that has drawn strength from the friendly policies of the Trump administration. – Associated Press 


While the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the globe, U.S. troops stationed in Iraq continue to battle the threat of Iranian-backed militias, in recent days going head-to-head with what is considered one of the most shadowy and lethal units: Kataeb Hezbollah. – Fox News 

And Iraq, deeply divided over whether the United States should be allowed to stay in the country at all, still has not formed a government after almost four months of political wrangling. […]But it is the push-and-pull over Iraq’s new prime minister-designate that could determine U.S. actions in Iraq over the coming weeks. – Defense One 

Andrew Milburn writes: But there is good reason for the U.S. to retain some military presence there: to help train the Iraqi security forces, thus making them more professional and less susceptible to sectarian influence and to assist the Iraqi government in their counter-terrorism efforts. But this time, the administration will need to combine military and economic assistance with a concerted diplomatic effort to prevent a repetition of the Maliki era, when sectarian interests dominated the Iraqi government and gave rise to ISIS. – Military Times 

Michael Rubin writes: It is unclear, however, whether Zurfi will be able to overcome the animosity of Shi’ite militias like Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Badr Corps. These two militias are increasingly hated in Iraqi society and are unapologetic about their corruption. […]If Zurfi cannot cobble together an interim government, it will not be his failure but rather that of Iraq’s political elite. Iraq’s most corrupt leaders and those who subordinate their Iraqi nationalism to Tehran’s whims may believe they can outlast the Iraqi protest movement, but they will be wrong. – The National Interest 

Middle East & North Africa

Gayle Guynup, 68, is one of hundreds of U.S. citizens stuck in Morocco, on a vacation they can’t find a way to end. […]Complicating the situation, however, is that in recent days, the United States has put in place bans on travelers from Europe, on top of previous travel bans from China and Iran. The recent restrictions left U.S. citizens in a desperate dash to return on the few remaining outbound planes. – Washington Post 

Long-running wars and conflicts across the Middle East have wrecked potential defenses against coronavirus outbreaks, leaving millions vulnerable in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, the Gaza Strip and elsewhere. Health care systems have been gutted; war has blasted key infrastructure. Several of the countries are carved up among rival claimant governments, factions or armed groups, snarling any attempt at nationwide protection programs. – Associated Press 

Sovereign bond restructurings are rarely smooth. Lebanon’s looks like it will be particularly rocky. […]The government is considering a major reform program to overhaul banks and reduce total debt from 170% of economic output as foreign reserves dwindle. – Bloomberg 

From empty hotels to shuttered beauty salons, oil-dependent Saudi Arabia is bracing for a coronavirus-led economic slump on top of possible austerity measures as crude prices go into free fall. – Agence France-Presse

As the global fight against the coronavirus intensifies, conspiracy theories continue to appear in the Arab media to explain the source of the virus and its spread. Many of the articles and social media posts allege that the coronavirus was created by the U.S. with the goal of toppling the economy of China, a country which, the writers claim, threatens America’s economic and political hegemony. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Joseph Haboush writes: Lebanon is not yet a lost cause but the U.S. needs to realize that there are no quick fixes and investing in the country is a long-term proposition. But if Washington does decide to halt aid to Lebanon and disengage, even temporarily, it will present a clear opportunity for countries like Russia and China that are all too willing to step in and fill the vacuum left behind. – Middle East Institute


The Chinese government cast its expulsion of the journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post as necessary to defend Beijing against what it perceived as an ideological campaign by the United States to impose its values on China. – New York Times

China cast Tuesday’s move as a matter of reciprocity: The Trump administration implemented new rules for Chinese state ­media operating in the United States, so China, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, would do the same. […]It is also part of a broader conflict between two superpowers that have clashed on trade and technology. – Washington Post 

China has called for using electromagnetic attacks on U.S. warships transiting the South China Sea, according to a state-run Chinese outlet. – Washington Times

Factories in China, struggling to reopen after the coronavirus shut down the economy, face a new threat from U.S. anti-disease controls that might disrupt the flow of microchips and other components they need. – Associated Press 

In Beijing, as in Washington, the virus crisis has boosted hardliners over those who favor preserving relations with a key trading partner and military rival. […]The feud between the world’s two biggest economies — and leading scientific powers — is escalating just as the international community looks for leadership to contain a virus that has infected almost 200,000 people and may have already pushed the globe into recession. – Bloomberg 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced it would give $6.5 billion in an initial package to help developing member countries respond to the coronavirus pandemic. The ADB is collaborating with the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), among other agencies, to provide the money to address the “immediate needs” of developing countries that might not have the resources to deal with the health and financial ramifications. – The Hill 

Editorial: China claims to be responding reciprocally to U.S. actions. In fact, the measures of the two governments, as well as the people affected, bear little similarity to one another. […]It’s hard to see how Mr. Xi’s regime can benefit from further suppression of such fair and credible reporting. – Washington Post 

Li Yuan writes: The expulsions signal that Beijing has accelerated its steps to further decouple from the United States politically, to silence dissent and to close itself off to the outside world — in other words, walking back the steps the country has taken over the decades to make itself a more open and prosperous society. – New York Times

Josh Rogin writes: The reason Beijing is playing these games is obvious: The Chinese Communist Party bases its legitimacy on the idea it is infallible. All criticism of the party is censored, and all critics are disappeared. The party protects itself by denying its own people the right to the truth. But Beijing’s propaganda campaign is now risking lives all around the world. – Washington Post 

Walter Russell Mead writes: Americans of all political stripes have noticed that Beijing is inquiring about our cauldrons. The expulsion of U.S. journalists reinforces this perception and may push the U.S. into a more combative stance against the Chinese Communists. The whole world must now hope that Beijing reconsiders its chosen path, not least for its own sake. – Wall Street Journal 

Dan Blumenthal writes: This crisis reveals the kind of problems China will pose for us in the coming years: that of a more powerful country with great but unmet ambitions. It is no peer of the US. It will export its problems unless we figure out ways to contain these threats. It will pose security problems as it needs to distract from its internal incompetence. But it will not lead a new global order. – American Enterprise Institute 


The U.S. commander in Afghanistan is halting American and allied troops from entering Afghanistan and, in turn, preventing some troops from leaving, for the next month, American and European officials said. The planning reflects mounting concerns as the coronavirus has spread in the country in recent days. – New York Times

With Afghanistan hovering between peace and war, and the government paralyzed by a tense political power struggle, it took awhile for the coronavirus to become a reality for Afghans. […]Afghan health officials confirmed that the Taliban was cooperating with them in some regions to distribute health services. They said the government was able to offer direct services in only three of the country’s 34 provinces. – Washington Post 

The United States is urging Afghanistan to release Taliban prisoners as committed under prospective peace talks, warning that the detainees were at risk due to the spread of the new coronavirus. – Newsweek


A Pakistani court is weighing the appeal of a British national convicted and sentenced to death nearly 18 years ago in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, lawyers involved in the proceedings said. – Wall Street Journal 

The suspected leader of Indonesia’s al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network went on trial Wednesday on charges of terrorism that could result in a death sentence. – Associated Press 

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is calling on his country to hastily build a “modern general hospital” to “better protect the precious health and safety of our people” amid growing suspicions the Hermit Kingdom isn’t being honest about the coronavirus outbreak. – Fox News

Myanmar’s army said on Wednesday it had withdrawn a criminal complaint it filed against Reuters news agency after being requested to do so by the Myanmar Press Council and in the interest of good relations with the media. – Reuters 

Yudhijit Bhattacharjee writes: A year after the two countries were brought to the edge of war by a terrorist attack, the more consequential questions are about how the actions of today might shape the future. Will India’s new policy of striking terrorist camps in Pakistan truly deter the Pakistani Army’s use of cross-border terrorism? Will India’s tightened grip over Kashmir really improve the lot of Kashmiris, as Narendra Modi claims? Or will these measures only lead to more violence? – New York Times 


Mr. Putin arrived Wednesday in Crimea for a two-day visit to hold meetings with leaders of the republic and members of the public. At an initial appearance in Sevastopol, he congratulated Crimeans on the anniversary of the peninsula joining Russia, which he described as “a long-awaited” and “very important event” that took place six years ago. – Wall Street Journal

Russian media have deployed a “significant disinformation campaign” against the West to worsen the impact of the coronavirus, generate panic and sow distrust, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters. – Reuters 

A U.S. State Department fund to help European nations replace Russian-made weapons with American equipment has expanded to eight countries, but will be eschewing a second wave of funding in favor of targeted investments. […]The U.S. benefits both strategically — getting partners and allies off Russian equipment to improve interoperability and deny Moscow funds for maintenance — and financially, thanks to the sale of American weapons abroad. – Defense News 

Cyrus Newlin and effrey Mankoff write: This confluence of events—a constitutional overhaul, an oil price war, and a global pandemic—shifts the economic backdrop of Russian politics at a particularly sensitive juncture, creating more uncertainty and higher stakes for the government even as it attempts to pitch stability amid a public health crisis. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  


An Irish planning board on Wednesday rejected the Trump Organization’s plan to build a sea wall to blunt the Atlantic Ocean waves and halt the relentless erosion that threatens to wash fairways and greens into the sea. – Washington Post 

The European Central Bank unveiled a new €750 billion ($818.7 billion) bond-buying program aimed at shielding the eurozone economy from the spreading coronavirus, casting aside longstanding taboos to send a determined signal to investors that the bank will stand behind the region’s embattled governments. – Wall Street Journal

British Prime Minister said on Wednesday Brexit was not being regularly discussed in Downing Street at the moment because of coronavirus but he ruled out any extension to the transition period with the European Union which ends on Dec. 31 this year. – Reuters 

That’s scant hope, though, for countries outside the EU whose poorer economies rely on the bloc. The effect of border controls is painfully obvious to candidate nations in the Balkans, for which the EU is the biggest trading partner. – Bloomberg 

The COVID-19 pandemic may have dampened the U.S. Army’s major division-level exercise in Europe, but the service’s chief told Defense News in a March 18 interview that important lessons the Army had hoped to garner from the massive event have already been learned. – Defense News 

Michael Birnbaum writes: “For the E.U., this is really an existential threat,” said Stefano Stefanini, an Italian former diplomat who now works as a security consultant in Brussels. […]Some observers caution that challenges in the heat of the crisis may seem less important in months or years as the E.U. adjusts — perhaps constructively — to a new world in which pandemics can challenge its basic operating model. – Washington Post 


Africa’s largest wireless carrier is finding it tough to take money out of its second-biggest market by subscribers due to measures re-imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump, according to Chief Financial Officer Ralph Mupita. As a partial solution, the Johannesburg-based company allows the Iranian unit to convert earnings into loans from MTN rather than send them to the parent company, he said. – Bloomberg 

A retired Ugandan general seeking to unseat veteran President Yoweri Museveni was charged on Wednesday with treason and unlawful possession of weapons, a case underscoring an ongoing crackdown on opposition figures ahead of elections next year. […]Uganda and its southwestern neighbor Rwanda are at odds over various political and economic disputes. – Reuters

South Africa’s political parties agreed to put aside their differences to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which is wreaking havoc on the economy and threatens to overwhelm the public health system. The truce was declared at a meeting President Cyril Ramaphosa and his deputy, David Mabuza, held with the leaders of opposition parties in Cape Town on Wednesday to discuss the pandemic, which has been declared a national disaster. – Bloomberg 

Foreigners in Ethiopia are coming under violent attacks since the country documented its first case of COVID-19 this week, according to a warning issued by the State Department on Wednesday. – The Hill 

Anti-Zionist agitators in South Africa are pushing the false claim that Israel has not published Arabic-language guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus out of contempt for its Arab citizens — despite the fact that these materials, including a video in Arabic, are readily accessible on the Israeli Health Ministry’s website. – Algemeiner

Judd Devermont and Eric Olander write: If the United States wants to build on its record of health and humanitarian responses, it should refocus its public diplomacy to demonstrate how its support tangibly helps Africans address this public health emergency. […]A U.S. official working in tandem (or virtually) with an African counterpart is a powerful symbol of U.S. commitment. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Jack Caporal, John Hoffner and Sanvid Tuljapurkar write: Yet, for both Kenya and the United States, hedging against Chinese influence may not be the primary motivation behind a deal. Despite some of the rhetoric, there is nothing on the table so far that will restrict Kenya from doing business with China if it pursues an FTA with the United States. […]While both the United States and China still see that opportunity, regional allies in the EAC and AfCFTA remain concerned as Kenya’s decision to go it alone risks leaving them behind. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

United States

A proposed rule mandating the disclosure of payments made by oil, gas and mining companies to foreign governments has become the target of anti-corruption advocates and even some businesses who say it fails to align with international standards. – Wall Street Journal 

Senate lawmakers turned their full attention to the Trump administration’s proposal for $1 trillion in spending to combat the coronavirus pandemic, including aid for airlines and direct payments to American households, after passing a paid-leave bill that President Trump signed into law late Wednesday. – Wall Street Journal 

A top fundraiser for U.S. presidents and members of Congress secretly lobbied for years to advance the interests of foreign governments and people, including a Ukrainian oligarch fighting extradition for criminal prosecution in the U.S., according to prosecutors. – Bloomberg 

Describing himself as a “wartime president” fighting an invisible enemy, President Donald Trump invoked rarely used emergency powers to marshal critical medical supplies against the coronavirus pandemic. – Associated Press 

The FBI said this week that it will temporarily pause electronic public records requests as federal agencies direct employees to work from home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus. – The Hill 

Zachary D. Carter writes: The global economy is headed straight into a recession, as the novel coronavirus pandemic attacks workforces, supply chains and every aspect of commerce. Nothing can stop the economic shock already underway. […]But the most important lesson from Keynesian economics is not about money — it’s about belief. What matters now is the collective faith in a better future. There are many avenues to securing this faith, but it can be supplied only by politicians. – Washington Post 

The Americas

Venezuela’s military seized control of gasoline pumps in at least three states, as the coronavirus outbreak deepens fuel shortages and further isolates the country from the rest of the world. – Bloomberg

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday rejected economically devastated Venezuela’s request for a $5 billion loan to help it cope with the onslaught of coronavirus on the country that an aid agency warned is as prepared as war-torn Syria. – Agence France-Presse

El Salvador said on Wednesday it had suspended deportation flights of its nationals from the United States and Mexico until further notice in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, following a similar step by Guatemala a day earlier. – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday and the two leaders agreed it was important to keep trade flowing despite travel restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus, the White House said. – Reuters

And under the steely command of Nemesio Oseguera, “El Mencho” — who is now the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted fugitive, with a $10 million price on his head — the Jalisco cartel has a more unified leadership than Sinaloa, whose command structure was fractured after the arrest, extradition and conviction of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. – Associated Press 

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday his administration will use a health-focused statute to swiftly remove migrants or asylum seekers who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus. – Reuters

J.J. McCullough writes: It is inevitable that some Canadians will view any shutdown of the U.S.-Canada border as vindicating their larger views of the United States as somewhere scary and dangerous, just as some have misread Trudeau’s other travel bans as a victory for xenophobia or immigration restrictionism. Isolationists in the United States, for their part, may be equally eager to read it as proof that their dream of a “fortress America” is finally coming true. Even amid crisis, ingrained ideological tendencies die hard. – Washington Post 

Daniel Di Martino writes: The only difference between American price gouging laws and Venezuela’s is that here the laws are only in effect when the governor declares a state of emergency. This is why supplies are normally fine, but things run out exactly at the times we need them most, such as during the coronavirus emergency. […]If this coronavirus crisis can teach us something, it’s that socialist policies have the same result both here and in Venezuela. – Washington Examiner 


Facebook on Wednesday announced a portal that aims to be a one-stop shop for its more than 2.5 billion users to find news and resources about the novel coronavirus, something it said was a step in an effort to combat falsehoods and provide accurate information in the face of a fast-moving pandemic. – Washington Post

A coronavirus screening service launched by Google’s sister company this week is raising red flags on Capitol Hill, where five senior Senate Democrats are questioning whether the tech giant is properly safeguarding patients’ data. – Washington Post 

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) is calling on the three top federal health agencies to allow for an investigation into their cybersecurity defenses following an attempted hack of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). – The Hill 

Federal agencies should help defend the networks that run critical infrastructure, a new comprehensive report on the government’s cybersecurity suggested. – Fifth Domain 


President Trump on Wednesday announced his intent to nominate Christopher Miller, a senior Pentagon official in charge of Special Operations and combating terrorism, to head the National Counterterrorism Center — the agency set up after 9/11 to safeguard the nation from attack. – Washington Post 

President Donald Trump has directed the Army to award the Presidential Unit Citation to the 30th Infantry Division, the White House said in a statement Tuesday evening. Eight units within the 30th were already recognized for their actions in the European theater of World War II after the war. However, the president has directed the Army to honor the remainder of the division for their actions during the battle of Mortain, France. – Military Times 

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will use the Defense Production Act, referring to authorities granted to the executive branch in 1950, to ensure U.S. industries have the support needed to produce critical equipment to help stem the spread of COVID-19. – USNI News 

A transgender Navy officer is suing the Pentagon over its ban on most transgender military service, arguing she faces involuntary discharge despite a successful record of service. […]The Pentagon’s current transgender policy went into effect in April after courts lifted the last of the injunctions that had been blocking the policy. – Bloomberg 

As U.S. President Donald Trump scrambles to mobilize the government against the new coronavirus, a growing number of lawmakers are voicing frustration that the Army Corps of Engineers isn’t being used to convert or construct new, temporary medical facilities. – Defense News 

The Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) will be routed to New York City to help alleviate non-COVID-19 medical needs, President Donald Trump told reporters on Wednesday. – USNI News 

The Air Force has postponed the second round of tests for its next-generation battle management system due to the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, moving the exercise from April to June, the service’s top general said Wednesday. – C4ISRNET 

L3Harris is building a new platform that will help analysts in the military use artificial intelligence to identify objects in large imagery data sets. – C4ISRNET 

Rebecca Hersman and Reja Younis write: Improvements to strategic situational awareness (SA)—the ability to characterize the operating environment, detect and respond to threats, and discern actual attacks from false alarms across the spectrum of conflict—have long been assumed to reduce the risk of conflict and help manage crises more successfully when they occur. However, with the development of increasingly capable strategic SA-related technology, growing comingling of conventional and nuclear SA requirements and capabilities, and the increasing risk of conventional conflict between nuclear-armed adversaries, this may no longer be the case. – Center for Strategic and International Studies