Fdd's overnight brief

March 20, 2024

In The News

Israel

In years of battle with Israel, Marwan Issa earned the nickname “Shadow Man” for his behind-the-scenes orchestration of Hamas operations as he evaded repeated attempts on his life. As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan was about to begin in March, Israel finally got its man. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli negotiators are seeking not only the release of dozens of hostages taken on Oct. 7 but also the freedom to resume a military campaign to crush Hamas once and for all after any cease-fire ends, said mediators at the talks in Qatar. In contrast, Hamas is essentially negotiating for its survival, pushing for a lasting truce and ways to remain influential in postwar Gaza, if no longer its ruler. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained defiant Tuesday in the face of mounting U.S. pressure to abandon plans to invade Rafah, vowing to press ahead with an attack on the southern Gaza city, where more than 1 million displaced people have fled since the start of the war. – Washington Post

For many civilians in Gaza, fleeing from Israeli attacks has become a grim cycle. Israeli evacuation orders have prompted more than a million people to move from one destination to another since October, each time packing belongings and seeking transport — by vehicle, cart or foot — to escape airstrikes and ground fighting between Israel and Hamas. – New York Times

The United Nations human rights chief, Volker Türk, blamed Israel on Tuesday for what he said was the entirely preventable catastrophe of starvation and famine unfolding in Gaza, urging international pressure on the country to allow for the unimpeded entry of humanitarian aid. – New York Times

The Israeli military said its forces were pressing on with a raid of Al-Shifa Hospital and had detained scores of people there, in an operation that has drawn condemnation from Gazan health officials and raised questions about how much control Israeli forces have over northern Gaza. – New York Times

The head of Israel’s delegation has returned home from cease-fire talks in Qatar, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, but talks there are continuing amid another intensive diplomatic push to secure a pause in the fighting in Gaza as famine looms. – New York Times

The healthcare system in Gaza has essentially collapsed, Western doctors who visited the Palestinian enclave in recent months told an event at the United Nations on Monday, speaking of “appalling atrocities” from Israel’s offensive. – Reuters

Armed and masked men from an array of clans and factions have started providing security for aid convoys in Gaza as Hamas tries to keep its clout in the enclave, Palestinian officials and sources in the militant group say. – Reuters

The incoming Palestinian prime minister said on Tuesday that he will appoint a technocratic government and establish an independent trust fund to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction. – Associated Press

South Africa’s top diplomat on Tuesday accused Israel of setting a precedent for leaders to defy the top UN court, as she again alleged a campaign of “starvation” in Gaza amid Israel’s war against Hamas. – Agence France-Presse

Two members of the Shin Bet were wounded, one of them seriously, in a shooting attack in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank on Tuesday, the security agency and the military said. – Times of Israel

Editorial: Israel has been waiting to go into Rafah for a month now. This is not an army that is recklessly pummeling territory out of rageful vengeance. This is a deliberate and purposeful campaign. The aim is simply to eliminate Hamas. Biden once said he supported that goal. He should continue to do so. The best thing Biden can do for U.S. national security, and indeed for his own presidential campaign, is to help Israel accomplish that goal as soon as possible. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: Halevi also rejected Smotrich’s statements, telling reporters Sunday that IDF appointments “are made at the table of the chief of staff.” Keeping politics out of the IDF is vital to its future success. Smotrich should keep his views on military appointments to himself and, instead, focus 100% of the time on his ministry. – Jerusalem Post

William A. Galston writes: After the war ends and an official commission of inquiry issues its report, Israelis may well be in a mood to think anew about the policies that would best serve their country’s long-term interests. Until then, advice from American leaders such as Mr. Schumer will fall on deaf ears. – Wall Street Journal

Brett Stephens writes: There are many who will object to an Arab Mandate for Palestine — those who want a Palestinian state now, those who want a Palestinian state never and those who think we can somehow return to the formulas of the Oslo Accords and other failed peace efforts. In the last analysis, such a mandate is the only plausible way forward. – New York Times

Andreas Kluth writes: But it could give the president political cover if he feels that he needs to withdraw diplomatic, financial or military support from Netanyahu. As Netanyahu appears ready to cross Biden’s “red line” by invading the Gazan city of Rafah and risking another humanitarian disaster, that moment may indeed be nigh. – Bloomberg

Iran

The European Union is pushing back against a French-German drive to target Iran with sanctions over its provision of missiles and other military hardware to its regional allies, with senior EU officials saying new sanctions could undercut diplomacy with Tehran. – Wall Street Journal

Ever since it was founded in 1987, Hamas has been seen as an organization that operates according to Iran’s instructions, a Palestinian branch of the “axis of evil,” whose head is in Tehran. The war in Gaza has made it clear that this axiom was meant to artificially inflate the threat posed by Hamas in particular and the Iranian axis in general. – Haaretz

Jonathan Lord writes: Sending more Iranian weapons to Ukraine would be an effective complement to this larger aid effort at almost no additional cost to the U.S. taxpayer. Congressional action that speeds the flow of captured Iranian weapons to Ukraine will further enable the Biden administration to assist a partner in need while exacting a cost on Moscow and Tehran for their efforts to allow each other’s aggression. Congress must act now to strengthen America’s partners and allies and thwart her colluding adversaries. – The National Interest

Russia & Ukraine

Russian forces were closing in when Sgt. Ivan Zhytnik made a desperate call to his family from a bunker on the front line in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian defenses in the city of Avdiivka were crumbling and Zhytnik’s brigade had pulled out to avoid being overrun, leaving him and five other soldiers behind. – Wall Street Journal

Russia’s seizure of billions of dollars worth of foreign-owned planes has set off the biggest-ever brawl in the normally staid business of aircraft insurance. Some of the world’s biggest insurers are fighting back against claims by the aircraft’s owners. The insurers say the owners should have done more to grab planes before they were seized. – Wall Street Journal

Now, Washington’s efforts to close these loopholes appear to be paying off. Dubai’s main state-owned bank has shut some accounts held by Russian oligarchs and traders of Russian oil. Turkish lenders are growing wary of handling Russia-related business. – Wall Street Journal

Ukraine manufactured practically no weapons before Russia invaded in February 2022, but the local arms industry is now booming. Factories spit out shells, mortar rounds, military vehicles, missiles and other items crucial to the war effort. Production tripled in 2023 and is expected to increase sixfold this year, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a Ukrainian government meeting in January. – Washington Post

Canada will give more than C$40 million ($29.40 million) to a Czech-led initiative aimed at buying 800,000 artillery shells from third nations for Ukraine, Defence Minister Bill Blair said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday told the Federal Security Service (FSB), the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, to help Russian companies bust Western sanctions and expand their clout into new markets around the world. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said late on Tuesday that he will consider China for his first overseas trip during his new presidential term that he secured in weekend election. – Reuters

Russia and Ukraine said they repelled numerous air attacks late Tuesday and early Wednesday, with intensified pounding of border regions forcing evacuations of civilians on both sides. – Reuters

Russia plans to evacuate about 9,000 children from a border region because it is being shelled continuously by Ukraine, an official said Tuesday, reflecting Kyiv’s increasing focus on striking targets behind a front line that has barely shifted in recent months. – Associated Press

Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion has entered a new phase, pitting homegrown drone technology against a 2,000 kilometer (1,200 mile) swathe of largely Soviet-era oil facilities. – Bloomberg

Tom Rogan writes: Moscow wants reporters and even commentators to fear doing their jobs absent prior contemplation of the Kremlin’s interests. Asked about Russia’s escalating attacks on U.S. journalists last week, the White House’s John Kirby issued only a mild lament that it’s “sadly consistent” with the Kremlin’s usual approach to speech. American writers need a greater effort at deterrence from Washington. Perhaps TASS should lose some visas. – Wall Street Journal

Steven Moore writes: Members of Congress who are concerned about supporting Ukraine ahead of the 2024 elections should make the tough choice to send relatively inexpensive weapons to Ukraine now or face being left without a choice to send the very dear lives of American men and women as soon as 2028. – Washington Examiner

Ilan Berman writes: Given Russia’s own stated goals, the choice facing Congress isn’t simply if it should support Ukraine or spend hard-earned American tax dollars elsewhere (like securing the southern U.S. border). Rather, it is whether to expend some money now to enable Kyiv to successfully halt Russia’s advance, or to allocate significantly more later (in the form of treasure and possibly even American blood) to prevent Moscow from making further inroads deeper into Europe.  – The Hill

Pavel Luzin writes: If the numbers don’t stack up by the summer, and/or combat losses are higher than expected, the Kremlin will have few options, even though it lacks junior officers and non-commissioned officers to train and command the new recruits. None of this should surprise or change the calculations of Ukraine’s Western supporters. Russia cannot be negotiated with or appeased. The Russian threat to Ukraine and to the West can only be eliminated by military power. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Syria

U.N. nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi said he visited Damascus on Tuesday to restart talks focused on fostering confidence in the peaceful use of atomic energy by Syria. – Reuters

Five commanders of Iranian-backed militias in Syria were killed in an airstrike on Tuesday, according to Saudi television station al-Hadath, cited by Israeli media that night. – Jerusalem Post

Devorah Margolin and Camille Jablonski write: Taken together, these factors show why the current approach toward detained IS affiliates is unsustainable. Although strides have been made to address this problem in the five years since the “caliphate” fell, the international community must act more assertively before the situation devolves further. Otherwise, the United States and its partners will be hard-pressed to meet their stated goal of defeating IS kinetically and ideologically. – Washington Institute

Iraq

A United Nations mission set up to help Iraq investigate alleged Islamic State genocide and war crimes is being forced to shut prematurely before it can finish its probes, following a souring of its relationship with the Iraqi government. – Reuters

Turkey carried out a new round of airstrikes targeting Kurdish militants in neighboring Iraq on Tuesday, Turkey’s defense ministry said, hours after a Turkish soldier was killed and four others were wounded in an attack in the region. – Associated Press

Iraq’s former defense minister, who holds dual Iraqi-Swedish citizenship, has been arrested in Sweden, authorities said Tuesday. He is suspected of illegally receiving benefits in the Scandinavian country. – Associated Press

Adnan Nasser writes: Will additional sanctions curb or deter Iran’s behavior? Not likely. They will only serve as a tool of annoyance rather than effect any practical repercussions. The most tangible of outcomes will come from Biden’s move to either keep, withdraw, or downsize American forces from Iraq and anywhere else in the Middle East. Tehran is watching and seeing if time is on its side. – The National Interest

Yemen

Yemen’s Houthis targeted a fuel tanker, MADO, in the Red Sea with naval missile and Israel’s Eilat port and resort region with winged missiles, the group’s military spokesperson Yahya Sarea said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen blew up a house Tuesday in a town southeast of the capital, Sanaa, killing at least nine people from the same family, officials and residents said. – Associated Press

Ramon Marks writes: Ending Houthi strikes may well have to wait for peace in Gaza. Even when that day comes, the long-term repercussions of what has happened in the Red Sea will not end. New commercial transportation arteries in Russia will continue to coalesce, diverting global trade patterns, as will debate over how modern navies can adapt to land-based drones and anti-ship missiles. These challenges for the West will remain well after Houthi attacks have finally stopped once and for all. – The National Interest

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s government plans to create a fund of about $40 billion to invest in artificial intelligence, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing three people briefed on the plans. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet on Tuesday approved an agreement to establish a regional office for the International Monetary Fund in the capital, Riyadh, Saudi state news agency SPA reported. – Reuters

The London Metal Exchange (LME) plans to list Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian Red Sea port city, as a new delivery point for copper and zinc subject to consultation on a technical change to the LME’s warehouse location framework, it said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

The top two generals who oversaw the deadly evacuation of Afghanistan faced renewed scrutiny Tuesday as House Republicans escalated their campaign to hold President Biden accountable for the fiasco and Democrats accused Donald Trump of setting the conditions for the Kabul government’s collapse. – Washington Post

Tunisia and Libya have closed a major border crossing at Ras Jdir due to armed clashes, Tunisian state TV and Libyan authorities said. Libya’s interior ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that “outlaws” had attacked the border, which sees a large flow of Libyans often going to Tunisia for medical treatment and trucks with goods coming in the opposite direction. – Reuters

The United Arab Emirates is quietly urging the European Union to start talks on a trade pact separate from an Arab bloc, five people familiar with the matter said, as the Gulf state seeks closer political and economic ties with Europe. – Reuters

Korean Peninsula

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guided a ground test of a solid-fuel engine for a new type of intermediate-range hypersonic missile as part of a program of developing national defence capability, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday. – Reuters

A South Korean-flagged chemical tanker has capsized off the coast of Yamaguchi prefecture in western Japan, with operations to rescue the crew underway, public broadcaster NHK reported on Wednesday, citing the Coast Guard. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called for deeper defence ties with the United Kingdom on Wednesday as he met the visiting British deputy prime minister, with the two countries also kicking off a new round of trade negotiations this week. – Reuters

China

It is the time of year when throngs of Western corporate chieftains and big-name investors descend on Beijing to pay homage to China’s leadership. This time, the focus will be just as much on who is there to greet them. – Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong lawmakers passed a bill that includes heavy punishments for foreign interference endangering national security and criminalizes the possession or disclosure of state secrets, measures that some foreign executives say could make the city less attractive for international business. – Wall Street Journal

As tensions rise with China, Taiwan’s defense minister has hinted that U.S. troops have been training the Taiwanese military on outlying islands that would be on the front lines of a conflict with its neighbor.Wall Street Journal

China on Wednesday launched a satellite that will act as a communications bridge between ground operations on Earth and an upcoming mission on the far side of the moon, marking a new phase in the country’s long-term lunar exploration programme. – Reuters

The European Union and the United Nations said Hong Kong’s new national security bill was deeply worrying and could erode fundamental freedoms in the China-ruled city. – Reuters

Taiwan’s foreign minister said on Wednesday that China has built “enormous” military bases on three islands surrounding Taiwan’s main holding in the South China Sea, but Taipei is not looking to further escalate tensions in the strategic waterway. – Reuters

China said the United States must refrain from “stirring up trouble” or taking sides on the South China Sea issue, after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a security deal with the Manila extended to attacks on the Philippine coast guard. – Reuters

Editorial: In defense of the new legislation, the government says it is merely following the Basic Law—Hong Kong’s miniconstitution. So notwithstanding Hong Kong’s underperforming stock market and a flight of foreign investors, the government decided it needs more tools to lock people up. The law’s reach is sweeping and its terms such as treason and insurrection are conveniently vague. – Wall Street Journal

Joseph Bosco writes: Once it is still relative peacetime, Washington needs to resume normal operations in the strait to deter further Chinese adventurism in the region. Hopefully, Biden is not whispering to Xi what Obama told Putin in 2012, that he will be “more flexible” if he is reelected. That led to Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine and its collusion with Bashir Assad’s war crimes in Syria. – The Hill

South Asia

Twelve miners were killed and eight rescued after an explosion in a coal mine in south-western Pakistan, officials said on Wednesday. – Reuters

The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said it had reached a staff level agreement with Pakistan, which if approved by its board, will disburse $1.1 billion for the indebted South Asian economy also saddled with a balance of payment crisis. – Reuters

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, will visit India next week as Kyiv looks to build support for its peace plan, two Indian officials aware of the matter said, the first visit by a top Ukrainian leader since Russia’s invasion over two years ago. – Reuters

India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that China was making “absurd claims” over Arunachal Pradesh, adding that the northeastern state which shares a border with China will always be an “integral and inalienable part of India”. – Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all ministries to propose annual goals for their departments for the next five years, according to a government document, underlining his confidence of winning a general election starting next month. – Reuters

Asia

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Chinese security risks on Tuesday with senior Philippine leaders, as Washington and Manila seek to bolster ties in the face of increasingly aggressive Chinese action against Philippine targets in the South China Sea. – Washington Post

Australia will prepare for a visit by China’s Premier Li Qiang this year, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said after meeting her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Canberra for talks she said covered human rights, tariffs, regional security and pandas. – Reuters

Fierce resistance mounted by Australian unions against plans for a new submarine base shows the challenge facing the high-stakes defence project with the United States and Britain that aims to counter China’s growing influence in the Pacific region. – Reuters

Images taken by miniature drones from deep inside a badly damaged reactor at the Fukushima nuclear plant show displaced control equipment and misshapen materials but leave many questions unanswered, underscoring the daunting task of decommissioning the plant. – Associated Press

Editorial: Now Mr. Aliyev is making Mr. Ibadoghlu pay a terrible price. “Urgent action is required to save my life in prison,” he says. He should be released immediately, along with all the journalists and political prisoners. If not, global negotiators this November should call out Azerbaijan’s human rights abuses and not allow COP 29 to be a prestige-building moment for Azerbaijan’s dictator. – Washington Post

Anna Borshchevskaya writes: However, should Armenia and Azerbaijan sign a peace treaty, it would resonate across multiple continents and directly benefit US interests. If Western policymakers are serious about ensuring Ukraine’s victory, they should consider the broader implications of that victory—and Russia’s loss—beyond Ukraine. As with any opportunity, time matters, and this window may not stay open forever. – Washington Institute

Europe

The European Union reached a provisional agreement on Wednesday to grant Ukrainian food producers tariff-free access to its markets until June 2025, albeit with new limits on imports of grains. – Reuters

German prosecutors have charged an officer in the military procurement agency with attempting to pass secret information to Russian intelligence, the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday. – Reutersy

Germany has arrested two suspected Islamic State (IS) members for allegedly planning an attack on the Swedish parliament in retaliation for Koran burnings in the Scandinavian country, the federal prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel of the center-right GERB party agreed on Monday to form a new government, following the resignation of Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov on March 5. – Reuters

France’s defence ministry on Tuesday called remarks made by the chief of Russia’s foreign intelligence service disinformation and irresponsible after he suggested Paris was preparing to send 2,000 troops to Ukraine. – Reuters

Moldova said Tuesday it has expelled a Russian diplomat after Moscow opened polling stations for its presidential election in Moldova’s pro-Russia breakaway region of Transnistria. – Associated Press

Hotaka Nakamura writes:  But it is clearly in the security interests of all of the Black Sea’s littoral states — not to mention international shippers, global importers of regional goods, and beyond — to formulate a cooperative framework for mitigating the threat posed by naval mines in these waters. The time has come for NATO to reconsider a standing Alliance fleet in the Black Sea. – Middle East Institute

Africa

A drone strike just outside the Somali capital killed more than 22 people and wounded 21, including many children, a witness and a relative of the victims told The Washington Post. Two security sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said the strike was carried out by a Turkish drone. – Washington Post

The United States has received “mixed signals” from Niger following the ruling junta’s weekend announcement that it had revoked an accord allowing U.S. troops to operate in the West African country, the top U.S. general said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The United States, Britain and Norway on Tuesday called on South Sudan’s leaders to take urgent steps to ensure genuine and peaceful elections in December. – Reuters

The number of people affected by violence in South Sudan surged by 35% in the last three months of 2023, the United Nations reported. The U.N. Mission in South Sudan, or UNMISS, documented 233 incidents of violence affecting 862 people. – Associated Press

Steve Israel writes: Silence towards Sudan reveals a vulnerability, a softness in the hardline of the mass protests against Israel after it responded to the massacre of its citizens on Oct. 7. You can’t claim to be for universal human rights only when it’s about certain humans. You can’t relish in your moral absolutism while drawing squishy lines around conflicts that may have less cachet than others. – The Hill

The Americas

Brazil’s federal police accused former President Jair Bolsonaro and his closest aides over allegations they falsified their Covid-19 vaccination records to travel to the U.S. at the height of the pandemic, according to a person close to the investigation. – Wall Street Journal

Caribbean leaders said Tuesday that all groups and political parties except one have submitted nominees for a transitional presidential council charged with selecting an interim prime minister for Haiti, which remains engulfed in gang violence. – Associated Press

Human rights activists are calling on the Dominican Republic’s government for a temporary reprieve in deportations as neighboring Haiti’s crisis spirals and people attempt to flee over the closed border from a surge in deadly gang violence. – Associated Press

Colombia’s largest criminal group said Tuesday it has accepted President Gustavo Petro’s offer to start peace negotiations, but the next steps in any talks were not immediately clear. – Associated Press

Gustavo Flores-Macías writes: If the region’s democracies are to survive the illiberal pressures of punitive populism, governments must prove that nonmilitary measures can be effective. Otherwise, publics across Latin America will continue to surrender their constitutional rights in exchange for authoritarian police states that maintain order. The best antidote against authoritarian populism is for democracies to deliver results. – Foreign Affairs

 

United States

Former President Donald Trump has been open in criticizing President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war. But the presumptive GOP presidential nominee has had little to say about how he would resolve the conflict. – Wall Street Journal

A federal appeals court has again blocked a law that makes it a state crime for migrants to illegally cross the border, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority allowed the law to take effect while challenges to it continue through the court system. – Washington Post

The Biden administration is considering blacklisting a number of Chinese semiconductor firms linked to Huawei Technologies Co (HWT.UL), Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday citing people familiar with the matter. – Reuters

Donald Trump said he would defend fellow NATO allies who have fulfilled their defense spending commitments, amid worries in some foreign capitals over the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s support for the military alliance. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The Missouri lawsuit swept in some government officials and actions that didn’t cross the First Amendment line. Injunctions by lower courts also may have been too broad. But none of this should stop Justices from making clear that government can’t use threats of punishment to coerce platforms to suppress speech. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: The House Republicans who are taking down the GEC could, more constructively, reauthorize the program with legislative language that would ban any operations in the United States. By eliminating the program altogether, they would deny the United States a vital tool in a contest for hearts and minds around the world — while rewarding the purveyors of lies. – Washington Post

Cybersecurity

A China-linked espionage group has been observed targeting government agencies, educational institutions and the communications industry with two custom backdoors, according to the new research. – The Record

Microsoft will reportedly suspend access to its cloud services for Russian users this month as a result of European sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. – The Record

Merryn Somerset Webb writes: In a possible sign of things to come, a few weeks ago Amazon Web Services announced that its new data center in Pennsylvania is to be powered directly by an existing adjacent nuclear power station. The AI revolution might be coming hand in hand with a power revolution — something for investors in uranium to watch. – Bloomberg

Defense

Pentagon leaders vowed Tuesday to stand by Ukraine in its war to repel Russian forces despite deepening questions about whether the Biden administration can overcome Washington’s political gridlock to free billions of dollars in additional U.S. military aid. – Washington Post

The U.S. State Department has approved the possible sale of Javelin missiles and related equipment to Morocco for an estimated cost of $260 million, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of Abrams tanks and related equipment to Bahrain for an estimated cost of $2.2 billion, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. – Reuters

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is asking Congress for $11 billion more than the White House’s fiscal 2025 defense budget request, an amount that is three times greater than the wish list it submitted last year. – Defense News

The U.S. Air Force on Sunday carried out what is expected to be the final test of the hypersonic AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon. The service did not say whether the test was successful. – Defense News

The U.S. Navy’s fiscal 2025 budget request for Project Overmatch, its effort to digitally link people, ships and sensors over vast distances, is too sensitive to make public, according to the service. – Defense News

Risa Brooks writes: Military leaders must take seriously the challenges posed by civilian efforts to politicize the armed forces. Paradoxically, because of their commitment to the nonpartisan ethic, not to mention the responsibilities of their jobs, many are unaccustomed to thinking about their role in protecting the institution from being pulled into partisan politics. As understandable as that may be, it is a luxury that the country can no longer afford. – Foreign Affairs

James Holmes writes: Then U.S. strategists can plot when, where, and how to give China a nasty ulcer of its own. Corbett, like Lippmann, would blanch at the thought of deliberately shortchanging means while expecting to accomplish expansive ends. That would turn the world upside down. But that’s where we are. Washington needs to get serious about matching ends with means—and turn the politico-military world right-side up again. – The National Interest