Fdd's overnight brief

March 25, 2020

In The News


United Nations leadership called for rolling back international sanctions regimes around the world, saying they are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. The appeal reflects mounting concerns that sanctions regimes may be impeding efforts in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe to battle the coronavirus, and enhancing the prospects of the pathogen’s spread to other countries. It comes as China and Russia, which is subject to U.S. and European sanctions for its invasion of Crimea, have also stepped up calls for an easing of sanctions. – Foreign Policy 

The United States backed a United Nations call for an “immediate global ceasefire” on Tuesday as the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. – Washington Examiner 

The international humanitarian organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders expressed deep surprise in a statement March 24 after Iranian Health Ministry officials put a stop to its plans to launch a 50-bed intensive care field hospital in Isfahan for COVID-19 victims. – Reuters 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned an attack on Afghan politician Zarifa Ghafari, who received an award as a woman of courage from the U.S. State Department just a few weeks ago. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Amid heightened tension with Iran, the U.S. Navy is operating two carriers in the Middle East, and all signs point to increasing pressure from U.S. Central Command to maintain aircraft carrier presence that has ebbed in recent years as the U.S. focuses on competition with China and Russia. – Defense News 

A prosecutor in Iran’s northern city of Anzali on Monday said an arrest warrant has been issued for an “Islamic doctor” who put the lives of several coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) patients and the public in danger. […]Iran’s Supreme Leader is an advocate of a traditional school of medicine which is now often referred to as “Islamic-Iranian medicine”. Those who advocate and practice this school enjoy state-funded propaganda and the protection of the hardliner-dominated Judiciary despite many protests by the country’s medical community. – Radio Farda

A senior Iranian official Tuesday ruled out help from “foreign forces” to deal with the coronavirus epidemic after an offer from a France-based medical charity, as the country’s death toll from the illness neared 2,000. – Agence France-Presse 

Habib Barzegari, a founding member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has died of coronavirus, state media reported on Tuesday. Barzegari was a founding member of the IRGC in the city of Meybod in Iran’s central province of Yazd, according to state media. – Al Arabiya 

Michael Rubin writes: Simply put, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is replicating late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s propaganda campaign: Promote humanitarian tragedy and profit off it. […]The sad reality is that the financial benefit for Khamenei and the ruling clerics of Iran’s suffering is simply too great to risk. The coronavirus, and Khamenei’s desire for cash rather than substantive help, reveals his true self. – Washington Examiner 

Danielle Pletka writes:  The goal of the Trump administration’s policy, it insists, is not to punish the Iranian people for the sins of their leaders. When the moment finally comes that the Tehran regime ends its costly support for the Syria war, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iraqi proxies, and others, it may be necessary to further alleviate pressure by sending food and medicine directly to Iran that it cannot secure the credit to buy. But as of now, that moment looks as remote as ever. As always, the regime prioritizes its campaign of regional terror above the lives of the Iranian people. – The Dispatch 

Ana Diamond and Yonah Diamond write: This pandemic will forever change the way governments confront global crises and serves as a wake-up call to get serious about co-ordinating coherent international strategies. It has proven that what happens abroad, particularly in authoritarian countries, matters at home. […]The Islamic republic can start by releasing the scientists who dedicate their lives to preventing these crises and preserving our planet. – National Post 

Fariba Parsa writes: For more than a century, Iranian women have worked for change and fought for their freedom. Under the system in place in the Islamic Republic, however, they continue to face systematic, widespread legal discrimination. The law does not treat them as equal citizens in matters of crime and punishment, individual freedom such as travel and work, and personal status, like marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Despite the hurdles they currently face, with organization, unity, and common purpose, Iranian women are capable of changing history and building a new future for their country. – Middle East Institute

Tom Rogan writes: Unfortunately, the U.N.’s Antonio Gutteres’s effort is unlikely to find much traction. The challenge? Our adversaries seek advantage from this chaos, not a sense of companionship. […]Those with little regard for human life have little regard for the coronavirus. Indeed, they seek advantage from the obstacles and distractions the virus causes for their adversaries. – Washington Examiner  


In a war with too many terrible chapters to count, the fighting in Idlib and surrounding areas has been singularly brutal, spreading destruction over a large swath of Syria while uprooting nearly a million of its citizens. The violence has been drawn out by seesaw clashes that left towns like Saraqeb wasted and empty. – Washington Post 

An immediate nationwide ceasefire is needed across Syria to enable an “all-out-effort” to stamp out the coronavirus and prevent it from ravaging a beleaguered population, the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The spread of coronavirus to Syria brings the prospect of a deadly outbreak to a population devastated by nine years of war, with ravaged hospitals and tightly-packed camps likely to accelerate infection, doctors and aid workers said on Monday. […]A Russian-backed Syrian government offensive there has uprooted nearly 1 million people in recent months and left its infrastructure in tatters. – Reuters 

Seth J Frantzman writes: Even as the pandemic spreads, Turkey’s media wants to remind viewers that it is fighting “terrorists” in Eastern Syria. […]Working together to reduce US influence is in both their interests. Turkey needs a new crises. However the pandemic may be one real crises that is difficult for Ankara to surmount while also trying to create a new struggle with Washington and Russia over Syria’s oil. – Jerusalem Post


Two formidable crises Israel is facing, a pandemic and a political standoff, have intersected in recent days to create one of the most challenging—and bewildering—moments in the country’s history. […]The standoff amounts to a constitutional crisis for Israel and a difficult test for Netanyahu. But the national emergency spawned by the pandemic could ultimately save the Israeli leader politically. – Foreign Policy

The coronavirus outbreak has been accompanied by the circulation of many conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, which were published, inter alia, in the Arab media and especially in the Palestinian media. While Palestinian Authority (PA) government spokesman Ibrahim Milhem said that the PA is taking measures against the virus in coordination and collaboration with Israel, some in the Palestinian media accused Israel and the U.S. of spreading the coronavirus in the world for various reasons: in order to weaken China and Iran, to help Trump’s reelection campaign and/or to facilitate Israel’s takeover of the region. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

David Makovsky writes: In the shadow of a pandemic, Israel is witnessing a dramatic legal showdown that could determine the composition of the next government. […]Israeli politics have always been intense, but the players have generally agreed on the democratic rules of the game throughout decades of serious challenges at home and abroad. The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling suggests that many Israelis believe those unspoken rules might be buckling under the current crisis. For the sake of both its own democratic identity and its values-based relationships with other nations, Israel needs to keep these rules sacrosanct. – Washington Institute 

Arabian Peninsula

The long war in Yemen has had a “devastating impact” on the mental health of children, with more than half saying they feel sad and depressed, Save the Children said. The government — backed by a Saudi-led military coalition — has been battling the Iran-aligned Huthi rebels for more than five years in a conflict that has plunged the country into what the United Nations says is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. – Agence France-Presse

Saudi military forces have committed grave abuses against civilians in an eastern province of Yemen over the past year, including torture, forced disappearances and arbitrary detention, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Wednesday. – Associated Press

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will chair an extraordinary virtual meeting of the leaders from the Group of 20 major economies on March 26 to advance a global coordinated response to the coronavirus outbreak, a statement said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

A senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette will be reassigned to Saudi Arabia as the country’s increased oil production is contributing to decreasing prices in the U.S. […]U.S. oil prices have plunged in recent weeks amid decreased demand due to the coronavirus and an increase in Saudi output following a dispute with Russia. – The Hill 

Oil and gas companies are cutting spending plans in response to the new coronavirus and a push by Saudi Arabia and Russia to ramp up output. – Reuters 

Middle East & North Africa

Three explosions were heard near the Camp Taji training base north of Baghdad, where US-led coalition troops are housed, according to Sky News Arabia. – Jerusalem Post 

Recent columns in the Turkish press praise jihad and martyrdom and yearn for a caliphate. Burhan Bozgeyik wrote on March 20, 2020: “Jihad is a valid ruling until the Day of Judgement. Jihad will not be abandoned… If the Muslims are unified, [the unbelievers] will all be like dogs at our door.” Mustafa Kasadar wrote on February 10: “This ummah has gotten its dignity and honor from jihad and martyrdom.” Muzaffer Dereli wrote on March 6: “If we get scared when war and jihad are mentioned, this shows the weakness of our faith.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Munqith Dagher writes: What is strange is that while these forces’ backer, Iran, evidentially understands the depth of the changes occurring in Iraq—especially after Soleimani’s removal from the scene—the forces themselves are still out of touch with reality. […]Whether this generation belongs to the second rank of the current ruling forces or to the generation of the uprising, it is increasingly evident that the political history of Iraq will be divided into the pre-uprising and post-uprising eras. – Washington Institute  

Korean Peninsula

President Trump telephoned South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday to ask if South Korea could send medical equipment to the U.S. to help combat the coronavirus, according to a statement from Seoul’s presidential Blue House. – Wall Street Journal 

South Korea said it would tighten border checks for travellers from the United States by Friday as concerns rise over imported coronavirus cases despite a decline in domestically transmitted infections. – Reuters

Patrick M. Cronin writes: Seoul and Washington may aspire to peace, but Pyongyang appears to want to cling to absolute power. Without a fundamental shift in at least the policy of the North Korean regime, the security dilemma of leaders and the interests of governments will remain separated by a chasm much wider than the demilitarized zone that still divides the two Koreas. – Real Clear Defense


The Chinese province of Hubei, where the coronavirus pandemic began, will on Wednesday begin allowing most of its 60 million residents to leave, ending nearly two months of lockdown and sending a strong signal of the government’s confidence that its tough measures have worked to control the outbreak. […]The loosening also reflects the urgency with which the party wants to restart the economy, which recorded double-digit drops in certain sectors in the first quarter this year — a potentially major threat to the government’s legitimacy. – New York Times

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned local officials not to hide new coronavirus cases, after the country reported several days of no locally transmitted infections in a major turnaround in its fight against the deadly pandemic. – CNN 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday sharpened his criticism of China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, saying its ruling Communist Party was still denying the world information it needs to prevent further cases. – Reuters 

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., are demanding China fork over money to nations afflicted with the novel coronavirus, arguing the Chinese Communist Party must pay for its “lies” about the early outbreak of the virus. – Fox News 

As the coronavirus spreads across the United States, Chinese students from wealthy families are persuading their parents to pay tens of thousands of dollars for seats on private jets to get home. […]U.S.-based Chinese students are scrambling to get home as U.S. infections top 50,000 while new cases in China – where the flu-like virus emerged in humans late last year – have fallen to zero. – Reuters 

As the U.S. finds itself in the unfamiliar position of lobbying for higher oil prices, China’s enjoying what amounts to a major rebate from crude’s crash just as it tries to recover from the coronavirus. […]As the U.S. finds itself in the unfamiliar position of lobbying for higher oil prices, China’s enjoying what amounts to a major rebate from crude’s crash just as it tries to recover from the coronavirus. – Bloomberg 

The United States and China are locked in a struggle over influence and messaging about the coronavirus pandemic even as governments around the world struggle to control the outbreak. This week, Washington claimed a small victory. – NPR 

American firms in China are increasingly pessimistic about how quickly they can rebound from the coronavirus, with less than a quarter back at normal work levels. […]However, the uncertainty is yet to seriously impact plans for the year, at least for larger companies. – Bloomberg 

James Stavridis writes: Let’s start with what is officially known as the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy. It is currently optimized for regional sea control and power projection. However, what the Chinese see as their “region” is expanding and will soon encompass the Indian Ocean. Over the longer term, they envision fully global operations, similar to the U.S. Navy. […]China is also rapidly adding what are known as “anti-access” capabilities designed to keep the U.S. at a significant distance from Chinese regional interests, principally in the South China Sea. – Bloomberg 

John Lee writes: The CCP will prevail in this propaganda campaign only if the United States refuses to recognize that there is a competition over the narrative accompanying COVID-19 and its impacts or that competing might offend or provoke its opponent. The CCP will also prevail if the United States continues to downplay its strengths while ignoring its rival’s weaknesses or if a growing number of Americans lose confidence and nerve. – Hudson Institute 



Gunmen stormed a temple for the Sikh and Hindu minorities on Wednesday in Kabul trapping several dozen worshipers inside, an official and several witnesses said. […]The attack, the first of its kind against a worshiping center for the Sikh and Hindu minorities in the capital, happened during a morning ritual ceremony. – Washington Post 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday that he will ask the Trump administration to reconsider its vow to immediately cut $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan because of a political standoff in Kabul. – Wall Street Journal

The first four confirmed cases of coronavirus among coalition troops in Afghanistan were reported Tuesday as the commander of U.S. and coalition forces issued an urgent plea to the Afghan people to stop fighting each other and turn to combating the spread of the disease. – Military.com 

Mujib Mashal and Fahim Abed write: Many of Afghanistan’s political factions may already be positioning themselves for new alliances after America’s exit, taking their cues from U.S. rivals such as Russia or Iran. Several senior Afghan officials acknowledged that the political crisis between Mr. Ghani and Mr. Abdullah, at a time when the United States had already announced its phased exit from Afghanistan, was only benefiting the Taliban waiting in the wings. – New York Times 


South Asia

India, the world’s second most-populous country, is making a dramatic, last-ditch effort to prevent an explosion of coronavirus cases in a country ill-equipped to handle such an outbreak. For the next 21 days, there will be restrictions on commerce and movement across the length and breadth of India. Even at the height of its battle against the virus, China did not impose a nationwide lockdown. – Washington Post 

India banned exports of a malaria drug backed by U.S. President Donald Trump amid a run on supplies globally, even as scientists continue to search for conclusive evidence of the medicine’s effectiveness against the novel coronavirus. – Bloomberg 

Most South Asian countries locked their borders down last week or even earlier, but the number of confirmed coronavirus cases keep rising, particularly in Pakistan and India. This trend suggests that the region has likely moved from phase two of the virus outbreak, when transmission is traced to people who have arrived from foreign countries, to phase three, when the disease is spreading more widely among communities. – Foreign Policy 


Communist guerrillas in the Philippines said Wednesday they would observe a ceasefire in compliance with the U.N. chief’s call for a global halt in armed clashes during the coronavirus pandemic. – Washington Times 

Singapore’s government said on Wednesday it was not ruling out holding a general election during the coronavirus outbreak in the city-state, saying strong leadership was needed in a crisis. – Reuters 

The United States has lifted a ban on a Malaysian medical glove maker it had accused of using forced labor, a government statement showed, amid a surge in demand for personal protective equipment to fight the coronavirus crisis. – Reuters 

Patrick Buchan writes: With the once-in-a-generation budgetary decisions that will need to be made over the coming weeks and months amid the unknown that is COVID-19, the Australian government will need to balance the current pandemic threat against the hard but necessary choices that should be made to ensure military spending and capability is not drastically altered, a possible gift in favor of a balance of power tilted toward China. The Tindal announcement represents a unique opportunity to demonstrate sound, strategic long-term judgment in the face of the age-old impulse to cut defense spending in times of economic and domestic crisis. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  


The deepening coronavirus crisis is upending the Kremlin’s plan to ramp up oil production in its price war with Saudi Arabia—and prompting a backlash among the leaders of some of Russia’s largest energy companies, people familiar with the matter said. – Wall Street Journal

Russia, spanning two continents ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, remains an anomaly: a population of around 145 million but just 495 confirmed cases of the disease and one possible death, although the cause has been disputed. […]President Vladimir Putin said last week that “the situation in our country looks a lot better” than Europe and was “under control.” But state television showed Putin wearing a full hazmat suit while visiting one of Moscow’s coronavirus hospitals Tuesday. – Washington Post 

Russia has pulled some tools from its authoritarian toolbox to battle the disease, including the use of facial-recognition technology to track people ordered into self-isolation. The government is also developing a system using geolocation data from mobile operators to monitor individuals. – Washington Post 

Oleg Matveychev, a lecturer at Russia’s Higher School of Economics, was incensed that some travelers returning to Russia refused to comply with regulations necessitated by the coronavirus. However, in a Facebook post, since deleted, he recommended dealing with these people and with “liberal bastards” in general, including activists such as Alexei Navalny, in Stalinist fashion. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Matthew Melino, Heather A. Conley and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr write: As Russia enhanced its military posture and forces in the Arctic, it concentrated on exercising its new capabilities in the context of territorial defense and power projection. […]As one of its most easterly situated radar systems in the Russian Arctic, the Wrangel Island Sopka-2 radar is likely designed to supplement Russia’s strategic early warning radar network and to detect U.S. aircraft. When viewed in isolation, an early warning radar system on Wrangel Island has limited strategic value and could easily be discounted. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  


Hackers targeting health care organizations have compromised computer networks and disrupted patient care—in one case hobbling the Czech Republic’s second-biggest hospital for almost two weeks—as the new coronavirus pandemic already tests the limits of health-care systems around the globe. […]The recent activity, though, is targeting critical health care facilities and systems amid an unprecedented global health crisis, as the world tries to cope with the fallout of the Covid-19 outbreak. – Wall Street Journal 

As the coronavirus pandemic halts activity around the globe, governments are considering extreme measures to limit the economic damage, including supporting private-sector salaries to an extent never before seen in capitalist systems. […]Some British economists say the commitments, though they won’t be cheap, may be more effective than aspects of U.S. policy. – Washington Post 

Britain’s parliament is set to suspend sitting for at least four weeks from Wednesday as part of the government’s efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. – Reuters 

There has been “an unprecedented collapse” in business across the eurozone this month as EU countries impose severe restrictions on movement to slow the coronavirus, according to indicators released Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse 

In the next few days, North Macedonia is expected to deliver paperwork to the U.S. State Department that will officially make it the 30th member of the NATO alliance. – Defense News 

Seth G. Jones, Catrina Doxsee and Nicholas Harrington write: Amid growing concern about a rise in right-wing terrorism in Europe and worldwide, there is an ongoing debate about the severity of this threat. […]The internet and social media platforms will likely continue to play a major role in allowing these individuals and networks to spread information and coordinate action. Terrorism—whether from right-wing individuals, jihadists, or others—will remain a persistent challenge, necessitating continued counterterrorism cooperation among Western governments. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Luke Coffey writes: The European Union’s interest in the Black Sea is based mainly on the fact that two of its members, Romania and Bulgaria, are littoral states. However, the organization is also closely linked with other non-EU Black Sea states, be it economically or politically. Ukraine and Georgia aspire to be EU members while Russia and Turkey both have their own unique and difficult relationships with the EU. – Middle East Institute


Ninety-two Chadian soldiers have been killed in the deadliest attack ever by Boko Haram jihadists on armed forces in the country, President Idriss Déby Itno said on Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse 

Boko Haram extremists killed at least 50 soldiers during an ambush in northern Yobe state, one of the deadliest recent attacks on troops in Nigeria, according to military sources. – Associated Press 

Militant group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for an attack in northern Mozambique just south of the site of gas projects worth $60 billion being developed by the likes of Exxon Mobil and Total. – Reuters 

Several people have been killed in southern Guinea, according to local officials, in an outbreak of violence after the country’s contested constitutional referendum. – Agence France-Presse 

United States

Senate leaders and the Trump administration reached agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion stimulus package to rescue the economy from the coronavirus assault, setting the stage for swift passage of the massive legislation through both chambers of Congress. – Washington Post 

President Donald Trump declared the beginning of the end of the coronavirus crisis in the United States on Tuesday and called for a quick end to social distancing, even as New York’s governor compared the growing pandemic to a “bullet train.” – Agence France-Presse 

The $2 trillion stimulus plan agreed to by White House and Senate leaders would ban any company controlled by President Donald Trump or his children from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs. […]Trump broke with the practice of previous presidents who either divested assets that could cause conflicts of interest or put those assets in blind trusts. – Bloomberg 

Daniel Yergin and Roger Diwan write: The oil business is caught up in a double crisis. […]The consequences could be devastating for developing countries that have fragile health systems and are reliant on petroleum revenue. But the fallout could seriously damage the U.S. oil and gas industry, regional economies, financial markets and the industrial sector that produces equipment for the industry. – Washington Post  

Salvador Rizzo writes: As covid-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, some officials say President Trump is dropping the ball by not using the strongest powers he has under the Defense Production Act of 1950. […]We figured readers would have many questions about the Defense Production Act, how it works and which companies are doing what. So here’s an explainer. – Washington Post

The Americas

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said exemptions would be available for asylum seekers with severe medical conditions. But some critically ill migrants still are sent back to Mexico. Others are put on planes to Guatemala to apply for refuge there; still others are swiftly deported under a new, expedited removal program. – Washington Post 

A major U.N. conference to review the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, considered the cornerstone of global efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, is “likely to be postponed” because of the coronavirus pandemic, a U.N. official said Tuesday. – Associated Press

G7 finance ministers and central bank chiefs on Tuesday vowed to “do whatever is necessary” to safeguard jobs and the economy from disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. – Agence France-Presse 

The presidents of Mexico and Brazil scored stunning election victories in 2018 in defiance of the political establishment, but their unwillingness to follow consensus on the coronavirus pandemic has left the two increasingly exposed. – Reuters 

Mexico temporarily halted the processing of asylum requests from Tuesday, its refugee agency said, the latest measure in North America aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus that have also limited access to asylum. […]U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration instituted a policy last year that has sent back some 60,000 migrants requesting asylum to wait on the Mexican side of the border for U.S. immigration court hearings. – Reuters 

As Brazil’s largest city went into lockdown, President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday took aim at the “hysteria” over the coronavirus and urged that life must continue and jobs be preserved. […]Earlier on Tuesday, Bolsonaro patched up a diplomatic spat with China, agreeing in a call with President Xi Jinping to fight the spread of the coronavirus together. – Reuters 

Latin America

The coronavirus is spreading deeper into Latin America, a region home to about 8.5% of the world’s population that many expects believe could be among the worst affected by COVID-19. Heavily reliant on commodity exports, tourism and remittances, Latin America’s fragile economies and vulnerable populations are likely to suffer. – Reuters 

Mexico’s Libre Abordo and a related company plan to take some 15 million barrels of Venezuelan crude as part of a first oil-for-food contract with President Nicolas Maduro’s government, the company told Reuters on Tuesday. – Reuters 

Astrid Cantor writes: According to the W.H.O., the Venezuelan health system has just eight hospital beds for every 10,000 inhabitants. […]Some fear that the regime will use the crisis as a pretext to further tighten control over a society already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis. To mitigate the catastrophe, the unimpeded entry of humanitarian aid, the publication of epidemiological data and the distribution of equipment, supplies and medicines in hospitals are paramount. Otherwise, for a country that seemed to hit rock bottom long ago, there may be worse to come. – New York Times 


As millions of U.S. workers frantically pivoted to remote work last week, putting new strains on their computer networks, federal officials warned that hackers smelled blood. But the fallout from coronavirus-related breaches may not become clear for weeks, months or even longer, experts say. – Wall Street Journal 

Twitter said it will not take action against politicians’ tweets on the origins of the coronavirus outbreak unless they pose a “clear incitement” of physical harm, indicating it plans to largely stay on the sidelines of an intensifying blame game between U.S. and Chinese leaders. – Politico

President Trump on Tuesday signed a new law aimed at preventing China from penetrating American telecommunications networks for electronic spying and data collection. […]American intelligence officials have said Huawei and other companies are required by Chinese law to provide Chinese intelligence services with access to their equipment. – Washington Times 

Several European nations are evaluating powerful but potentially intrusive tools for fighting the new coronavirus pandemic, a move that could put public health at odds with individual privacy. – Fifth Domain

As more and more military installations around the country move towards telework to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing concern about operational security. During a force-wide town hall meeting Tuesday morning, Defense Secretary Mark Esper urged personnel to use proper cybersecurity hygiene, and be wary of emails from unknown origin that might include phishing or malware attempts. – Military Times


The Trump administration was set to implement a Korean War-era defense mobilization law on Tuesday to expedite the production of about 60,000 test kits for the novel coronavirus, but at the last minute deemed it unnecessary, despite mounting calls for President Trump to use the law to resolve severe equipment shortages. – Wall Street Journal

The following is the March 22, 2020 Congressional Research Service report, Navy DDG-51 and DDG-1000 Destroyer Programs: Background and Issues for Congress. – USNI News 

Next month, the Air Force is expected to get a new training system for its airborne ICBM command post after the older system was damaged in devastating floods in 2019. – Defense News 

The Navy is trusting lower-level unit commanders to develop plans that both balance mission readiness with reducing the risk of exposing personnel to COVID-19 . – USNI News 

Aircraft parts maker Spirit AeroSystems announced Tuesday that it is temporarily halting work for Boeing that is performed in Wichita, Kansas, and two Oklahoma facilities amid an outbreak of the new coronavirus. – Defense News 

The second GPS III satellite, a new, more powerful navigation satellite, is officially healthy and available for use by the military, the Space Force announced March 24. – C4ISRNET 

The Navy and the Pentagon are trying to help the defense industrial base stay viable and productive during the coronavirus outbreak while also ensuring workers are kept safe and healthy. – USNI News 

Amazon Web Services opposes the Defense Department’s decision to reconsider certain aspects of the government’s controversial enterprise cloud award to Microsoft, arguing that the proposed action by the department isn’t “fair and rational” and will “preserve” Microsoft’s win, according to a March 24 court filing. – Federal Times 

Designing a drone body is about settling on the right compromise. Multirotor drones excel at vertical lift and hover, while fixed wing drones are great at both distance and wide-open spaces. – C4ISRNET 

A legislative package introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers Monday would extend education benefits for student veterans and dependents by the length of time their school is closed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. – Military.com