Fdd's overnight brief

March 6, 2024

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News

Israel

U.S. and Arab negotiators proposed a short pause in fighting in the Gaza Strip to buy time for a longer cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, as talks appeared stuck with time running out for a deal before a Ramadan deadline. – Wall Street Journal 

Fearing a breakdown in ties between the White House and Israel over the war in Gaza, Benny Gantz, chief political rival to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a minister in his wartime cabinet, planned a trip to Washington. – Wall Street Journal

Three days of negotiations with Hamas over a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of Israeli hostages failed to achieve a breakthrough Tuesday, Egyptian officials said, less than a week before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the informal deadline for a deal. – Associated Press

Over the last five months, Israel has killed thousands of Hamas fighters, destroyed dozens of their tunnels and wreaked unprecedented destruction on the Gaza Strip. – Associated Press

Israel ramped up its criticism of the embattled U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees Monday, saying 450 of its employees were members of militant groups in the Gaza Strip, though it provided no evidence to back up its accusation. – Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian and human rights advocates in Canada on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the federal government to stop it from allowing companies to export military goods and technology to Israel. – Reuters

The Palestinian militant group Hamas said on Wednesday it would continue working towards achieving a ceasefire in Gaza with Israel despite the absence of Israeli negotiators from the latest round of talks in Cairo. – Reuters

Crowds of men ran through rubble-strewn Gaza City streets past fires and bullet-riddled cars in hope of reaching a rare aid convoy, risking their lives to get food for starving families as famine looms five months into Israel’s military campaign. – Reuters

An exchange of Palestinian prisoners and Israeli hostages in Gaza can only happen after a ceasefire, senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said on Tuesday, as ceasefire talks in Cairo between Hamas, Egypt and Qatar continued with no sign of a breakthrough – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz at their meeting on Tuesday in a “quite frank” way that Israel needs to act urgently to allow more aid into Gaza, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said. – Reuters

Israel will allow a similar number of worshippers into Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the first week of Ramadan as in previous years, a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on Tuesday, without specifying a number. – Reuters

The United Nations’ food agency said it was “largely unsuccessful” in its attempt on Tuesday to resume deliveries to northern Gaza which is nearing famine. – Reuters

The Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip has displaced most of the enclave’s 2.3 million people and caused a grave humanitarian crisis including acute shortages of food, water and medicine. – Reuters

The United States on Tuesday revised language in a draft United Nations Security Council resolution to back “an immediate ceasefire of roughly six-weeks in Gaza together with the release of all hostages,”. – Reuters

Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Hamas leaders to agree to a cease-fire deal that would free hostages and halt the war in Gaza, even as he called on Israel to let in more humanitarian aid for increasingly desperate Palestinians. – Bloomberg

The U.S. is looking into setting up a maritime corridor to get aid into Gaza via sea amid a deepening humanitarian crisis, the Pentagon’s top spokesperson said Tuesday. – The Hill

The Biden administration is working on a plan to move large amounts of aid into Gaza by sea, possibly via military warships. – Politico

A new poll released Tuesday shows that a sizable majority of voters who backed President Joe Biden in 2020 oppose weapons shipments to Israel, the latest sign that Israel’s offensive in Gaza remains a political liability for the president’s reelection campaign. – Politico

The Iron Swords War, ignited by Hamas’s brutal massacre on October 7, has claimed the lives of 1,468 people in Israel to date, the majority on the day it erupted. These war figures underscore the profound impact on Israel in the 150 days since its onset. – Ynet

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant recently sent an internal document to the heads of the defense establishment, explicitly warning of a potential increase in security tensions throughout the West Bank during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins next week. – Ynet

Israel, under the guidance of Foreign Minister Israel Katz, is appealing to eight member states of the United Nations Security Council, asking them to demand an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council following report on Hamas sexual violence during the massacre on October 7, Ynet has learned. – Ynet

Hamas officials said on Tuesday that they will remain in Cairo for more talks with Egyptian and Qatari mediators over the prospects of reaching a ceasefire deal for the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for a cease-fire. – Ynet

Yahya Sinwar, Hamas chief in Gaza, has been the object of criticism within the Hamas leadership for launching the October 7 attack without prior consultation with other Hamas leaders, according to a Sky News Arabia report on Tuesday. – Jerusalem Post

Amid a variety of rocky disagreements between the US and Israel, the US State Department on Tuesday formally sanctioned an ex-Israeli intelligence officer and current CEO of cyber spyware firm Intellexa and related entities. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF destroyed on Tuesday the largest terror tunnel that was uncovered in northern Gaza since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, the military announced on that morning. – Jerusalem Post

Hamas publicly insisted Tuesday that a permanent ceasefire must be in place before any deal is implemented for the release of the remaining 134 hostages held in Gaza, in a statement that seemed to run counter to optimism from Washington that an agreement was possible before the start of the holy month of Ramadan. –  Jerusalem Post

In a joint operation by the Shin Bet, the IDF, and the police, last month a terrorist cell from the Hebron area, which planned to carry out bomb attacks against the IDF forces, was foiled. This was allowed to be published today (Monday). , Hussain, Muhammad and Ahmed. – Ynet

Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. “Security and peace will be achieved with the end of the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine and its capital, East Jerusalem, which will live with all the peoples of the region in security, peace and good neighborliness. We will continue to unite our people and our country and will continue to work to unify our ranks in accordance with the political plans and international commitments of the PLO, the only legitimate representative of our Palestinian people,” stated Abbas. – Arutz Sheva

Tom Rogan writes: The importance of the intersection of Mossad’s operational culture and Israel’s post-Oct. 7 diminished sense of security cannot be understated. U.S. and British intelligence officers view their Mossad counterparts as particularly single-minded, placing far less emphasis on allied cooperation for allied cooperation’s sake. Instead, Mossad is perceived as being willing to do whatever it believes it should do at any one moment to advance Israeli interests. Even where that activity is detrimental to the interests of its allies. This will be particularly relevant in terms of Mossad’s response to the Oct. 7 attacks. – Washington Examiner

Herb Keinon writes: On November 16, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi – whose anti-Israel rhetoric since October 7 has been strident – took to Al Jazeera to say the planned signing a month later of a three-way Jordan-Israel-UAE water-for-energy deal would not take place. –  Jerusalem Post

Ron Ben-Yishai writes: The raid took place Sunday overnight, and battles still raged across the neighborhood and its surroundings throughout Tuesday to achieve complete operational control. Lieutenant Colonel Netanel (Nati) Biton commands the 401st Brigade’s 9th Battalion, one of the combat teams operating under the ambit of the Givati Brigade.The combat team framework has long supplanted the traditional battle formations we’ve known. No longer are we dealing solely with tank battalions and infantry battalions, but rather a blend of tank platoons, Givati infantry fighters, engineering personnel and medical and rescue units. – Ynet

Iran

The U.K. believes Iran has supplied Russia with ballistic missiles, Defense Secretary Grant Shapps indicated. – Politico

Iran executed at least 834 people last year, a new record for the regime since 2015 as capital punishment is surging in the country, two rights groups said Tuesday. – Iran International

US forces shot down an anti-ship ballistic missile and three unmanned aerial systems launched from Iranian-backed Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the USS Carney in the Red Sea. – Iran International

Thomas L. Friedman writes: The best case for U.S. forces remaining in eastern Syria, Iraq and the Red Sea is precisely so that the disorder “over there” — from the likes of ISIS, failed states like Syria and the eating away of nation-states by Iranian proxy militias — doesn’t come “over here.” It is not a pretty or heroic mission — living in body armor all day in a harsh and hostile environment, with all the corn dogs you can eat as one of the few pleasures — but it’s probably worth it. That said, we should have no illusions about the risks because the shadow war playing out there could come screaming out of the shadows at any moment. – New York Times

Ilan I. Berman writes: Iranians themselves appear to have noticed. Over the past three years, VOA Farsi accounts across social media platforms such as Twitter/X, Facebook, and Telegram have cumulatively added nearly 2.5 million new followers, and charted major increases in content views and “interactions”—both key metrics of increased audience engagement. (Notably, VOA Farsi still trails its private sector competitors in terms of popularity.)Yet these improvements in content and market share haven’t resulted in greater governmental attention or funding, at least not yet. Rather, according to current and former VOA Farsi employees, the U.S. government has adopted a “minimalist” approach to broadcasting toward Iran, one in which the service is forced to scrounge for scant resources. – Newsweek

Russia & Ukraine

The Justice Department indicted a civilian employee of the U.S. Air Force — a retired Army lieutenant colonel — on charges of sharing classified information about Russia’s war in Ukraine on a foreign dating website. – Washington Post 

The International Criminal Court on Tuesday issued arrest warrants for two top Russian military officers, accusing them of war crimes in Ukraine for targeting civilians and destroying crucial energy infrastructure. – New York Times

As part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ever-increasing clampdown on dissent, authorities in recent years have adopted a slew of laws restricting fundamental human rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, as well as the rights of minorities and religious groups. – Associated Press

When charismatic opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin in February 2015, more than 50,000 Muscovites expressed their shock and outrage the next day at the brazen assassination. Police stood aside as they rallied and chanted anti-government slogans. – Associated Press

Russia’s spymaster said Tuesday that opposition leader Alexei Navalny died of natural causes, a statement that appeared to reflect the Kremlin’s efforts to assuage international outrage over the death of President Vladimir Putin’s fiercest foe. – Associated Press

Hundreds of Czechs and a handful of Ukrainians are working round the clock in eastern Czech Republic to transform a collection of buildings dating back to World War Two into a hub for supplying arms and ammunition to Ukraine. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign intelligence chief has said French President Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to rule out sending European troops to fight Russian soldiers in Ukraine was extremely dangerous and irresponsible. – Reuters

A high-level military call on Ukraine intercepted by Russia made clear that no political decision on sending Taurus cruise missiles to Kyiv has been made, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday on a trip to Sweden. – Reuters

As Ukrainian ground forces are facing challenging times, Ukraine’s drone war against Russian ships in the Black Sea continues to rack up victories. A video posted by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry shows a drone’s-eye view of the attack on the Russian patrol ship Sergey Kotov, which apparently sank after being hit with multiple Magura V5 “uncrewed vessels.” – Reuters

Russia does not recognise arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for two Russian commanders suspected of war crimes in Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Max Bergmann, Michael Kimmage, Jeffrey Mankoff, and Maria Snegovaya write: In the twenty-first century, the United States will not be able to orient its foreign and security policy solely around the struggle with Moscow. Any strategy for containing Russia must account for resource commitments to the Indo-Pacific and for the impact of U.S. policy on the Chinese-Russian relationship. That complicated reality requires U.S. allies, especially in Europe, to take on a larger share of directing the containment of Russia. – Foreign Affairs

Hezbollah

Indirect talks to end hostilities along the Lebanese-Israeli border will begin during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which starts next week, Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The Lebanese Hezbollah terror group fired a large barrage of rockets at the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona on Tuesday evening, in what it said was a response to a deadly Israel Defense Forces airstrike in southern Lebanon earlier in the day. – Times of Israel

Kan reports that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has recently begun speaking of smartphones as an enemy in Lebanon. – Arutz Sheva

Yemen

A U.S. destroyer shot down drones and a missile launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels toward it in the Red Sea, officials said early Wednesday, as the Indian navy released images of it fighting a fire aboard a container ship earlier targeted by the Houthis. – Associated Press

Italian lawmakers on Tuesday approved the country’s participation in an EU naval mission to protect cargo ship in the Red Sea from attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen threatening maritime traffic. – Associated Press

Houthi militants in Yemen have stepped up attacks on vessels in the Red Sea region, impacting a shipping route vital to east-west trade. – Reuters

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said on Wednesday it had received a report of a merchant vessel being hailed over the radio by an entity declaring itself to be the Yemeni navy and ordering it to alter course. – Reuters

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis carried out a military operation in which they targeted two U.S. warship destroyers in the Red Sea, the group’s military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, said in a televised speech on Tuesday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Federal prosecutors charged Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife with extortion and obstruction of justice Tuesday, adding counts to a case alleging that the lawmaker had acted as an illegal foreign agent on behalf of Egypt. – Washington Post 

A German charity vessel was on Tuesday impounded by Italian authorities after it ran into a dispute with the Libyan coast guard over the rescue of as many as 100 migrants in international waters. – Reuters

The Starbucks operator in the Middle East and North Africa has cut thousands of jobs as it faces tough economic conditions and calls to boycott the US coffee chain over its response to the Israel-Hamas war. – Bloomberg

Spain’s Indra and state-owned Emirati defense-technology company Edge Group agreed to form an Abu Dhabi-based joint venture that will develop and manufacture next-generation radar systems, the latest in a spate of cross-border defense deals for both companies. – Defense News

Turkey’s navy has unveiled changes to its planned air defense vessel and shared details on the ship’s armaments. – Defense News

Qatari private-owned firm Performance Marine has teamed up with L3Harris to develop unmanned surface vessel Suhail, which made its debut at Dimdex 2024. – Breaking Defense

Gregg Carlstrom writes: The region finds itself in an interregnum. Forget talk of unipolarity or multipolarity: the Middle East is nonpolar. No one is in charge. The United States is an uninterested, ineffective hegemon, and its great-power rivals even more so. Fragile Gulf states cannot fill the void; Israel cannot, either; and Iran can only play spoiler and troublemaker. Everyone else is a spectator beset by economic problems and crises of legitimacy. That was the reality even before October 7. The war has merely swept away illusions. – Foreign Affairs

Korean Peninsula

South Korean police began questioning key figures in a walkout by thousands of doctors who oppose a plan to increase medical school enrollments, as the government prepares to punish those who defy orders to return to work. – Bloomberg

Since September 2023, when North Korea’s leader met with the president of Russia, millions of rounds of ammunition have flowed from Pyongyang to support the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, with Russia supplying desperately needed cash and food in return. – Breaking Defense

Tim Culpan writes: South Korea’s location — placing it under pressure from both North Korea and China — has driven it to assume a more powerful defense posture. Previously focused on cars and chips, the nation has also harnessed its manufacturing prowess to become the world’s ninth-largest weapons supplier. Seoul should press its case for becoming an even larger part of the international arms market, while ensuring it doesn’t lose sight of its own tech expertise. – Bloomberg

China

From a computer in Europe, a Chinese X user has in recent years acted as an online hub for news censored in China, with more than one million accounts following his tweets. Now, he is encouraging his China-based followers to drop him, after many of them told him they have been subjected to police questioning. – Wall Street Journal

On Monday, China announced that the premier’s news conference, marking the end of the country’s annual rubber-stamp legislature, will no longer be held. With that move, an important institution of China’s reform era was no more. – New York Times

China’s Premier Li Qiang promoted an image of confidence as he announced modest economic growth goals for the world’s second largest economy, at one of the country’s most important political gatherings. – Associated Press

President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for local governments to develop “new productive forces” according to their conditions and avoid creating a bubble in particular industries, offering fresh comments on the Chinese leadership’s latest new economic policymaking term. – Bloomberg

Asia

Congressional leaders have invited the prime minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida, to address a joint meeting of Congress on April 11, saying the relationship between the U.S. and Japan has proven to be a force for good and a catalyst for prosperity. – Associated Press

The Chinese coast guard ships and accompanying vessels blocked the Philippine coast guard and supply vessels off the disputed Second Thomas Shoal and executed dangerous maneuvers that caused two minor collisions between the Chinese ships and two of the Philippine vessels, Philippine officials said. – Associated Press

Six Chinese fishing boats were found to be violating Vanuatu’s fisheries law after being inspected by local police who were on board the first U.S. Coast Guard boat to patrol the waters of the Pacific Islands nation, Vanuatu police and officials said. – Reuters

Australia is very concerned about unsafe and destabilising behaviour in the South China Sea, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday, a day after clashes between Chinese and Philippine vessels in disputed waters. – Reuters

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council on Tuesday urged China to accept the fact that the two sides are not subordinate to each other, after Beijing hardened its stance on the island in a government work report. – Reuters

The Philippines and US plan to hold their flagship military drills next month in locations near Taiwan and the South China Sea as tensions escalate in the disputed waters. – Bloomberg

The latest skirmish over internet freedoms in Pakistan began over the weekend and flamed out by Monday, but it exposed the country’s deep tensions over what people can see online. – The Record

Leaders of Australia and Laos signed an agreement that deepens bilateral ties on Wednesday on the final day of a Southeast Asian summit.- Associated Press

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday that maritime security, trade and clean energy will shape the country’s future with the ASEAN bloc as Beijing looks to increase its presence in the contested South China Sea. – Reuters

Alex Travelli and Maahil Mohamed write: The Maldives’ location makes it a strategic priority for both of Asia’s superpowers. China needs a military presence on the Arabian Sea to safeguard its access to oil from the Persian Gulf. And India, which has been clashing with China along their Himalayan border, wants to make sure that the Maldives, its island neighbor, doesn’t become too cozy with Beijing. In January, India found itself in a sudden blowup with the Maldives over a perceived threat to the islands’ tourism lifeblood. But the great-power competition across the Maldives’ sky-blue lagoons has yet to reach a boil. – New York Times

Charles Edel and Kathryn Paik write: The lack of action on COFA has already harmed U.S. credibility in the Pacific. This comes as the United States strives to demonstrate its commitment to the region after decades of relative neglect. Recent U.S. reengagement with the Pacific region has been aimed not just at creating new initiatives and assistance but also institutionalizing U.S. presence and commitment in ways that speak to continuity. Yet the inability to fund COFA—arguably the United States’ most foundational and long-lasting commitment in the region—sends a clear signal to all 14 Pacific countries that the United States is unwilling, and perhaps not even able, to deliver on this rhetoric. – Centre for Strategic and International Studies

Europe

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius confirmed Tuesday that the leak by Russian state media of a phone call among senior German military officials was caused by “individual error.” – Washington Post

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, proposed spending 1.5 billion euros ($1.63 billion) to give countries incentives to buy jointly from European firms and encourage industry to raise capacity and develop new technologies. – Reuters

In the snows of Finland, Swedish and Finnish soldiers take part in NATO’s biggest exercise since the end of the Cold War, intended to test the military alliance’s ability to reinforce places such as the Nordic far north. – Reuters

Hundreds of Czechs and a handful of Ukrainians are working round the clock in eastern Czech Republic to transform a collection of buildings dating back to World War Two into a hub for supplying arms and ammunition to Ukraine. – Reuters

Hungary’s President Tamas Sulyok has signed the bill that approved Sweden’s accession to the NATO military alliance, the president’s office said on Tuesday, clearing the way for Sweden to become the 32nd member of the alliance in the coming days. – Reuters

Moldova’s spy chief said on Tuesday that Russia was planning fresh attempts to meddle in the country’s internal affairs by provoking protests, interfering in upcoming presidential elections, and disrupting plans to join the European Union. – Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron told expats in Prague on Tuesday it was time for Ukraine’s allies to step up, adding that a moment was being approached “in our Europe where it will be appropriate not to be a coward.” – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government has threatened to expel all European Union ambassadors in the latest diplomatic aftershock from dissident Alexei Navalny’s death in an Arctic prison. – Washington Examiner

Germans famously don’t like charismatic leaders because they tried that once and look what happened. Olaf Scholz’s hesitancy at the chancellery is taking that stereotype to new depths. – Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron threw his support behind a Czech plan to deliver hundreds of thousands of artillery shells to Ukraine from countries outside the European Union to help it force back Russian advances. – Bloomberg

The combined forces of El Niño and La Niña have crippled Latin American soy output. Ukrainian and Russian grain farmers have gone to war. Indonesia has banned shipments of palm oil to Europe, while China is hungry for crops. The Mediterranean region is getting more like a desert. – Bloomberg

Russia plans to unleash a hybrid attack against Moldova in a bid to undermine the former Soviet republic’s plan to join the European Union and maintain Kremlin influence, Moldova’s intelligence chief said. – Bloomberg

The European Union’s executive branch has proposed a €1.5 billion (U.S. $1.6 billion) plan to boost defense production by promoting joint military purchases among the member states. – Defense News

The European Commission (EC) has promised to make the continent’s industrial base more competitive, “tap its full potential” and deliver a level of manufacturing readiness capable of withstanding Russian aggression. – Breaking Defense

Joseph Bosco writes: The solution to the malaise over Ukraine, however, is not to curtail Western aid and weaken Ukraine’s will and ability to resist Russia’s aggression, but to finally provide all it needs to win. China, and Iran and North Korea are all making their own plans based on the success or failure of Ukraine and the West. – The Hill

Africa

When Lt. Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudan’s military ruler, found himself besieged by rebel forces in the country’s capital last summer, he called an unlikely ally for help: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. – Wall Street Journal

Sudan’s war has put food security at risk for 25 million people across Sudan, South Sudan, and Chad, making it the biggest hunger crisis worldwide, World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain said, calling for unimpeded access and more funding to help communities. – Bloomberg

Burkina Faso, which has been ruled by a military junta led by Captain Ibrahim Traore for the past 18 months, accounted for almost a quarter of people killed in terrorist attacks globally last year. – Bloomberg

Shuli Ren writes: The annual legislative meeting has always been a tightly controlled and staged event. But as the government’s economic targets become ever more detached from reality, and the few chances that the public get to interact directly with top politicians are scrapped, it is now clearer than ever that the Communist Party is walking further away from its own people. – Bloomberg

The Americas

Venezuela will hold presidential elections July 28, authorities said Tuesday, setting the stage for an election in which authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro is likely to run without any credible challenger and raising the possibility that the Biden administration would reimpose sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry. – Wall Street Journal

Haiti’s prime minister landed in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, clearing uncertainty around his whereabouts since a trip to Kenya, but questions on how and when he will return to Haiti still linger as gangs back home push for his ouster. – Reuters

Chile said Tuesday it will exclude Israeli firms from Latin America’s biggest aerospace fair, to be held in Santiago in April. – Times of Israel

The Lawfare Project (LP) yesterday (Tuesday) announced that it is launching an investigation into what it called “the Canadian Federal Government’s irresponsible funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)”. This comes in response to revelations that personnel at UNRWA were directly and indirectly involved in recruiting, training, funding, and supporting terrorism – including participating in the October 7th butchering of Jews and the kidnapping and hiding of hostages. – Arutz Sheva

Cybersecurity

While some American officials continue to attack strong encryption as an enabler of child abuse and other crimes, a key European court has upheld it as fundamental to the basic right to privacy. – Washington Post

A top Hong Kong official said the territory’s government has no plans to prohibit any social media platforms after recent public consultations on proposed domestic security legislation included suggestions that some popular messaging apps be prohibited. – Bloomberg

The U.S. government deployed sanctions against Greece-based spyware vendor Intellexa on Tuesday and the company’s leadership after targeting U.S. officials. – Politico

Cybersecurity professionals can expect fresh reading materials in the coming months from the Office of the National Cyber Director, which aims to issue an update to the national cybersecurity strategy implementation plan before the summer is over, a White House cyber official said Tuesday. – CyberScoop

Vivek Chilukuri writes: In many ways, cybersecurity is the perfect test for every nation committed to an open, prosperous and integrated Indo-Pacific region in the 21st century. Rapidly emerging cyber threats will test each government’s speed, agility and commitment to greater collaboration and information-sharing and will overwhelm nations that cling to outdated approaches or that fail to grasp the cyber domain’s growing importance in geopolitics. New threats demand new thinking, and a recognition that no nation can achieve cybersecurity alone in our networked, digital age. – Nikkei Asia

Defense

Walker Mills and Trevor Phillips Levine write: The ongoing war in Ukraine showcases small drones as key tools for ground combat in the modern era. The technology behind them will continue to improve, as machine guns did, by becoming more reliable, portable, and tactically useful. Ukraine and Russia are desperate for better and more drones to equip their forces. This year, the Ukrainian government aims to produce one million small drones for military use, and its partners are focusing on supplying thousands more. As much as 50 percent of Russia’s modern T-90 tank combat lossesare attributed to small first-person-view drones. Over 3,000 verified drone strikes occurred along the front line in January 2024. – War on the Rocks

Brent D. Sadler writes: One simple step can “revolutionize surface warfare,” as U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro put it at the latest naval conference WEST in San Diego: rearming our warships at sea. Today the only way to reload vertical launching system cells — the mainstay of the Navy’s front-line warship — is to pull into port, often taking warships out of action for weeks at a time. – Defense News

Scott C. Algeier: It may not be realistic to begin the immediate rolling back of regulations and mandates. However, it is essential that the government collectively pause on issuing new cybersecurity regulations and mandates to focus on the much-needed regulatory harmonization. – C4ISRNET 

Robert Hale and Ellen Lord write: Now more than ever, our Department of Defense needs a new Defense Resourcing System that provides the processes, authority, and tools to enable our men and women in uniform to meet the threats of today and far into the future. – Defense News