Fdd's overnight brief

October 16, 2020

In The News


Pro-Iran factions in Iraq will cease targeting US troops, but their proposed truce is only temporary and depends on Washington completing a full military withdrawal by year end, a key lawmaker told AFP. – Agence France-Presse

The founder and CEO of an Iranian financial-services firm has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for running a business that helped people in Iran evade U.S. sanctions, the Justice Department said. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

A new bill designed to prevent money laundering by Hezbollah has been introduced in the US House of Representatives by a group of Republican congressmen. – Jerusalem Post

Just weeks after Iranian judicial authorities upheld the sentences of four young men to have four fingers amputated after being convicted of theft, there are new chilling reports that an additional two men have also been slapped with the same draconian punishment. – Fox News 

Iran’s financial status will face a challenging stretch leading up to the U.S. elections on November 3, says the Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Abdol Nasser Hemmati. – Radio Farda 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clapped back at Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday after the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader asserted it could not be kept from obtaining nuclear weapons. – Algemeiner

Iran said new U.S. sanctions targeting its banking system prevented the import of 2 million influenza vaccines, after government warnings that the penalties would hit trade in humanitarian goods. – Bloomberg 


Kurdish-led authorities released on Thursday hundreds of militants from the Islamic State group imprisoned in northern Syria, as part of a general amnesty in the region controlled by the U.S.-backed fighters. – Associated Press 

The U.S. military carried out a drone strike Thursday, killing two senior Al Qaeda operatives in northwest Syria. – Fox News


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said Turkey’s involvement in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has increased the risk in the region, reiterating his call for the issue to be resolved through diplomacy. – Reuters

France and Germany accused Turkey on Thursday of continuing to provoke the European Union with its actions in the eastern Mediterranean, and urged it to clarify its positions in the coming weeks. – Reuters

Greece accused Turkey on Thursday of deliberately holding up a government aircraft carrying its foreign minister home from Iraq, leaving it circling for 20 minutes before granting it permission to cross Turkish airspace. – Reuters

Turkey has issued notices restricting air space and waters off its Black Sea coast to allow firing tests apparently on Friday involving its Russian-made S-400 missile defence units, a week after they were transported to the area. – Reuters

Greece and Cyprus pushed for a tougher European Union response to Turkey’s natural gas exploration in contested Mediterranean waters at an EU summit on Friday, after Ankara restarted operations of a survey ship. – Reuters

Editorial: What’s disturbing about this case is not only the continued persecution of a prominent Turkish intellectual, along with a distinguished American academic, but also the deployment of a rationale that even Mr. Putin — who recently accused a leading opponent of poisoning himself — might find kooky. Mr. Erdogan is demonstrating that he can imprison anyone for any reason — including self-evident nonsense. – Washington Post 

Josh Rogin writes: They show how the Turkish investigation was botched from the beginning, leaving huge unanswered questions. Evidence suggests the murders were committed by professionals who covered their tracks, rather than a family member acting impulsively. […]Key witnesses were never interviewed. The financial motive was undermined by the fact that valuables were left behind. Ahmed Barakat later recanted his confession. – Washington Post


Israel has declined to renew the visas of most of the international workers of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the months after its publication of a blacklist of companies doing business in Judea and Samaria. – Jerusalem Post 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for peace with Lebanon when the Knesset Thursday overwhelmingly approved the historic normalization deal with the United Arab Emirates initially signed in Washington last month. – Jerusalem Post 

In his September 19, 2020 column in the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam, journalist ‘Abd Al-Nasser Al-Najjar complained about the cavalier attitude towards Covid-19 in the Palestinian territories, both on the part of the public, which he said is ignoring the authorities’ Covid-19 orders, and on the part of the authorities, which are not enforcing these orders strictly enough or punishing offenders. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Tovah Lazaroff writes: Netanyahu has spoken of the UAE deal as “peace for peace.” But it could also be viewed as trade, in which he has exchanged a map of annexation for a regional map against Iran. Talks of peace deals with the Gulf states have sounded dreamy, like doves fluttering in the breeze alive with economic and other possibilities. But behind the sweet sounding wings, is newly delineated map that strengthens Israel’s reach toward Iran, precisely as the danger is about to increase. – Jerusalem Post 

Michael Rubin writes: Israel certainly remains an important U.S. ally, and close ties between Washington and Jerusalem benefit both sides tremendously. The United States should never turn a blind eye to Israel’s repeated efforts to reach out and trade weaponry and technology to America’s adversaries, however. […]If Israel continues down the path of being a strategic liability to the United States, it should be treated as such. – The National Interest

Arabian Peninsula

Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels began Thursday an exchange of more than 1,000 prisoners, the largest such swap since the war began in 2014 as part of efforts to revive United Nations-brokered peace talks. – Wall Street Journal 

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister signaled progress may be underway toward resolving the three-year-old rift with its neighbor Qatar, following a meeting in Washington with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. – Bloomberg 

A funding shortage has cut off aid to 4 million Yemenis and experts are increasingly worried that “the window to prevent famine” in the war-torn country is closing quickly, the U.N. humanitarian chief said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Gulf States

The main focus of Middle East peace efforts should be to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the negotiating table, the Saudi foreign minister said on Thursday in a comment suggesting that Israeli-Saudi normalization is unlikely any time soon. – Reuters

The Abraham Accords, bringing normalization between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, are a victory for defeating extremism in the Middle East, a counterterror adviser to the UAE government has told The Jerusalem Post. – Jerusalem Post

Geneive Abdo and Theodosia Rossi write: Since the deals were announced in mid-September, Bahrain’s Shiite opposition has harshly criticized them. Dissenters have tweeted out a series of statements protesting the normalization decision, with the blunt hashtag “Normalization is betrayal.” Among the most prominent of these critics is the exiled Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who issued a statement through the account of a moderate opposition group, al-Wefaq, which is banned by the government. – Foreign Policy 


Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio accused Khalifa Haftar’s administration in eastern Libya of “unacceptable” behaviour on Thursday for detaining 18 sailors who were seized while fishing in the southern Mediterranean. – Reuters

Libyan security forces said they have arrested one of the country’s most wanted human traffickers in the capital, Tripoli, more than two years after the United Nations’ Security Council imposed sanctions against him. – Associated Press 

Libya’s daily oil production has risen to around 500,000 barrels, according to people familiar with the situation, as the war-battered nation restarts its energy industry after a truce. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has stoked intense nationalistic fervor in both Ethiopia and Egypt. Ethiopians see building the dam as a fundamental right, one that could bring electricity to the more than half of Ethiopians who don’t have access at home. Egyptians see their fate potentially falling into foreign hands. – Washington Post 

Even under Obama, the U.S. was seeking to extract itself from the region’s conflicts, leaving  a vacuum which other powers — particularly Turkey and Russia — rushed to fill in Syria, Libya Armenia and the eastern Mediterranean. There’ll be a change in tone if Biden wins the Nov. 3 election but, with so much economic and political upheaval to deal with at home, there’s scant indication he plans an about-face. – Bloomberg 

Covid infections are rising again in parts of the Middle East, posing a new threat to the region’s economies already battered by the collapse in oil prices. Cases have been rising in Iran, which is battling the Middle East’s worst outbreak, with more than half a million people infected so far. – Bloomberg 

Dr. Imad Eddine Hamrouni, a Paris-based Tunisian expert on geopolitics, said in a September 20, 2020 interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran) that Zionism and Freemasonry control the West, its economy, its ideology, and its regimes. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

In his July 11, 2020 column in the Jordanian Al-Dustour daily, ‘Abd Al-Hamid Al-Hamshari, who is a member of Jordanian human rights organizations, wrote that “Jewish families” took over the global economy in order to subordinate the countries of the world to the agenda of the Zionist movement, and that the Rothschild family even ordered the assassinations of American presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy because they threatened its economic interests. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Korean Peninsula

The U.S. military will put nearly 9,000 South Korean workers on unpaid leave from April in the absence of an agreement on the sharing of costs of maintaining 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, it has told the government. – Reuters

The Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF) has received the fourth and final Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Block 30 Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) it ordered from the United States in 2014. – Jane’s 360 

Wallace C. Gregson writes: North Korea and its weapons are not the most important thing. The safety and security of our allies and friends, our conventional and extended deterrence, and revitalizing our relations with countries around the world are the most important. – The National Interest


China is set to pass a new law that would restrict sensitive exports vital to national security, expanding its toolkit of policy options as competition grows with the U.S. over access to technologies that will drive the modern economy. – Bloomberg 

The European Union will impose duties of up to 48% on imports of aluminium extrusions from China midway through an investigation into whether Chinese producers are selling at unfairly low prices. – Reuters

China on Thursday denied it had taken two Canadian men hostage, and repeated a call for the release of a Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive held in Canada who faces extradition to the United States amid a long-running diplomatic dispute. – Reuters

China has ordered cotton mills to stop buying Australian supplies, an Australian government source and two China-based cotton traders briefed on the matter said on Friday, the latest sign of worsening trade ties. – Reuters

A top Chinese diplomat warned Canada Thursday against granting asylum to Hong Kong democracy protesters, adding that doing so could jeopardize the “health and safety” of Canadians living in the southern Chinese financial hub. – Agence France-Presse

Tom Rogan writes: The challenge for China is that while its economic power to give and take is great, so also is the resolve of democratic peoples to see their futures shaped by democratic choices rather than by feudal servitude to Beijing. Whether Britain, Australia, or the nations of the Mekong River, Xi Jinping claims to offer only a world of mutually beneficial trade and cooperation. Fortunately, the world sees through the lies. – Washington Examiner

Benjamin Hall writes: China has been quietly pursuing its strategic plan for decades, largely unchecked, and it appears the West is waking up. President Trump has made it clear that he recognizes the threat posed by China – and has taken key steps to counter intellectual property theft and trade deficits. – Fox News


The U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan said on Thursday he had struck an agreement with the insurgent Taliban to “re-set” their commitments under a troop withdrawal deal and reduce the number of casualties in the country, which has seen heavy fighting in southern Helmand province. – Reuters

The Taliban have promised US forces to reduce casualties in Afghanistan after a wave of violence raised questions about peace talks, a US envoy said Thursday. – Agence France-Presse

Concerns are rising for the fate of tens of thousands of civilians caught up in battles between the Afghan government forces and the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

South Asia

Militants attacked a convoy of Pakistan’s biggest oil and gas exploration company in restive Baluchistan Province on Thursday, killing at least 14 people, officials said. – New York Times

India on Thursday rejected criticism from China of its infrastructure building in border areas which Beijing has described as a root cause of surging tensions between the two countries. – Associated Press 

Pakistan summoned a senior Indian diplomat to its Foreign Ministry on Thursday to complain about what Islamabad says was “indiscriminate and unprovoked firing” by India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. – Associated Press 


Protesters gathered in the tens of thousands on Thursday to defy an emergency decree issued to put an end to months of anti-government demonstrations in Thailand — pushing the kingdom into a dangerous chapter in its history of volatile politics as young demonstrators brought their fight directly to the monarchy. – Washington Post 

After more than a week in hiding following a disputed election, the president of Kyrgyzstan — Central Asia’s only democracy — on Thursday announced his plans to resign, saying he did not want to go down in history as a leader “who shed blood and shot at his own citizens.” – New York Times

The Philippine president has approved the lifting of a ban on oil and gas exploration in or near disputed areas of the South China Sea that was imposed six years ago because of escalating territorial tensions with China, an official said Thursday. – Associated Press 

Japan’s new leader will aim to beef up security ties when he visits Vietnam and Indonesia next week amid concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness, but he is likely to steer clear of the harsh anti-China rhetoric used by U.S. counterparts. – Reuters

Hong Kong air traffic controllers on Thursday warned off a Taiwanese civilian flight flying to Taiwan-controlled islands in the South China Sea, forcing it to turn back, the island’s government said. – Reuters

The Ronald Regan Carrier Strike Group is now operating in the South China Sea for the third time as part of its current underway period. Meanwhile, a destroyer made a transit of the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday. – USNI News 

Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is set to be questioned by police Friday over his claim that he has a list of lawmakers supporting his bid to oust the government. – Associated Press 

Adam Taylor writes: A lot has changed in 20 years: Taiwan has proved its democratic ethos, while U.S. concern about a Taiwan-China conflict has grown. Michèle Flournoy, speculated to be in the running for Biden’s defense secretary, has written of the need for new military capabilities to deter China from attacking Taiwan. But Biden has offered few hints of what his Taiwan policy would look like. – Washington Post

Peter Suciu writes: Earlier this week the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced that it had conducted a test of a new anti-tank missile system as part of a so-called “Taiwan Drill.” The exercise, which was conducted in an island-landing exercise from the Bohai Bay earlier this year, was only disclosed on Tuesday—and was possibly meant to serve as a message as much to Taiwan as to the United States. – The National Interest 

Charles Edel and Siddharth Mohandas write: A central factor contributing to the extraordinary rise of Asia in the post-World War II era has been the stability afforded by the U.S.-constructed and managed alliance system. That system is today under unprecedented strain. The next NDS must outline a priority effort to work with allies and partners to develop more potent and sustainable defense capabilities, seek a more geographically distributed, networked, and federated force posture, and marshal and organize the existing efforts of America’s allies and partners to meet the China challenge. – Center for a New American Security 

Tyler Roney writes: Aside from the nearly daily protests around the country from university students, high schoolers, and dedicated protesters, the protesters are attempting to resurrect the history of Thailand’s democratic legacy. The result has been a battle of wills between the protesters and the Thai authorities. – Foreign Policy

South Caucasus

The capital of Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh came under artillery fire on October 15 after a shaky pause in shelling brought on by a five-day-old cease-fire brokered by Russia, according to Yerevan and ethnic Armenian separatists in the province. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Despite continued reports of Syrian mercenaries fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh after weeks of fighting over the breakaway region, Baku and Ankara deny reports that Turkey has recruited militants from Syria to fight for Azerbaijan. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

A dozen clucking chickens dart around a small cylindrical object embedded deep in the dirt of their hillside coop, with the tell-tale fins of a cluster bomb emerging from the earth. Throughout Stepanakert, the capital of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in Azerbaijan, residents and activists are worried about the residual threat of unexploded cluster munitions near homes and along streets. – Agence France-Presse


Russia says it has decided to halt consultations with Australia and the Netherlands on the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight over eastern Ukraine more than six years ago, after the Dutch government took Russia to court in July for its alleged role in the tragedy. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

The European Union has denounced forced military conscription of residents in the Russian-occupied Crimea region and called on Moscow to “stop all violations of international law” in the peninsula. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Tom Rogan writes: Vladimir Putin is playing President Trump in ongoing United States-Russia nuclear arms talks. While Trump deserves credit for trying to reach a new arms control agreement, he must recognize the nature of the negotiating party he is dealing with.[…] If Trump is serious about getting the art of the deal here, he’s likely to be able to do so and win (or at least deserve) a Nobel Peace Prize. But he needs to recognize Putin’s agenda. The Russians are the masters of hardball and love to play those who throw softballs. – Washington Examiner


Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Friday give Britain’s response to the European Union’s demand that he either gives more concessions to secure a trade deal or braces for a disorderly Brexit in three months. – Reuters

Canada said on Thursday it had imposed sanctions on an additional 31 officials in Belarus, increasing international pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to find a negotiated solution to mass protests calling for him to cede power. – Reuters

Sweden will increase military spending by about 40% in the next five years and double the number of people conscripted into its armed forces as it aims to strengthen its defence amid growing tensions with Russia, the government has said. – The Guardian 

Iceland is to upgrade its chain of long-range air surveillance radars, with the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) announcing a multimillion dollar contract on 14 October. – Jane’s 360 

Lionel Laurent writes: If Brexit has taught the EU anything, it’s that it pays to stick together in an uncertain world. Donald Trump’s presidency and the assertiveness of China have pushed the Europeans to circle the wagons in defense of their greatest asset: A barrier-free single market promoted by Margaret Thatcher, expanded eastward under Tony Blair, and governed by financial and antitrust rules influenced by British civil servants. Johnson’s legacy, unwittingly, may be only to further strengthen a trading giant the British helped create. – Bloomberg 

Joseph de Weck writes: The suspense is high. But the wrangling over “deal” or “no deal” obscures the larger picture: Regardless of the negotiations’ outcome, the U.K. is already headed for a “hard Brexit,” meaning a sharp break in relations with the EU. No matter what, the British and European economies are in for a painful decoupling. – Foreign Policy


Nigeria’s army signaled it was prepared to intervene in a standoff between a burgeoning protest movement against police brutality and the government of Africa’s biggest oil-producing nation. Nationwide protests have rocked the country for eight consecutive days as thousands of mostly young Nigerians have marched in the West African nation’s largest cities. – Wall Street Journal 

Foreign lawyers of Paul Rusesabagina, depicted as a hero in a Hollywood movie about Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, say they have been stopped from seeing their client who is under detention in the central African country. – Reuters

Violating local laws and risking possible criminal prosecution, a handful of activists from Sudan participated Thursday in an online forum discussing with Israelis their country’s relations to the Jewish state. – Times of Israel 

Washington on Wednesday gave Sudanese leaders a 24-hour deadline to decide whether they agree to a deal that will see the country normalize relations with Israel in exchange for financial aid and removal from a US blacklist of state sponsors of terror, according to several reports in Arabic-language media Thursday. – Times of Israel

Katherine Zimmerman writes: Rather than bringing troops home from Somalia prematurely, President Trump should shift the US approach to one that can defeat al Shabaab. This shift should repurpose the light military footprint already present in the region to support a civilian-led strategy focused on filling Somalia’s governance deficit. Establishing effective governance in Somalia is key to the lasting defeat of al Shabaab by denying it the ability to strengthen again. This way, when US troops do leave Somalia, they do not have to return. – American Enterprise Institute

The Americas

Mexico’s former defense minister was arrested Thursday by U.S. authorities at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration, senior Mexican officials said, the latest in a string of former high-ranking officials linked to drug corruption. – Wall Street Journal 

After more than four decades selling tires for cars, trucks and buses across Argentina, Edgardo Guerrini’s company now sits idle because authorities are refusing to grant import permits for his products. […]Behind the dollar shortage is a growing crisis of confidence that now threatens to wipe out Argentina’s dwindling foreign reserves, testing the ability of a nationalist government to avoid another full-blown economic and financial crisis in Latin America’s third biggest economy. – Wall Street Journal 

Venezuelans face an increasingly dysfunctional economy in which fuel shortages make basic transportation impossible and basic goods and services are so expensive that most cannot afford them. Simple chores such as house cleaning and washing clothes have become a constant struggle due to the lack of electricity and running water. – Reuters 


The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to issue a subpoena on Tuesday to Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Jack Dorsey after the social-media company blocked a pair of New York Post articles that made new allegations about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, which his campaign has denied. – Wall Street Journal 

Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. took the unusual step of limiting the sharing of New York Post articles that made new allegations about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that the Biden campaign denied. – Wall Street Journal 

YouTube took action against the conspiracy group QAnon, banning videos that call for violence, following the lead of social-media companies that have cracked down on such content. – Wall Street Journal 

President Trump on Thursday released a national strategy to promote the future of critical and emerging technologies around the world, including artificial intelligence, military and space technologies, and quantum computing. – The Hill 

US Army information technology and artificial intelligence (AI) experts are working to address potential vulnerabilities in how the service develops and protects AI algorithms from potential infiltration, internal manipulation, and outright cyber attacks by adversaries. – Jane’s 360 

The U.S. Army is working to improve its network at a rapid pace, increasing bandwidth, lowering latency and making it more robust for the future fight. So why does it want to send less data over that network? – C4ISRNET 

Japan has told the United States that Tokyo will not, at the moment, join Washington’s plan to exclude Chinese firms from telecommunications networks, the Yomiuri newspaper said on Friday, citing several sources. – Reuters

The misinformation wars around the US election kicked into high gear this week with Facebook and Twitter taking aggressive action against President Donald Trump and his allies, thrusting the platforms into a new political quagmire. – Agence-France Presse

Tae Kim writes: It’s not going to get easier for Facebook or Twitter. They should expect more incidents as we approach the November election. But the two companies are showing they are willing to make tough, real-time decisions to protect our democracy and the electoral process. This is progress. – Bloomberg 

Brian Raymond writes: But while cyberspace may be a new front in the fight against disinformation, disinformation in and of itself—as well as the societal discord it can sow—has been a national security concern for decades; the Cold War was largely waged by propagating competing versions of the truth. And much as the threat of “fake news” is nothing new, so too is the way policymakers deal with it—or try to. – Foreign Policy


Members of the US Army’s Assured Position, Navigation, and Timing Cross Functional Team (APNT CFT) have begun conducting preliminary experiments exploring the use of commercial broadband networks to support satellite communications (satcoms) from low earth orbit (LEO) constellations. – Jane’s 360 

Imagine a battlefield in which soldiers and equipment are hidden from satellites by living organisms that provide camouflage by filtering certain kinds of light. Or imagine concealing where soldiers have been by using organisms to build roads, with separate organisms that later eat away that pathway. These ideas may seem like science fiction, but they are potential future capabilities under consideration by a relatively new program at the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command, called Team Ignite. – C4ISRNET

A recent high-tech exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona demonstrated to U.S. Army leaders how important having coders on the battlefield will be going forward against near-peer adversaries. – C4ISRNET 

The U.S. Army is preparing a soldier vehicle assessment of two different light tank prototypes for infantry brigade combat teams that will start in January 2021 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The assessment will run through June 2021, according to the service. – C4ISRNET 

The Pentagon plans to include funding in its fiscal 2022 budget request to increase military sealift capabilities, including through the use of commercial vessels, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in comments Thursday. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army has tested a new data fabric it wants to deliver in its next iteration of new network tools — a critical step in the service’s network modernization effort. – C4ISRNET 

U.S. Army Futures Command, which is tasked to develop a modernized force, is now more than two years old, and many of its cross-functional team directors have been with the organization since its birth. Army leadership has stressed the importance of keeping those tasked to develop capability across six modernization priorities rewarded for staying in place longer. – Defense News 

The U.S. Army has spent several years iterating its war-fighting concept that addresses great power competition and potential conflict with near-peer adversaries across air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. But it’s still several years from transitioning that concept into doctrine, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville told Defense News in an Oct. 14 interview. – Defense News 

Dakota Wood writes: At present, the U.S. military remains marginally capable of defending the country and its interests. It is big enough, modern enough, and ready enough to defeat one major opponent in one part of the world, but it’s not prepared to accomplish much more than that. […]The goal should be to increase funding by at least three percent above the rate of inflation, so that our military can regain the capability it needs to defend America in a new era of great power competition. – The Daily Signal 

Long War

Massacres like the one in Nagraogo have pushed Burkina Faso to the edge of catastrophe. […]Almost a million Burkinabe are now displaced, and nearly three million are in need of humanitarian assistance — in a country of just 20 million. – New York Times 

At least 10 Somali soldiers were killed and an unknown number wounded when Al-Shabaab Islamist fighters ambushed them near a southern village, a military official and family member said Thursday. – Agence France-Presse

A UN peacekeeper was killed in northern Mali and another seriously wounded after their vehicle hit a roadside bomb on Thursday, the UN mission said. The blast occurred some 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the northern city of Kidal, in the latest violence to hit the conflict-ridden Sahel state. – Agence France-Presse

Three months ago, Sofia Bombina and her family of 11 had to flee their home on the Mozambique coast after their town was attacked by a militant group. […]Bombina is among the hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced since an insurgency erupted in the northern province three years ago. – Reuters

Missile Defense

A hypersonic missile developed by the U.S. hit within 6 inches of its target, according to a report. U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy described the missile’s performance during a speech at the Association of the U.S. Army Conference on Tuesday, Defense News reported. – Fox News 

The Coast Guard has begun at-sea testing of unmanned surface vehicles off the south shore of Oahu to see if the autonomous craft can help provide persistent maritime domain awareness in remote areas of the large ocean, the service announced. – USNI News 

America’s senior arms negotiator said Washington is taking diplomatic and military steps to put an end to Beijing’s “great wall of secrecy” that surrounds its rapid and expanding strategic weapons program. – USNI News 

The following is the Oct. 13, 2020 Congressional Research Service report, Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Program: Background and Issues for Congress. – USNI News

Trump Administration

The U.S. Department of Defense has named the undersecretary of defense for policy as the point person for information operations, a spokesman confirmed to C4ISRNET. – C4ISRNET 

A Democratic congressman is expressing optimism that the final version of the annual defense policy bill will limit President Trump’s ability to move forward with his Germany withdrawal.- The Hill 

Intelligence officials warned President Trump that his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani was the target of an influence campaign conducted by Russian intelligence, The Washington Post reported Thursday. – The Hill