Fdd's overnight brief

October 28, 2022

In The News


Iran’s top military commander on Thursday blamed protesters demonstrating against the country’s clerical rule for a deadly terrorist attack in southern Iran where a gunman killed 15 people, promising to punish anyone who threatened public security. – Wall Street Journal

Violence erupted Thursday in the city of Mahabad in the Kurdish region of western Iran, where protesters attacked government buildings, including the offices of the governor and the mayor. Security forces responded by opening fire on demonstrators, according to videos posted on social media and verified by The Washington Post. – Washington Post

​​Authorities in the Iranian city of Zahedan have sacked the police chief and the head of a police station near where dozens of people were killed four weeks ago during protests which have swept the country, state news agency IRNA said on Thursday. – Reuters

At least 15 people were killed on October 26 in an attack on a key Shi’ite Muslim shrine in southern Iran, state media said, with the Islamic State (IS) militant group claiming responsibility for the assault. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iran’s Supreme Leader vowed on Thursday to retaliate against those threatening the country’s security after the massacre of Shi’ite pilgrims, an assault claimed by Islamic State which threatens to inflame tensions amid widespread anti-government protests. – Reuters

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iranians on Thursday to unite after an attack claimed by Islamic State on a shrine that killed 15 people, saying those behind it “will surely be punished”, state television reported. – Reuters

The aging brick campus of the Sharif University of Technology, Iran’s elite technical school, has long been a magnet for the nation’s brightest minds, with a record of elevating its students to the highest reaches of society. – Associated Press

Zineb Riboua writes: Washington has now reached a point where it can no longer perpetuate the myth that it is possible to treat Iran as yet another international player among others in the community. There is an urgent need for a new Iran policy. If the Green Movement failed in 2009 because of a lack of commitment and support from the Obama administration, the Biden administration has the ability to enable the current revolution to succeed. It is in the best interest of the people of Iran and the people of America to suffocate a regime that holds its own citizens hostage and encourages its youth to chant “Death to America!” If we do not take prompt action, the U.S. will pay the price. – Washington Examiner

Russia & Ukraine

Russia said it could target U.S. commercial satellites if they are used to help Ukraine, expanding its threats of reprisals to a new theater that could hit closer to home for American interests. – Wall Street Journal

Kyiv residents are facing prolonged blackouts, after Russian airstrikes again hit the Ukrainian electric system overnight, further degrading the country’s ability to keep the lights on. – Wall Street Journal

The documents — part of a trove of sensitive materials obtained by Ukrainian intelligence and reviewed by The Washington Post — illustrate how Moscow continues to try to manipulate countries in Eastern Europe even as its military campaign in Ukraine falters. – Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin recited familiar grievances and criticisms of the hegemonic “Western elite” while offering an ideological pitch to Asian leaders and to conservative groups in the United States and Europe during a keynote foreign policy speech on Thursday. – Washington Post

The United Nations is reinforcing efforts to track the devastation inflicted on Ukraine’s architecture, art and historical sites by using satellite imagery to verify reports of destruction, two of its agencies announced. – Washington Post

The city’s woes have made it an unwilling test case in President Vladimir V. Putin’s strategy for defeating Ukraine. Struggling to gain victories on the battlefield, the Russian leader has adopted an approach of degrading Ukrainian life, not only making people miserable as the first full winter of the war approaches, but hoping to foment division among Ukrainians. It makes governing complicated for local officials. – New York Times

Britain’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau agreed to continue working together to provide support for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia, Sunak’s office said on Thursday. – Reuters

Russian soldiers pummeling a city in eastern Ukraine with artillery are slowly edging closer in their attempt to seize Bakhmut, which has remained in Ukrainian hands during the eight-month war despite Moscow’s goal of capturing the entire Donbas region bordering Russia. – Associated Press

Ukrainian forces attacked Russia’s hold on the southern city of Kherson on Thursday while fighting intensified in the country’s east. The battles came amid reports that Moscow-appointed authorities have abandoned the city, joining tens of thousands of residents who fled to other Russia-held areas. – Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied having any intentions of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine but described the conflict there as part of alleged efforts by the West to secure its global domination, which he insisted are doomed to fail. – Associated Press

Over the weekend, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told several Western defense ministers, including U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, that Ukraine was preparing to use a bomb designed to spread radioactive material. Putin repeated those unsubstantiated claims on Wednesday, and while experts disagree over whether Putin’s claims are indicative of his plans to detonate a dirty bomb himself, they agree that the recent statements are part of a broader strategy to help him win the war. – Newsweek

Russian forces in Ukraine are seeing “significant” manpower losses because of their lack of training with “basic” types of weapons, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Thursday. – Newsweek

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised that the Russian army’s losses would continue to become “bigger and bigger” on the 247th day of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. – Newsweek

After Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw drills with his strategic nuclear forces on Wednesday, Russian state television suggested that they were preparation for a nuclear attack on the U.S. – Newsweek

Russian troops could blow up the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in occupied southern Ukraine, potentially triggering a nuclear disaster, according to the Ukrainian armed forces. – Newsweek

Could an American-led coalition of the willing be used in Ukraine to counter Russia? A former CIA director and retired four-star Army general, David Petraeus, made that suggestion in a recent interview with the French news magazine L’Express. – New York Sun

The U.S. State Department released plans Thursday to better track weapons supplied to Ukraine, voicing fears Russian forces could capture and use them to fabricate an attack by Ukrainian forces. – Defense News

Editorial: The only viable — if nerve-jangling — course for Ukraine’s allies then is to continue their current strategy. Step up military aid to Ukraine, probing Russia’s red lines with care, and step up the economic squeeze on Russia. Ukraine needs air defence systems against Russian missiles and drones, and financial and practical support in rebuilding damaged infrastructure and housing. – Financial Times

David Ignatius writes: More diplomacy makes sense — if it’s properly focused. The United States shouldn’t try to bargain now over the endgame of the Ukraine war. That’s Kyiv’s prerogative. Even if the United States wanted to impose a solution, it couldn’t. But it’s time for urgent talks about how to keep this terrible war from becoming something vastly worse. – Washington Post

Tom Rogan writes: By enabling Ukraine to dislocate Russian forces from its mainland territory, while bearing close attention to how U.S. aid is spent, the U.S. can secure Ukraine’s democratic sovereignty and demand its improved governance. Ukraine will then find the confident space to pursue its international relationships as it, rather than Moscow, sees fit. In turn, the U.S. can enforce Putin’s understanding that wars of conquest against periphery states are far too costly for his rule. But by recognizing the special status of Crimea and the Russian mainland, the U.S. can credibly pursue these objectives with the confidence of avoiding a direct confrontation. – Washington Examiner


In the unscheduled meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the minister accused Hamas leaders in Turkey of coordinating and funding terror attacks on the West Bank. – Ynet

Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday addressed the challenges of juggling between maintaining Israel’s security interests and being on the right side of history when it comes to the conflict in Ukraine, saying that he does not rule out providing military aid to the war-ravaged country in the future. – Ynet

The Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud ‘Abbas, continues to express support for terrorists who carried out operations against Israelis and to describe them as patriotic heroes. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Israel’s fence-sitting regarding the war in Ukraine is both a moral and strategic mistake, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov tells Haaretz in an exclusive interview. Russia may repay Iran for its help by enhancing its nuclear project while Israel does nothing. – Haaretz

Editorial: Benjamin Netanyahu no longer tries to hide it. He might not want to be seen on the same stage as Itamar Ben-Gvir, but even he knows that there is no choice but to give the extremist MK, who is No. 2 on the Religious Zionist Party’s list, and his partner, Bezalel Smotrich, what they want after the election. Assuming that his right-wing bloc reaches and even passes the sought-after 61 seats, Netanyahu will be forced to give his new coalition-mates plum ministries. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: These two events mark important turning points in Israel’s relations. The maritime agreement should ostensibly reduce tensions in the North and enable Israel to extract energy resources, while Lebanon may open up exploration off the coast to companies and investors linked to other countries, including France and Qatar. – Jerusalem Post

Amos Harel writes: According to public opinion polls, at least for now, the violence in the West Bank isn’t directly affecting the November 1 election, which is expected to end in a close race between the two blocs. But when we look at the broader picture, and despite the divisive influence in Israel of the politics of identity, it’s impossible to ignore the significant role of the Palestinian conflict in the developments, even if most voters would prefer to deny it. – Haaretz

Jonathan Lord writes: Reducing the U.S troop presence in the Middle East is an essential part of refocusing it on Russia and China. Therefore, I’d submit that the best advice Herzog could have offered his friend Biden this week to counter Iran, Russia and China all at once is to have the political courage to stop beating up on the Saudis and start building something with them — as the president’s own strategy demands. After all, isn’t that what friends are for? – The Hill


Iraq’s Parliament chose Mohammed al-Sudani as prime minister Thursday, aligning Baghdad more closely with Iran amid deep public unrest over rampant corruption and a lack of jobs. – Wall Street Journal

Iraq’s Parliament approved a new government on Thursday that was more than a year in the making but that perpetuates an almost two-decade-old political system that has been blamed for endemic corruption and dysfunction since being ushered in after the U.S.-led invasion. – New York Times

Nawras Jaff writes: Although most of the assignments have already been made, Iraq’s new government still has time to make a difference in critical areas of need around the country. Rather than ignoring “minor” ministries such as Health and Education, the government must support these ministers, providing them with the full capabilities to face the issues currently threatening Iraq’s stability. These ministries will be the key to success for Iraq as severe unemployment, food and water scarcity, infrastructure failure, and lack of healthcare continue to undermine Iraq’s wellbeing. Given their importance to Iraq’s future, they should be taken more seriously when considering the future of Iraq’s government. – Washington Institute


Israel and Lebanon signed a U.S.-mediated maritime border agreement Thursday, representing a rare example of economic cooperation between the two countries that are still technically at war with one another. – Wall Street Journal

Hezbollah has walked a fine line since the deal was announced on Oct. 11 — cautious not to criticize it, while not fully adopting the diplomatic victory as its own. But as Lebanon’s most dominant military and political force, it cannot pretend that the negotiations happened without its acquiescence. – Washington Post

But the Lebanese government has also emphasized that the deal, reached earlier this month after more than a decade of negotiations, does not signal normalization of relations with Israel and is far less momentous than the agreements that established full diplomatic ties between Israel and three Arab states in 2020, or Israel’s earlier peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. – New York Times

The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, announced the end of his armed group’s mobilization on Thursday, after Lebanese and Israeli leaders finalised a U.S-brokered maritime demarcation deal. – Reuters

Lebanon’s outgoing President Michel Aoun said on Thursday that a U.S.-brokered deal to delineate the maritime border with Israel would prevent war and the full status of the southern border would be resolved through “dialogue.” – Reuters

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman held discussions on supporting and increasing the stability of the international oil market with European ministers, according to Saudi state news agency SPA. – Reuters

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman deserved respect and that Russia was set on boosting relations with Saudi Arabia. – Reuters

Javier Blas writes: And further in the background is a profound disagreement about how to manage the energy transition and the fight against climate change. The Saudis believe the world is putting too much focus on restricting fossil fuel supply and discouraging investment while demand is still growing. It’s an approach, perhaps, fit for the US and Europe, but not for the emerging world. – Bloomberg

Middle East & North Africa

Israeli businessmen addressed Saudi Arabia’s flagship investment conference this week, in a clear but subtle sign of burgeoning commercial ties and Israel’s growing acceptance in the kingdom despite the two countries still having no formal relations. – Wall Street Journal

The International Monetary Fund announced a $3 billion loan to Egypt on Thursday, the fourth such bailout in six years, in what amounted to more of a Band-Aid than a life raft for a country reeling from the fallout of the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday he had asked his staff to start the process of resuming working relations with Turkey after meeting his Turkish counterpart in Ankara on the first such visit in over a decade. – Reuters

Paratroopers from the IDF, the Bahraini military, the Emirati Armed Forces and the US Army completed a joint dive on Wednesday to mark the second anniversary of the Abraham Accords. – Jerusalem Post

Catherine Cleveland and David Pollock write: Likewise, different Arab publics will be open to different efforts and sensitive to or uninterested in others—and these may be distinct from how the United States would prioritize these issues. Once the priorities in each particular country are selected, the means to promote them must be calibrated appropriately. Finally, the United States must also understand that it does not have a monopoly on defining these values—and is now competing with great powers that define them very differently. – Washington Institute

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles on Friday, Seoul officials said, as South Korea wraps up its annual military exercises. – Wall Street Journal

South Korea will take part in Japan’s naval fleet review next month, South Korea said on Thursday, despite objections to Japan’s use of its “Rising Sun” flag, as South Korea seeks to mend ties with its neighbour. – Reuters

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday Seoul has not provided any lethal weapons to Ukraine, after Russian President Vladimir Putin said such a decision would destroy their bilateral relations. – Reuters


For political and military leaders on this democratically self-ruled island, the view across the Taiwan Strait looks a lot more ominous. – Wall Street Journal

China is willing to deepen its relationship with Russia in all levels and any attempt to block the progress of the two nations will never succeed, China’s senior diplomat Wang Yi said on Thursday. – Reuters

China should stop its sabre-rattling against Taiwan and maintain peace and stability, the head of Taiwan’s China-policy making Mainland Affairs Council said on Friday, as Beijing ramped up political and military pressure on the island it claimed as its own. – Reuters

China has reportedly established dozens of “overseas police stations” in nations around the world that activists fear could be used to track and harass dissidents as part of Beijing’s crackdown on corruption. – Associated Press

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) provoked an unusually direct rebuke from the Chinese government this week by proposing sanctions on President Xi Jinping for Beijing’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Axios has learned. – Axios

Keyu Jin writes: In these areas, China may be 10 years or more behind the United States. Techno-nationalism may speed up the rate of convergence, but it is unlikely to close the distance with a fast-moving train. Core technologies take time to develop——years of cumulative learning and knowledge. – New York Times

Akhil Ramesh writes: Every American taxpayer should be asking why we are underwriting China’s ascent to the global pecking order. If Musk chooses to bend the knee to the Chinese Communist Party, it is his prerogative. Americans don’t have to, and hopefully will not anytime in the future. – The Hill

Zhou Bo writes: In a 2018 documentary, Putin asked, “Why do we need a world without Russia in it?” The answer should be, “But where is Russia without the world?” If Putin now opens a nuclear Pandora’s box that was kept closed even during the cold war, it would be a moment of infinite stupidity. China can help the world by simply telling Putin: don’t use nuclear weapons, Mr President. – Financial Times

Stephen Mihm writes: What’s more clear is that investors need to realize that the chance of normalizing trade relations is becoming increasingly remote. The revival of sweeping export controls to contain China’s ambitions offers yet more evidence that the forces of globalization — seemingly victorious only a decade ago — are in disarray. A new Cold War, not so different from the old one, may soon divide the world. – Bloomberg


Japan is in talks with the U.S. about buying Tomahawk cruise missiles so that it can more quickly gain the ability to attack North Korean and Chinese military bases, people familiar with the matter said. – Wall Street Journal

Myanmar’s military government warned on Thursday that any pressure from its Southeast Asian neighbours to put a time frame on a peace plan would create “negative implications”. – Reuters

Japan is set to unveil a $200 billion economic stimulus package to cushion the impact of inflation and a weak yen. The plans include helping households with energy bills, which have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and encouraging wage growth. – Agence France-Presse

India’s foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will visit Russia on November 8, the Russian embassy in India said on Thursday. – Reuters

Satoru Nagao writes: The infrastructure on the Chinese side is well prepared and maintained, but the infrastructure on the Indian side is not. Western countries, including the US, European mainstream countries, and Asian economies like Japan, should support India’s efforts to improve infrastructure for Indian troops. Providing heavy machines to construct roads is the priority now. – Hudson Institute

Michael Auslin writes: For Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the pluses of including Japan in AUKUS outweigh the minuses. Japan’s desire to join AUKUS will likely grow as regional tensions mount. Overlapping, even redundant, security groupings can be seen as a net positive only in an environment of increasing uncertainty. Although it may take time to achieve a consensus in Tokyo on joining and to iron out the contours of Japan’s participation, creating a JAUKUS group would bolster the U.S.-Japanese alliance, deepen Japan’s relations with Australia and the United Kingdom, and complement Quad cooperation on global health, infrastructure, climate, and cultural exchanges. – Foreign Affairs


European leaders have been converging on Africa’s capital cities, eager to find alternatives to Russian natural gas — sparking hope among their counterparts in Africa that the invasion of Ukraine may tilt the scales in the continent’s unequal relationship with Europe, attracting a new wave of gas investments despite pressure to pivot to renewables. – New York Times

Not long ago, German officials were locked in agonizing debates over which industries should be cut off if the country found itself running out of natural gas. Today, with storage facilities almost full to the brim and prices dropping sharply, Europe’s energy crisis is feeling somewhat less urgent. – Washington Post

The European Union is in the midst of yet another goodwill trip through the Western Balkans to drum up support for the bloc and to make sure that Europe’s historical tinderbox is not about to pick the side of hostile Russia or strategic rival China in the world of geopolitics. – Associated Press

Moldovan President Maia Sandu has welcomed a move by the United States to impose sanctions on several Moldovans and Russians over “systemic corruption” and their efforts to influence elections in Moldova. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Chris Giles writes: No one should feel delighted they are paying more for energy this winter, but the price signal has done its job. It has forced Europe to adapt. Advanced capitalist economies are remarkably successful in this regard. – Financial Times

Michael Miklaucic writes: This is a time for NATO to show solidarity and support bold leadership. Finland’s decision to join the alliance is historic and the entire nation should celebrate — as should all NATO members. Marin has the fortitude to make tough decisions, and to stand up to and face down the bully in the Kremlin. Throughout the West, the guardians of the rules-based world order, good leadership is deeply needed. To show humanity and share joy with friends and colleagues while steering the ship of state through tumultuous seas is good leadership worthy of a “Master and Commander.”  – The Hill

Natia Seskuria writes: For the first time, Tbilisi could feasibly convince the international community to include the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states as a sanctionable offense — as no such sanctions were ultimately imposed on Russia back in 2008. A triggering mechanism for such financial penalties related to an illegal recognition of Georgia’s two breakaway territories can and should be included in the broader sanctions package that the Western countries have been imposing as a response to the war in Ukraine. – Middle East Institute 

Lionel Laurent writes: And the two sides should work to understand each other’s limits. Scholz and his coalition are untested and hesitant, increasing the temptation to play to a domestic audience; Macron is bogged down in parliamentary gridlock at home, making Germany a tempting punching bag. The current discontent feels like more than a momentary blip, but France and Germany should also recognize this is not the time to give Putin reasons to be cheerful. – Bloomberg


Two organisations from Ethiopia’s Oromiya region have accused the army of conducting air strikes there in recent days which they said had killed hundreds of civilians, just as peace talks on the separate Tigray conflict were about to start. – Reuters

Here, amid a longstanding failure from the state to control the area, regional tensions, local conflicts and historic ethnic struggles are compounded by a deadly contest for sought-after minerals and agricultural assets. This has turned eastern DRC into the battleground for one of the world’s longest-running wars. – Financial Times

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday regretted as “unfortunate” the US embassy’s issuing of a warning of a possible weekend “terrorist” attack in the country without consulting his government. – Agence France-Presse

The Americas

Tens of thousands of Venezuelans are stranded in Mexico and Central America after U.S. officials applied a Trump-era policy to deter a deluge in illegal border crossings by Venezuelan migrants that for months had vexed the Biden administration. – Wall Street Journal

Canada has sent officials to Haiti to assess the Caribbean nation’s humanitarian and security crisis, saying it will not sit by idly while gangs threaten women and children there. – Reuters

The Canadian delegation is due to assess options “to support Haitian people in resolving the humanitarian and security crises” facing the impoverished country and “restore access to essential goods and services,” in consultation with regional partners the United Nations, the CARICOM Caribbean grouping and others, a statement said. – Agence France-Presse

At a time when Cuba is urging the Biden administration to ease U.S. sanctions that it says stifle hurricane recovery efforts, Russian oil has flooded into the island, providing relief to debilitating blackouts. – Associated Press

Michael Stott writes: Authoritarian governments in Venezuela or Cuba are fair game. But rather than painting every opponent as a future Hugo Chávez or Fidel Castro, Latin America’s right would be rewarded at the polls if it spoke more about improving the lot of the poor — many of whose lives already look uncomfortably similar to those in Venezuela. – Financial Times

North America

Canada will seek membership to the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to further economic cooperation in the region, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Thursday following a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Ottawa. – Reuters

John Ratcliffe and Cliff Sims write: These American principles included a respect for national sovereignty, a realistic view of global competition and the limits of U.S. capabilities, and a total confidence in America’s ability to be a force for good in the world. America’s traditions made our culture the envy of the world. They also helped the U.S. build alliances and, when necessary, win wars. Ideological indulgences like drag shows only drive away allies. It’s time to stop pushing destructive woke ideology on the rest of the world and bring sanity back to American diplomacy. – Wall Street Journal

Thomas G. Mahnken writes: There is also one advantage the United States has from World War II that it never forfeited: its alliances. Unlike China or Russia, the United States has close ties with many of the world’s strongest militaries. The United States is also interlinked with most of the world’s vibrant economies. Washington needs to collaborate more closely with its partners on everything from defense research to operational planning. It needs to work with them to increase their reserves of munitions and weapons. But the United States has done all this before. There is no reason why it cannot do so again. – Foreign Affairs


The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned a pair of Iranian intelligence officials and a school they founded as part of the U.S. government response to the “brutal ongoing crackdown on nationwide protests in Iran,” the agency said. – CyberScoop

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency released long-awaited performance goals aimed at setting baseline vital practices for critical infrastructure. The agency created the voluntary goals to broadly apply across all 16 critical infrastructure sectors with a particular focus on the smaller organizations that lack the resources for a robust cybersecurity plan. – CyberScoop

The United States and European Union are conducting a campaign of cyber “sabotage” against Russia, the country’s deputy foreign minister Oleg Syromolotov claimed on Thursday. – The Record

Bilyana Lilly writes: Considering the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats against the West, it is unlikely that Moscow will waive an opportunity to undermine the U.S. during this election season. A combination of cyber operations, more disruptive cyberattacks in coordination with alleged hacktivists and disinformation spread through official accounts are among the activities Russia could aim at the U.S. – CyberScoop


Foreign workers for defense contractors on at least four U.S. military bases in the Persian Gulf are trapped in their jobs by abusive employment practices that they say prevent them from returning home or even looking for better work in the region, more than 30 current and former workers said in interviews. – Washington Post

The Department of Defense released the highly anticipated unclassified version of the 2022 National Defense Strategy on Thursday. The strategy, which operates as a guiding document for how the U.S. military and department at large will respond to growing threats around the globe, identifies four “top-level defense priorities” that are designed to strengthen U.S. deterrence. – Washington Examiner

The Biden administration is seeking to scrap the U.S. military’s development of nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles, despite recommendations to the contrary from top officials, according to the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy released Thursday.  – The Hill

The Pentagon’s top technology officer said she’s working closely with her acquisition counterpart to ensure capabilities demonstrated through a series of joint experimentation efforts, the first of which will focus on long-range precision fires, can quickly transition to production. – Defense News

After six months of delays, the Biden administration today released the unclassified version of its National Defense Strategy — and despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the department remains confident the long-term threat lies not in Moscow, but in Beijing. – Breaking Defense

The Defense Department officially abandoned the effort to pursue a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile, according to the Nuclear Posture Review unveiled today. The SLCM-N initiative, which received support from the Joint Chiefs and U.S. Strategic Command, was found to be of “zero value” in the most recent U.S. nuclear weapons review, a senior defense official told reporters in a Thursday briefing. – USNI News

Kathleen J. McInnis writes: Is integrated deterrence a conceptual panacea for U.S. strategy in the twenty-first century? Of course it is not. But the term—which is central to the 2022 National Defense Strategy—serves as a useful reminder that convincing an adversary not to cross a given red line is something that should be done in concert with the rest of the U.S. government—as well as with allies and partners. But while such a reminder is useful, the strategic and bureaucratic obstacles to implementing integrated deterrence are significant. One hopes that DOD—and the U.S. government—is able to do so if not directly led by the White House. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Tom Karako writes: If the Trump MDR foundered for disconnects from budgets and programs, the Biden MDR deserves similar scrutiny so that these capabilities do not remain paper programs. While advancing certain mission areas on paper, taking the next steps requires implementing CMD-H, the defense of Guam, space sensors, and hypersonic defense with the seriousness they demand. The missile threat spectrum is not a boutique problem, but a central military challenge from China and Russia. Whether the Biden administration will properly resource and implement the goals of its MDR and NDS is now the question. – Center for Strategic and International Studies