Fdd's overnight brief

September 10, 2020

In The News


Iran’s military launched an annual drill in the Gulf near the strategic Strait of Hormuz waterway, Iranian state TV reported on Thursday, at a time of high tension between Tehran and Washington. – Reuters 

A tanker containing a cargo of Iranian gasoline confiscated by the United States arrived on Wednesday at a Texas port where it was preparing to discharge, according to a pilots group spokesperson. – Reuters 

The World Players Association (WPA) has called for the head of the Iranian judiciary to grant an immediate stay of execution to Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari, who faces the death penalty. – CNN 

Deploring the Iranian government’s “cruel” approach towards journalists, the Secretary-General of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Anthony Bellanger, has condemned the verdict given to the Iranian whistle-blower journalist Mohammad Mosaed. – Radio Farda 

The dollar was sold at an almost-record level of more than 250,000 rials in Tehran’s exchange market on Tuesday. Some currency price information channels, which publish the Tehran market’s daily exchange rates, even set the dollar’s price at 25,250 rials during Tuesday’s spike. – Radio Farda 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran portrays this as a conflict between Trump and his generals, arguing that Trump opposes the generals who “want nothing more than war.” In a bizarre turn of events, the Iranian media, usually hostile to the US and the Trump administration that has put “maximum pressure” on Iran through sanctions, sees Trump as potentially doing it a favor. – Jerusalem Post


Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov pledged on Monday that his country would help Syria’s government survive crippling U.S. economic sanctions. Borisov spoke during a visit to Syria’s capital five years after Moscow launched its military intervention in Syria, which helped turn the tide of the war with U.S.-backed rebels back in President Bashar Assad’s favor. – CBS News

According to multiple media reports on Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry may be sending Hermes missile systems to Syria to counter Turkish tanks and other armored vehicles. The news, which was first reported by Avia.Pro, suggested that the weapon system was being tested in territory currently under the control of the Syrian Arab Republic, while the Russian military would conduct the actual tests. – The National Interest 

Eva Kahan writes: The intended target of Russia’s information operation, local tribal elements loosely aligned with the SDF, could perceive the United States’ inability to prevent such attacks as a sign of weakness. In one of the most dangerous scenarios, Russia may further escalate kinetically to provoke a crisis that causes local tribal elements to desert the SDF with the eventual objective of forcing US policymakers to reconsider the US commitment to Syria. – Institute for the Study of War


Turkey is in talks over oil and gas exploration in Libya, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration seeks business opportunities in the conflict-ridden North African country. – Bloomberg 

Dimitar Bechev writes: On August 22, Turkey announced the discovery of Tuna-1: 320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas off its Black Sea coast. Though questions remain as to whether it is economically viable to start production – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested this could happen as early as 2023 – the news could not go unnoticed in other littoral countries of the Black Sea. The discovery may well help spur regional cooperation. – Middle East Institute 

Michael Rubin writes: Turkish nationalists might react with umbrage and bluster, but they should also be realistic: Erdoğan is erratic and increasingly reckless. To pick one fight is bad; to pick simultaneous ones is idiotic: Once other countries even covertly begin supporting the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey, there will be no turning back. Any Turk who buys into Erdoğan’s bombast and regional aggression is not enabling Turkish greatness as Erdoğan’s enablers may claim, but rather its ultimate partition. – The National Interest 

Ferdinando Giugliano writes: Turkey has long sought to redraw its maritime boundaries with Greece. But its long-standing claims have gathered new force in light of recent gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, and Turkey has become more aggressive in encroaching on the area. The diplomatic spat now threatens to escalate into all-out war, as the two countries engage in military skirmishes in an increasingly tense area of the world, which includes Libya, Israel and Egypt. Cyprus, another EU member state, is also contending with Turkish demands. – Bloomberg


Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s peace plan was an attempt to “save the two state solution” because it stops Israel from further expanding its presence in the West Bank. – Times of Israel 

Dozens of rights groups have filed a complaint with a UN expert panel over the five-month detention in Gaza of a Palestinian activist who organized a video conference with left-leaning campaigners in Israel. – Times of Israel 

Ahmad Manasra was traveling home from a wedding when he spotted a family in distress on the side of a West Bank road. Moments later, the 22-year-old Palestinian was fatally shot while another Palestinian driver was seriously wounded — both by an Israeli soldier in a nearby watchtower. – Associated Press 

Representatives of the United Arab Emirates and Israel will attend a White House ceremony Tuesday where they will sign a historic treaty normalizing relations, officials said. – Washington Examiner

David Makovsky and Daniel B. Shapiro write: Yet the Palestinians are not going anywhere, and the reality is that Israel cannot retain its core character as both a Jewish and democratic state if it ignores the Palestinian issue. Fortunately, those who still seek a two-state solution have no cause for despair. The Emirati-Israeli breakthrough could be a much-needed bridge to overcoming the current impasse. Skillful diplomacy could use normalization as a base for renewed momentum toward two states. – Washington Post


Lebanon’s Amal movement, a Shi’ite Muslim group allied to Hezbollah, said on Wednesday it would not be swayed by U.S. sanctions imposed on one of its members, saying Washington’s move was like targeting the whole nation. – Reuters 

Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah group on Wednesday condemned a U.S. decision to impose sanctions on two former Lebanese government ministers, adding in a statement that the United States would not be able to achieve its goals. – Reuters

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker on Wednesday said a framework agreement for Lebanon and Israel to start discussing their disputed maritime border is being held up by an “absurd” sticking point. – Agence France-Presse 

A former Lebanese minister has said Israel does not aspire to annex Lebanese territory and that the Jewish state wants peace with Lebanon and the wider Arab world. – Times of Israel 

Arabian Peninsula

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Thursday it intercepted and destroyed an explosive-laden drone launched by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis towards the Saudi Arabian city of Najran, state news agency (SPA) reported. – Reuters

U.N.-backed experts have found evidence that rebels in Yemen recruited nearly three dozen teenage girls — some said to be survivors of sexual violence — as spies, medics, guards and members of an all-female force, according to a report released Wednesday. – Associated Press 

The Houthi administration in Yemen has suspended all United Nations and humanitarian flights to the capital Sanaa as its Saudi-led coalition foe blocks commercial vessels in the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. – Reuters

Palestinian leaders won renewed Saudi support for Palestinian statehood at a Wednesday meeting, but did not persuade the Arab League to condemn last month’s normalisation deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. – Reuters

In her September 8, 2020 column in the Saudi London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Amal ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz Al-Hazani criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) for its total rejection of the UAE’s normalization agreement with Israel, as reflected, for example, in the emergency conference recently held by the Palestinian factions in Beirut, Ramallah and online to formulate a unified position against normalization and against the Deal of the Century. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Gulf States

The Arab League on Wednesday refused to endorse a Palestinian draft resolution condemning the United Arab Emirates for its normalization agreement with Israel, a move that is a severe blow to the Palestinians, Ramallah officials said. – Jerusalem Post 

There could be some progress within weeks in resolving a three year-long rift between Gulf Arab states, a senior U.S. State Department official said on Wednesday, citing signs of “flexibility” in negotiations. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will allow all flights to and from Israel to use their airspace in a significant change of policy, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said Wednesday. – Times of Israel 

Haisam Hassanein writes: As such, Qatari messaging should not be understood simply as a response to the deal itself; antagonism between the Emirates and Qatar is likely to fuel the attitudes of Qatari semi-official and government funded media for the foreseeable future. Moreover, this messaging is likely influential. A targeted campaign against the UAE-Israel deal at this moment has the potential to intimidate other Arab leaders from following suit on normalization; it can also empower voices of anti-normalization in Riyadh and Manama among other Arab capitals. – Washington Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

The United States will pull thousands of troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan by November, the top American commander for the Middle East said Wednesday, as President Donald Trump tries to make good on his campaign promise to get America out of “endless wars.” – Associated Press 

The European Union plans to remove an east Libyan powerbroker from its sanctions blacklist to encourage peace efforts and ensure the EU plays a central role in any negotiated settlement, three diplomats said. – Reuters

An Iraqi man who lost his wife, daughter, brother and nephew in an airstrike after US intelligence misidentified his home as an Islamic state headquarters, is believed to be the first civilian awarded compensation by coalition forces. – The Guardian 

A new report by the US-led coalition against ISIS has assessed numerous reports of civilian casualties dating back several years. The recent reports, for June and July, were released this week and describe five “credible” incidents where civilians have been killed since 2016. The most recent incident was on March 13, 2020 when US airstrikes targeted pro-Iranian groups in Iraq in the wake of a rocket attack that killed three coalition members. – Jerusalem Post 

Timothy Kaldas writes: Could the Israel-UAE agreement hurt the limited Israeli-Egyptian economic ties? That’s unlikely. Israeli-Egyptian gas deals, built on the logic of geographic proximity and existing pipelines, will not be affected. And although some Israeli sun-seekers will avail themselves of direct flights to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, those megacities are too expensive to represent a significant threat to the Sinai resorts. – Bloomberg

Korean Peninsula

Bob Woodward obtained the 27 “love letters” President Donald Trump exchanged with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, 25 of which have not been reported publicly. The letters, filled with flowery language, provide a fascinating window into their relationship. – CNN 

A recent investigation I did for NBC News, based on new satellite data, has revealed, however, what marine researchers now say is the most likely explanation: China is sending a previously invisible armada of industrial boats to illegally fish in North Korean waters, forcing out smaller North Korean boats and leading to a decline in once-abundant squid stocks of more than 70%. – BBC

Andrea R. Mihailescu writes: Any new administration would have to apply pressure using economic, diplomatic, and liaison channels in countries in Africa and Southeast Asia where North Korea continues to operate, selling weapons and conducting illicit trade. The goal would be to squeeze North Korea out and cut it off from earnings through criminal activities. The message must be clear to those who turn a blind eye: They, too, will increasingly face serious sanctions. – Foreign Policy 

Joseph Bermudez writes: A potential Pukguksong-3 test would support the speculation that North Korea has been making significant advances in both ballistic missile and SLBM development during the past year and plans to demonstrate these new capabilities around the time of its Korean Workers’ Party Foundation Day on October 10th. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Australian officials recently searched the homes of four Chinese journalists, China’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, a day after two Australian reporters fled China over safety concerns amid a public breakdown in the two countries’ already tense relations. – Washington Post 

China’s foreign ministry, when asked about reports that the United States may ban some imports from China’s Xinjiang region over alleged human rights violations, said this is a pretext to oppress Chinese customers and incite instability. – Reuters

China’s repression in Tibet, the status of the exiled Dalai Lama and its treatment of ethnic minorities spurred violent protests ahead of Beijing’s 2008 Olympics. It could happen again. – Associated Press  

The Chinese government’s senior diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said on Wednesday the United States is directly intervening in territorial and maritime disputes in the South China Sea due to its own political needs. – Reuters

More than 1,000 Chinese nationals have had their visas revoked by the United States since June, under a program aimed at graduate students and researchers believed to have ties to the Chinese military. – CNN 

On September 4, 2020, CGTN Network (China) aired a short animated video in American English that takes aim at the U.S. and white Americans, titled “How to Teach Your Kids about Race and Racism.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Kris Osborn writes: The Chinese are known to be quite advanced in the area of AI, yet that might not mean that the J-31 is comparable in terms of the “sensor fusion,” weapons range or even maneuverability of the F-35. Nonetheless, the aircraft is expected to bring new threats to the equation, particularly when it comes to maritime attack. Should the J-31’s functional capability, weapons, speed and attack envelope mirror the F-35, the new Chinese aircraft might erode the clear Naval airpower advantage provided by the U.S. F-35B and carrier-launched F-35C. – The National Interest

South Asia

A bombing targeting the convoy of Afghanistan’s first vice president killed at least 10 people in the country’s capital, an indication of the high stakes in the U.S.-backed talks between Kabul and the Taliban to end nearly two decades of fighting. – Wall Street Journal 

Two men described as Myanmar army deserters told authorities in neighboring Bangladesh they were ordered by superior officers to kill Rohingya civilians during security operations in 2017, according to a lawyer involved in a genocide case against Myanmar at the top United Nations court. – Wall Street Journal 

India and China accused each other Tuesday of firing warning shots during a confrontation the day before at their disputed border in a marked escalation of tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. – Washington Post 

Just minutes after Saba Sahar had left her home in Kabul, her husband heard gunshots ring out. […]The spate of attacks – targeted shootings or blasts caused by small magnetic bombs attached to moving cars – come as other forms of militant violence in the Afghan capital have decreased. – BBC 

The overwhelming control of Myanmar’s economy by the military through some of its biggest companies means its foreign and domestic business partners are likely supporting military units and leaders suspected of human rights abuses, critics say. – Associated Press 

Pakistan is planning several new initiatives to reinvigorate the country’s military-industrial complex, which is likely to have suffered due to the impact of Covid-19. – Jane’s 360 

India on Monday conducted a successful test of a fully indigenous hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle powered by an air-breathing scramjet engine, the Defence Ministry announced. – Defense News 

Ronak D. Desai writes: Although some Democrats have criticized the controversial features of Modi’s domestic agenda, tough talk toward India has been truly bipartisan. Disagreements between even the closest partners are natural and inevitable. Countries as close as the United States and India should feel comfortable expressing their concerns to each other, secure in the knowledge that this will not undermine the foundational pillars of the relationship. – Washington Post


Today, as tensions soar in the Taiwan Strait and relations plummet between China and Taiwan’s military backer, the United States, talk is again stirring in Taipei, Washington and Beijing of the possibility of China attacking Taiwan, which it claims as its territory, or seizing one of its vulnerable outlying islands while the world is occupied by the coronavirus pandemic. – Washington Post 

Chinese fighter jets approached Taiwan on Thursday for a second day in a row, the island’s defence ministry said, urging China to stop “destroying regional peace” in a further ratcheting up of tension across the sensitive Taiwan Strait. – Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked Southeast Asian nations Thursday to go beyond words and act against China’s “bullying” in the disputed South China Sea, promising America will back them up. – Associated Press 

Joshua Wong writes: I have imagined what would happen if I were detained and sent to China. The physical mistreatment and deprivation of liberty and human dignity seem inevitable. Being separated from my beloved family and friends would also be heartbreaking. But if I suffered this misfortune, I hope the international community would continue standing with the Hong Kong people. – Washington Post


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday there was a “substantial chance” that the suspected poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was ordered by senior Russian officials. – Reuters 

Russia’s foreign ministry on Wednesday urged Germany to share Alexei Navalny’s medical information after the Kremlin critic’s suspected poisoning last month, and accused Berlin of slowing this process down. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko will discuss energy cooperation between their two countries and regional conflicts in Europe, among many other topics during talks in Russia, the Kremlin said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Police carried out searches on Wednesday at the Moscow office of the Open Russia opposition group and the homes of several activists running in local elections this weekend, prompting allegations of intimidation. – Reuters

Russian troops were soon set to arrive in Belarus to hold joint annual drills near the tense western border as the embattled Eastern European country’s leader prepared a trip to Moscow amid unrelenting protests at home. – Newsweek


Hundreds of people have cashed U.S. stimulus checks at Austrian banks in recent months. Some of them appeared puzzled by the unexpected payments or were ineligible for the payouts, according to bank officials and Austrian media reports. – Washington Post 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government on Wednesday threatened to override elements of the Brexit withdrawal agreement painfully negotiated with the European Union, a move that E.U. leaders charged — and a British minister acknowledged — could breach international law. – Washington Post 

European Union efforts to put pressure on Belarus are on hold over an unrelated crisis in its own backyard, highlighting the bloc’s struggles to corral competing geopolitical interests. – Bloomberg 

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned Britain on Wednesday that ignoring some parts of its European Union divorce treaty could imperil any new trade agreement with the United States. – Reuters

Belarusian authorities formally imprisoned opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova – the last prominent opposition leader active in Belarus –  and charged her with calls to incite a coup d’etat on September 9. – Institute for the Study of War 

The Serbian government has decided to suspend all joint international military exercises for the next six months, just one day ahead of the beginning of the Slavic Brotherhood 2020 exercise to be hosted by Belarus. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Editorial: Dictators often try different methods to stay in power. They create a “cult of personality,” with flowery tributes everywhere, or build massive party structures, or switch off the Internet, or hold fake elections to simulate legitimacy. But when the going gets tough, they usually reach for the last refuge: their monopoly on violence. This is where Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus stands today, using force against a nonviolent opposition in a last-ditch effort to remain in power. – Washington Post 

Glen Grant writes: The lack of clear NATO political and operational guidance in the Black Sea leaves countries with incoherent and usually unbalanced development plans for individual forces. They are at odds over priorities and how their limited budgets should be spent. The NATO mantra is to treat members and partners as “sovereign nations.” They all seek to develop expensive gold standard systems but with seemingly no grasp of cost or often relevance. – Middle East Institute 

Russell A. Berman writes: All in all, there is an important record of achievements: a win for the peoples of Kosovo and Serbia but also one more step forward in a capacious foreign policy agenda: moving troops to Poland, strengthening U.S. relations in Central Europe, moving toward peace in the West Balkans, diplomatic progress in the Middle East—each on its own vital but taken together, this is a path of foreign policy successes that add up to much more than the sum of the parts. – The National Interest


Amnesty International Wednesday accused Mozambique’s government forces of torturing suspected members of an Islamist insurgency in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province, as well as “possible extrajudicial executions” and “discarding a large number of corpses into apparent mass graves.” – Washington Post 

An Israel-Sudan deal isn’t imminent, but Pompeo traveled to Sudan on what he called the first official direct flight from Tel Aviv to the country; an important diplomatic signal. Sudan’s ambassador to the U.S., Noureldin Satti, told Newsweek that his government will support any deal that brings peace to the region, though stressed normalization with Israel is not a fait accompli. – Newsweek 

The breakaway territory of Somaliland opened a representative office in Taipei on Wednesday in a move that has already drawn Beijing’s ire. The territory’s representative to Taipei, Mohamed Hagi, said trade, security and development corporation were key aspects of “this very special relationship.“ – Associated Press 

A Somali official says a suicide bomber killed at least three civilians, including a young boy, at a restaurant in Somalia’s capital Wednesday evening. – Associated Press 

People voted Wednesday in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region in a local election defying the federal government and increasing political tensions in Africa’s second most populous country. – Associated Press 

Zimbabwe’s government says it has banned mining in its national parks, but an environmental group that had taken court action to stop the development of a coal mine in an elephant-rich park said on Wednesday that it will insist on “more than just words.” Reports that a Chinese firm had started exploratory work to mine coal within Hwange National Park alarmed environmental and wildlife groups, who took legal action to stop it. – Associated Press 

For weeks, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Congolese doctor has faced death threats, leading alarmed supporters to urge the United Nations to reinstate the peacekeepers who were withdrawn from his hospital months ago. On Wednesday, after international expressions of concern, the peacekeepers returned. – Associated Press 

Influential Mali cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko urged the military junta on Wednesday to comply with demands from West African leaders to name a civilian president and prime minister by Sept. 15 to ease sanctions imposed after last month’s coup. – Reuters 

The Americas

Despite the White House decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization in the midst of a deadly pandemic, American officials have sought to maintain some U.S. influence at the global health agency, promoting a far-reaching reform initiative and granting U.S. diplomats the authority to continue working on WHO programs that fight polio, HIV, and other infectious diseases. – Foreign Policy 

A journalist was found decapitated Wednesday in a violence-plagued area of eastern Mexico, police said, the latest in a string of killings in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for reporters. – Agence France-Presse

Angry Venezuelans are once again stuck in long service station lines due to rationing by President Nicolas Maduro’s government, which is awaiting fuel tankers on their way from Iran to the oil-rich but fuel-starved South American nation. – Radio Farda 

Opaque political and business deals by Russia and China in Latin America and the Caribbean threaten to destabilize the Western Hemisphere if countries aren’t wary, the deputy commander of U.S. Southern Command said Wednesday. – Defense News 


Facebook is facing the prospect of not being able to move data about its European users to the United States, after European regulators raised concerns that such transfers do not adequately protect the information from American government surveillance. – New York Times

Microsoft Corp recently alerted one of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s main election campaign advisory firms that it had been targeted by suspected Russian state-backed hackers, according to three people briefed on the matter. – Reuters

To be successful in today’s information fight — what military leaders call the competition phase ahead of conflict — the U.S. military must tear down certain geographic assumptions it has built over the course of its counterterror mission, according to a top general. – C4ISRNET 

Bryan Clark and Dan Patt write: The Administration may be right—eventually—but U.S. alternatives to Huawei are unlikely to mature before the company solidifies a dominant position in 5G. Instead, the U.S. government needs to mount a more proactive approach using its ongoing efforts in the Department of Defense to attack Huawei up and down the 5G value chain. – Real Clear Defense


A bipartisan compromise and vote on the 2021 defense policy bill isn’t likely before the Nov. 3 elections, but it should come “quickly” thereafter, the House Armed Services Committee’s top Republican said Wednesday. – Defense News 

The following is the Sept. 8, 2020 Congressional Research Service Report, Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles: Background and Issues for Congress. – USNI News 

U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman is continuing to deliver the XM913 50mm cannon to the U.S. Army, even as the service continues to consider its cannon caliber requirements for the vehicle that will eventually replace the aging M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. – The National Interest 

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Wednesday that the Pentagon intends to conduct live trials pitting tactical aircraft controlled by artificial intelligence against human pilots in 2024. – Defense News 

U.K.’s new carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) has departed Portsmouth, England for a short cruise ahead of training drills with U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters, the Royal Navy announced on Wednesday. – USNI News 

As the U.S. Space Force builds out its fiscal 2022 budget, the nascent service is developing a new strategy to govern how it builds and leases satellite communications and services, Lt. Gen. Bill Liquori explained during the Defense News Conference Sept. 9. – C4ISRNET

Development squadrons working with unmanned underwater and surface vehicles are moving out quickly to develop concepts of operations and human-machine interfaces, even as they’re still using prototypes ahead of the delivery of fleet USVs and UUVs, officials said this week. – USNI News

The final conference report on the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act won’t be ready until after the Nov. 3 election, the outgoing ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee said on Wednesday. – USNI News 

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday that President Donald Trump was “wrong” to say Pentagon leaders want to go to war to satisfy the defense industry. – Defense News 

Speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s (AUVSI) annual unmanned systems conference on Tuesday, the Navy’s top uniformed acquisition officer described the service’s new unmanned campaign plan as an effort to create “centralized management and leadership” of the technologies that will support all the service’s unmanned platforms. – USNI News

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded small business contracts to Exosonic, Hermeus, and Boom Supersonic for work on a potential supersonic executive transport aircraft. – Jane’s 360 

The LUSV remains a key component of the U.S. Navy’s surface warfare strategy aimed at deploying small, medium and large drone boats to support a wide sphere of manned warfare operations. – The National Interest 

Dana A. Goward writes: Perhaps it is time to recharter the FCC as the “Federal Spectrum Commission.” It would undoubtedly still have to make hard, perhaps controversial, decisions. But perhaps it would be more likely to fully appreciate the needs of all radio frequency users, and publish technically convincing analyses to support their decisions and reassure stakeholders. – C4ISRNET

Long War

A top U.S. commander warned Wednesday that terror groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State are finding new sanctuaries in Africa where they can rebuild their forces and attract new recruits. – Washington Times 

A Norwegian citizen in his 60s has been arrested in southern Norway at the request of France as a suspect in a 1982 attack on a deli in the heart of Paris’ Jewish quarter that left six dead and injured 22, a Norwegian newspaper reported Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Evidence of Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi discussing martyrdom was seized almost three years before the attack, an inquiry has heard. The hearing was told Abedi, who killed 22 people in the May 2017 atrocity, had first been linked to “subjects of interest” in 2010. – BBC 

To be successful in today’s information fight — what military leaders call the competition phase ahead of conflict — the U.S. military must tear down certain geographic assumptions it has built over the course of its counterterror mission, according to a top general. – C4ISRNET  

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Fighting ISIS, which is the coalition’s mandate, is hampered by tensions with Iran, Russia and others. Last year, the coalition had Security Force Assistance Brigades deployed in places like Nineveh near Mosul, but today that role is largely gone and it is unclear what comes next. It is also unclear if European countries will backfill the US drawdown. – Jerusalem Post

Missile Defense

In a news statement, the U.S. Air Force announced that they had awarded Northrup Grumman a $13.3 billion Engineering and Manufacturing Development contract for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile program. – The National Interest 

Tokyo is expected to start taking delivery of precision-guided Joint Strike Missiles (JSMs) for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) growing fleet of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters from April 2021, a Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson told Janes on 9 September. – Jane’s 360 

The capabilities of the United States Air Force’s B-52 Stratofortress have expanded greatly since the aircraft first took flight in the 1950s. The Cold War-era heavy bombers have received regular updates, which could keep the venerable B-52 flying high for decades to come. – The National Interest 

Kris Osborn writes: Firing a hypervelocity projectile (HVP) from an artillery cannon is a concept which has been under-development for many years, dating back to Roper’s time directing the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office. The origins of the HVP can be traced to the Navy’s Rail Gun developmental effort as well as initiatives intended to explore firing the HVP from deck-mounted guns on Navy surface ships. – The National Interest

Trump Administration

A senior Department of Homeland Security official alleges that he was told to stop providing intelligence reports on the threat of Russian interference in the 2020 election, in part because it “made the President look bad,” an instruction he believed would jeopardize national security. – Washington Post 

President Trump denigrated senior American military officials when he told his trade adviser, Peter Navarro, during a meeting in 2017 that his top generals were weak and overly concerned with their relationships with allies, according to a new book by the journalist Bob Woodward. – New York Times 

President Trump on Wednesday rolled out another 20 names of people he said he would consider as potential Supreme Court justices, challenging Democratic nominee Joe Biden to release his own list of prospective nominees. – Washington Post 

An anti-immigrant Norwegian lawmaker said Wednesday that he has nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Middle East. – Associated Press