Fdd's overnight brief

September 27, 2022

In The News


Iran’s nationwide crackdown on antigovernment protests has been especially severe against its Kurdish minority, with drone and artillery strikes against separatist groups and deadly clashes in Kurdish-dominated cities and towns where the unrest first arose, residents say. – Wall Street Journal

Few independent journalists are working inside Iran today. But videos, emails and other information coming from inside the country suggest that Iran is experiencing its most significant protests in more than a decade. – New York Times

Canada will impose sanctions on those responsible for the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, including Iran’s so-called morality police and its leadership, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday. – Reuters

Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador in Berlin on Monday in order to urge Tehran to stop its violent crackdown on nationwide protests over the death of a woman in police custody, the German foreign ministry said. – Reuters

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Monday it had added a fourth Iranian cargo plane serving Russia to a list of aircraft believed to violate U.S. export controls under Biden administration sanctions. – Reuters

Top officials from the world’s nuclear monitoring agency and Iran signaled there was no room for imminent compromise over an ongoing probe, likely meaning that attempts this week to revive a landmark atomic agreement will founder. – Bloomberg

Iranian Majles member Masoud Pezeshkian, who has previously served as Iran’s Minister of Health, said in a September 19, 2022 show on IRINN TV (Iran) that he is sorry over the recent death of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman who recently died after being beaten and arrested by Iran’s morality police for wearing her hijab “improperly.” […]He blamed himself, the Iranian government, the mosques, the religious scholars, and Iran’s broadcasting authority for the current situation in Iran, and he argued that it is impossible to make people religious by force. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Editorial: Rarely does one get a second chance, but America now has one in  Iran. The democracy movement there does not have a single leader. But it does have the popular legitimacy necessary to topple a widely despised regime. The task now for America and her allies is to make contact with Iran’s next leaders and ask them what their movement needs to succeed. Anything less would be a betrayal not only of the Iranian people but of our national character. – New York Sun

Pardis Mahdavi writes: The courageous resistance in Iran will build on itself. With each chapter, Iranians take greater risks for their freedom. The komiteh make up the regime’s right arm now, perhaps, keeping an unhappy populace in its place. But it also is the root of the Islamists’ ultimate demise. No country, no matter how long it tries, can repress its citizens forever. – Washington Post

Kelly J. Shannon writes: Iran may manage to crush this protest movement as it has done to others, but if that happens, it will only add to Iranians’ pent-up fury. Or perhaps the killing of Mahsa Amini may prove to be the turning point in Iranian women’s long struggle for freedom. We may just be witnessing the beginning of a revolution. Woman. Life. Freedom. – Washington Post

Eli Lake writes: The wise move now for Mr. Biden is to state publicly that America is in solidarity with the revolution taking place in Iran and send his diplomats to meet with representatives of the current resistance to seek an equitable nuclear deal once the Islamic Republic falls. – New York Sun

Anna Mahjar-Barducci writes: The good news is that the Islamic republic is a dying regime, whose ideology is no longer appealing to the people. As Norman Roule, who worked for the CIA for 34 years, put it: “Whether the regime collapses or transitions deeper into autocracy is uncertain, but its inability to attract supporters outside of militias underscores its destiny on History’s dust heap.” Yet, it is clear that, if the regime collapses, it will be thanks to the will of the courageous people of Iran, instead, if the country transitions into more autocracy, it will surely be caused by the West’s will to “re-engage” with the Islamic republic. – Middle East Media Research Institute

Russia & Ukraine

Resistance against Russia’s mobilization for its war in Ukraine took an increasingly violent turn Monday as two recruitment centers came under attack and borders remained clogged with fighting-age men seeking to leave the country amid reports that some were being turned back. – Wall Street Journal

Kyiv reiterated calls for Russian men summoned to fight in Ukraine to lay down their arms as soon as they arrive in the country, as protests against mobilization continued in Russia and authorities there sought to curb an exodus of fighting-age males. – Wall Street Journal

Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked files regarding U.S. surveillance programs, was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin, according to the Russian government. – Wall Street Journal

A Japanese diplomat detained in Vladivostok, in Russia’s Far East, on allegations that he obtained classified information has been released and will leave the country by Wednesday out of concerns for his safety, Japanese officials said Tuesday, amid deteriorating relations between the neighbors in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post

A young man shot and wounded the chief recruitment officer at a military enlistment station in Russia’s Irkutsk region on Monday, local authorities said, as thousands of fighting-age men continued to flee the country to escape President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. – Washington Post

The war in Ukraine and its global fallout transfixed the meeting of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly this year. When it wasn’t out front, it lurked in the background of virtually every speech. – Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to announce the accession of occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation during his address to parliament on Sept. 30, the British Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday. – Reuters

The European Union and the U.S. on Monday questioned Serbia’s proclaimed commitment to join Europe’s 27-nation bloc after Belgrade signed an agreement with Moscow pledging long-term “consultations” on foreign policy matters amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Associated Press

The Kremlin says it’s in “sporadic” contact with the U.S. after White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Sunday said the U.S. has talked directly to top-level Russian leaders as recently as the last few days. – The Hill

Annexation polls organised by Kremlin-installed authorities in four regions of Ukraine mostly controlled by Russian forces were due to close Tuesday, with Moscow’s threats of nuclear weapons looming. – Agence France-Presse

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call Monday for the global abolition of nuclear weapons as concerns grow over Russia’s threat to use them in the Ukraine war. – Agence France-Presse

Yevgeny Prigozhin, one of Russia’s most elusive oligarchs, now admits to founding the private military company known as Wagner in 2014, reversing years of denials about his connection to the shadowy outfit. – CNN

U.S. President Joe Biden has been working to create a global coalition to isolate Russia and pressure Putin to end the war, and the latest criticism of Russia indicates Biden’s strategy might be working. – Newsweek

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has deployed soldiers and an armored personnel carrier to the country’s border with Georgia as men attempt to flee Vladimir Putin’s partial military mobilization. – Newsweek

Ilia Krasilshchik writes: We have a saying in Russia, “to bomb Voronezh.” Voronezh is a Russian town not too far from the Ukrainian border, but the phrase does not refer to bombings by Ukraine. It refers to the Russian authorities’ perverse habit of retaliating against their own citizens in response to the actions of other governments. On Sept. 21, Mr. Putin added perhaps the most egregious example to the list. Thwarted by Ukraine’s resistance, he chose to punish Russian citizens for his failure. Capital punishment may be forbidden in Russia. But for Mr. Putin’s decision, many people will pay with their lives. – New York Times

Harlan Ullman writes: There is another conclusion. As recommended last week, a three-pronged strategy must be implemented that combines diplomacy with judicial use of force. If the speech was indeed a long-term Russian commitment to stay the course as the U.S. did in Iraq, we are prepared for that option. But if the speech signaled another course of action, that must not be ignored either. – The Hill

Nick Paton Walsh writes: Yet in the days ahead, it will be tempting to dismiss Moscow’s broadened claims of sovereignty and saber-rattling as the dying throes of an empire that forgot to look under the hood before it went driving in a storm. This is a win or lose moment for Putin, and he does not see a future in which he loses.. – CNN

Gideon Rachman writes: Many in the west are nonetheless hoping for some variant of the Argentine outcome — a defeat for Putin, followed by the emergence of a more palatable and pliant Russian government. That would be wonderful, no doubt. But hoping for something does not make it more likely. And most of the alternative outcomes range between bleak and catastrophic. – Financial Times

Michael Kimmage and Maria Lipman write: Putin himself came from the security services, as have many of his colleagues in the Kremlin. He has every resource he needs to transform Russia into a brutal police state, far more repressive than it is at the present moment. That will win him no sincere support for the war, and it may give him no new advantage in the war. But it will grant him a means of corralling Russians into the war effort and severely punishing anyone who stands in his way. In prosecuting his war in Ukraine, Putin will be relentless. In prosecuting his war at home, he will be ruthless. – Foreign Affairs

Edward Lucas writes: The greatest antidote to complacency is Russia’s nuclear arsenal. Whether these weapons are used decisively for nuclear blackmail, or whether their command and control splinters amid political chaos, they remain a doomsday threat for the West. Russia defeated is better than Russia victorious. But it is still Russia. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Thomas D. Grant writes: Russia, through its aggression against Ukraine, has egregiously violated that pledge and, thus, its presence on the Security Council has lost its legal basis. The Council has the procedural tools to respond to Russia’s violation and to recognize Ukraine’s fealty to the UN Charter. If it wishes to affirm its own vitality and that of the UN as a whole, then the Council should use those tools without delay. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Mark F. Cancian writes: Several indicators are worth monitoring to see how this mobilization plays out. First, does domestic opposition interfere with the mobilization? From a military point of view, the key question is whether such opposition significantly reduces the number of personnel available for mobilization. Can Russian forces hold out until the mobilized personnel start arriving? Although the front lines seem to have stabilized, the Russian position is fragile. It could crack in the weeks before mobilized personnel arrive. Finally, does Russian morale maintain at least a minimum level? Russian morale has not been high, but the Russians keep fighting. A thousand years of history indicate that the Russians can continue fighting in conditions other nations might not tolerate. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Violent clashes broke out between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in East Jerusalem for the second night in a row late Monday, as Israelis celebrated the Rosh Hashanah holiday. – Times of Israel

Palestinians scuffled with police in Jerusalem’s Old City Monday morning as Jewish visitors toured the flashpoint Temple Mount to mark the Jewish new year. – Times of Israel

Italy’s Giorgia Meloni, who is on track to become the country’s first far-right leader since Mussolini in World War II, has long tried to distance herself from her party’s fascist past and indicated she would be a strong supporter of Israel, even boasting of ties to the Likud party. – Times of Israel

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Defense Minister Benny Gantz to congratulate him on the Jewish New Year, the PA news agency WAFA reported. The short statement gave no further details of the call, which came amid rising tensions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. – Times of Israel

Nasser al-Kidwa, 69, a former Palestinian Foreign minister, branded Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s government as “totalitarian,” and said it was acting with disregard for the people it is supposed to serve who are living under Israeli occupation. – Agence France-Presse

Jack Khoury writes: Abbas’s speech did not contain any surprising or ground-breaking political announcements. The average Palestinian in Gaza or the West Bank – or even in a refugee camp and the diaspora – would not have heard anything they didn’t already know, but rather a description of the bleak reality crystallized in the ills of the occupation and apartheid. – Haaretz

Jalal Selmi writes: Usually, the United States assures that a comprehensive and just peace in the region will come only through a two-state solution. But such a solution requires more effort and serious intervention by the United States to hold effective discussions that could suspend the settlements and lead to an actual resolution of this issue. Although the United States has more recently made statements urging Israel to “review the rules of engagement” in the West Bank, especially after a steady escalation of violence in the past few months, Israel has continued to disregard them, all but writing the United States’ attempts at mediation off completely. – Washington Institute


One police officer was killed late on Monday when a bomb exploded near a residence that houses police in the southern Turkish province of Mersin, while a second officer was wounded, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said. – Reuters

Turkey said on Monday that Malaysia and Indonesia had expressed keen interest in buying armed drones from Turkish defence firm Baykar, which has supplied the weapons to several countries after battlefield successes. – Reuters

Turkey on Monday summoned the Greek ambassador to protest the alleged deployment of dozens of U.S.-made armored vehicles to Greek islands which Ankara says should remain demilitarized in line with international treaties. – Associated Press

Turkey has, for the first time, officially pronounced a possible purchase of Eurofighter Typhoons in case if the United States fails to sell Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons. – Janes


Lebanon expects a written offer from U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein concerning the demarcation of a maritime border with Israel by the end of the week, Lebanon’s presidency tweeted on Monday. – Reuters

Lebanese army retirees scuffled with parliamentary guard troops as they briefly broke through a cordon leading to Parliament in downtown Beirut during a rally Monday. They were protesting their decimated monthly pay amid the country’s economic meltdown. – Associated Press

Lebanon’s parliament passed the 2022 budget on Monday using an exchange rate for customs tax revenues that lies far below the market value of the Lebanese pound, falling short of economic reform measures that would pave the way for an IMF deal. – Reuters

Arabian Peninsula

Will Qatar’s embrace of Islamist zealotry end with today’s death of a firebrand preacher, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi? Will it turn the emirate into what it has always pretended to be, a soccer-loving, forward-looking Arab powerhouse?  – New York Sun

The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (Houthis) unveiled several new weapon systems, many of them seemingly of Iranian origin, during a parade in Sanaa on 21 September. – Janes

Prime Minister Liz Truss has thanked Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his “personal role” in securing the release of five British detainees held by Russia-backed forces in Ukraine last week, her office said on Monday. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Hundreds of women protested in Kurdish-controlled northern Syria on Monday over the death of an Iranian Kurdish woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police, with some cutting their hair and burning headscarves in an echo of demonstrations in Iran. – Reuters

Youssef al-Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric who was seen as the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and became the Islamist “voice of revolution” during the popular uprisings around the Arab world more than a decade ago, died Monday at the age of 96. – Associated Press

Iraq’s parliament, at the centre of a months-long political paralysis, is to convene Wednesday for the first time since deadly unrest in August and a sit-in protest by supporters of Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr. – Agence France-Presse

Haley Bobseine writes: There are many moving parts and the future is unknown. On Sept. 28 the Federal Supreme Court is set to hold a hearing that will investigate the constitutionality of the Sadrist exit from parliament. Large demonstrations to mark the anniversary of the Tishreen protests are planned for Oct. 1 by protesters and change movements that often refer to themselves as “the third way” — neither aligned with the Sadrists, nor the CF. Political party members of the CF said they are likewise awaiting to see what will unfold during these protests, especially whether the Sadrists will join and whether there is more violence on the horizon. – Middle East Institute

Korean Peninsula

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will visit the de-militarised zone (DMZ) separating the Koreas on Thursday in a bid to show Washington’s commitment to the South’s security, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. – Reuters

North Korean U.N. Ambassador Kim Song retorted Monday that Biden “picked on us,” and Kim shrugged off his message.“To put it clearly, we have never recognized such resolutions of the United Nations that impose pressure” because North Korea views them as U.S. aims given an international imprimatur, Kim said. – Associated Press

South Korea and the United States began their first combined naval exercise near the peninsula in five years on Monday, leading to a warning by North Korea that the allies risked triggering war. […]At the United Nations, North Korea’s ambassador, Kim Song, said the exercises draw “serious concern.” – Agence France-Presse


China has spent a trillion dollars to expand its influence across Asia, Africa and Latin America through its Belt and Road infrastructure program. Now, Beijing is working on an overhaul of the troubled initiative, according to people involved in policy-making. – Wall Street Journal

Kathrin Hille writes: Such rapid changes force the question of how the west can preserve at least some of the China expertise it has built in the past half century and study China in the future. For Berris, this is a new mission. Having in the past briefed officials at the US military’s Indo-Pacific Command, her team has for the first time approached other parts of the security services. – Financial Times

Michael Schuman writes: For Washington, Xi’s continued rule presents both dangers and opportunities. The correct strategy will be to ensure that tensions do not escalate into conflict, while capitalizing on Xi’s missteps to bolster American power. This approach involves a delicate balance, one fraught with the possibility of war. But if Washington manages the situation well, the U.S. could reap the benefits of Xi’s rule and make China bear the costs. – The Atlantic

South Asia

In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, Pakistan will get a new finance minister after the incumbent lost support from his political party for agreeing to austerity measures in an effort to win a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. – Wall Street Journal

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said late on Monday he had discussed with his Pakistani counterpart what he called managing a responsible relationship with neighbouring India. – Reuters

​​The US withdrawal from Afghanistan after two decades of war opened up an opportunity for China to expand its influence and lock down access to the country’s vast mineral deposits. It hasn’t worked out that way. – Bloomberg


As fighting rages on in Myanmar, its citizens are faltering under the losses they’ve incurred in 18 months of violent conflict. Entire villages have been razed; loved ones have been executed in secret; and 1.1 million jobs have evaporated from the economy. – Washington Post

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to Japan’s defense during a meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo in which they condemned China’s actions in the Taiwan Strait. – Reuters

The US Navy’s most advanced surface warship is showing its stealthy profile in the western Pacific on a mission that may set the stage for the eventual deployment of US hypersonic missiles to the region. – CNN

John Calabrese writes: The cohesiveness and sustainability of the I2U2 can best be assured by bringing its initial joint projects to fruition while simultaneously developing a more expansive though no less positive agenda for practical cooperation. Increasing the size of the fledgling I2U2 and endowing it with a military security role might well serve long-term US interests. Yet, in seeking to advance its interests at this nascent stage of the group’s evolution, Washington might find patient resolve to be more of an asset than ambition. – Middle East Institute


Italian election victor Giorgia Meloni faces heavy economic and diplomatic constraints as she seeks to chart a new course with her right-wing coalition. Italy’s high debts and weak growth leave Ms. Meloni’s coalition limited scope for its tax-cutting agenda. Meanwhile, the need for close cooperation with the European Union to tackle the region’s energy crisis and approaching recession will make it hard to follow a more nationalist, EU-skeptic path. – Wall Street Journal

Sweden’s Maritime Authority said on Tuesday it had issued a warning of two leaks on the Russian-owned Nord Stream 1 pipeline in Swedish and Danish waters, shortly after a leak on the nearby Nord Stream 2 project was discovered. – Reuters

Denmark’s maritime authority said Monday that a gas leak had been observed in a pipeline leading from Russia to Europe underneath the Baltic Sea and that there is a danger to ship traffic. – Associated Press

Cyprus is wary of getting drawn into a potential conflict between Greece and Turkey as rhetoric between the countries intensifies, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said. – Bloomberg

Walter Russell Mead writes: Boris Johnson got Brexit done. Ms. Truss has the much harder task of making it work. There are no guarantees, but both Britain and the world will be better off if she succeeds. – Wall Street Journal

Michael Rubin writes: Magic formulas are rare in international relations, but the current Cyprus situation is an exception. Funding Cyprus to upgrade its military to elite Western standards while enabling it to backfill Ukraine’s declining stockpile will not only help bring peace and defend the Eastern Mediterranean from aggression but will also help Ukrainians face down the greatest threat to the liberal order since the Cold War. – Washington Examiner

Pierre Andurand writes: This will take a lot of froth out of the market, and bring significantly lower prices, as the situation will then ease every year. On top of a potential $100bn revenues from natural gas exports to Europe, Russia will have lost much of its ability to blackmail European countries over energy. – Financial Times


Debris from a drone strike in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region has damaged hit a World Food Programme truck carrying humanitarian aid injured the driver, a WFP spokesperson said on Monday. – Reuters

An alleged senior leader of a predominantly Muslim rebel group that ousted the president of Central African Republic in 2013 pleaded not guilty Monday to seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. – Associated Press

Simon Mann writes: Despite that, America and its allies, then and since, have stated clearly that they do not wish to utilize PMC solutions in Africa. Numerous recent announcements to that effect have been made by the United States with regard to Nigeria and Mozambique, which have been echoed by the presidents of those countries. That opposition by Western powers is not shared by their rivals Russia and China. In the coming new cold wars against those great powers, intervention will therefore also have to come from us. If the West will not support EO-style PMCs, and they will not put boots on the ground to fight, then what can be done? – The National Interest

The Americas

Colombia and Venezuela on Monday reopened their 1,400-mile border after it was closed for seven years as the new leftist government in Bogotá took a major step toward normalizing relations with a regime that the U.S. has accused of narco-trafficking and rights abuses. – Wall Street Journal

Tankers carrying about 1.22 million barrels of Iranian crude and 2 million barrels of condensate are scheduled to discharge at Venezuela’s Jose terminal in the coming days, according to a document from state oil company PDVSA. – Reuters

Conrad Black writes: The King could grow into a unique and highly influential role in helping to smooth relations between the senior Commonwealth countries, which, under my scenario, and assuming they were all amenable to it, would cooperate to play a larger role in world affairs. The King would thus have a role somewhat like that of the president of the European Union, but with an infinitely more exalted prestige of office and tradition. This is the best way I can think of maintaining and capitalizing on the best aspects of the monarchy, while modifying it to changing times and national relationships. […]In this, as in many other spheres of Canadian life, it is time for innovation; Canadian political institutions desperately need a renascence and it must start at the top. As has been said: “If not now, when? If not us, who?” – New York Sun

United States

An ISIS publication claimed the United States is a “banana republic,” citing the FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. – Washington Examiner

Kori Schake writes: Tempting as it is to marvel at Russia’s strategic incompetence, we ought to be worried that the grave deficiencies Russia is demonstrating also haunt our own national security strategy. We risk making the same mistakes Vladimir Putin has, by overestimating our military power, hobbling essential international cooperation with our economic policies, and believing our own statements despite our actions undermining them. – New York Times

Akhil Ramesh writes: The U.S. should address the concerns of the indigenous islanders, whether it be in its own states and territories such as Hawaii, Guam or Puerto Rico or in its backyard among the Pacific Islands, and subsequently extend support to them before an adversary such as China chooses to weaponize history. – The Hill

Michael Walsh writes: While there are many positive things that can be said about democracy and good governance in the United States, American diplomats and military leaders do not appear to appreciate fully the challenges to democracy and good governance in Hawaii and the U.S. Pacific Territories and their implications for our foreign policy objectives. Until that changes, the United States will find it difficult to engage in “fruitful conflict” on these matters with their counterparts from Pacific Island Countries. – The Hill

Rebeccah L. Heinrichs writes: Thus, it is eminently prudent, not provocative or too costly, for the United States to invest in the capabilities and implement the strategies that make America more resilient and less susceptible to nuclear coercion. Doing so would backstop all other US military efforts across the spectrum of domains and help convince adversaries that they would not prevail in a conventional or nuclear war against the United States. Working to shape their calculations now so that they see there is an unacceptably high chance that the US would thwart their military campaign would increase the odds of deterrence holding. In doing so, we would optimize the attractiveness of diplomacy and maintain the US-led order and nuclear peace. – Hudson Institute


Albania’s landmark decision this month to sever diplomatic ties with Iran over a massive summer cyberattack began with a top-notch investigation, its prime minister told The Cybersecurity 202. – Washington Post

The Russian government is planning “massive cyberattacks” against Ukrainian critical infrastructure facilities to “increase the effect of missile strikes on electrical supply facilities,” the Ukrainian government said Monday. – CyberScoop

IBM announced this week that it will be expanding its collaboration with Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs), bringing its Cybersecurity Leadership Centers to 14 new schools across a total of 11 states.  – The Record

Australia’s cybersecurity minister criticized the country’s second largest telecommunications company for its response to what she called an “unprecedented theft of consumer information.” – The Record

Bruce Schneier writes: Last week’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, “Protecting Americans’ Private Information From Hostile Foreign Powers,” further highlighted that personal data privacy is now a matter of national security. And while regulation isn’t a panacea — nothing is in the world of security — it will serve to align corporate incentives with our broader societal goals. It will keep us all safer against both hackers and foreign governments. – New York Times


The US, China’s primary rival, has the second-largest navy in the world, with 296 ships, per a 2022 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Though it is smaller than China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, the US Navy is still widely considered the most powerful in the world today given its presence, partnerships, experience, and technology. – Business Insider

Five years after its commissioning, the world’s largest warship is in shape to deploy, the officer who oversees the Navy’s carrier program said last week. USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) quietly reached its initial operating capability in December and has been in workups since completing a six-month repair availability in March following explosive shock trials off the coast of Florida. – USNI News

A bipartisan group of 10 senators is pushing to include the Pentagon’s request for a critical munitions acquisition fund in the Fiscal 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. – Defense News

The Army is dispatching two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems to Latvia for the country’s national combat readiness exercises, according to a statement from U.S. Army Europe and Africa. – Defense News

Tyler Jackson writes: The Air Force’s future warfighting fleet will require the diverse backgrounds of the service’s broader rated and career enlisted aviation force to be successful. The MQ-9 community is full of tactical experts that thrive in the innovation space. With legacy remotely piloted aircraft set to retire, the Air Force cannot afford to let this community wither with no feasible transition option. If it can overcome existing cultural impediments, the service has the opportunity to address its pilot shortage while retaining critical combat experience within its ranks. As the MQ-9 is phased out over the coming years, the Air Force should look inward and take advantage of the trained talent it already has. – War on the Rocks