Fdd's overnight brief

September 28, 2021

In The News


Representatives from Iran and Saudi Arabia have held a new round of talks in Baghdad, two Iraqi officials said Monday, in the first such meeting between the regional foes since a new president was sworn in in Tehran. – Associated Press 

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said on Monday that two of its members died from injuries they suffered in an unexplained fire the day before. – Associated Press 

Iran must stop denying the U.N. nuclear watchdog access to a workshop making centrifuge parts as agreed two weeks ago or face diplomatic retaliation at the agency’s Board of Governors within days, the United States said on Monday. – Reuters 

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said he’s “very surprised” by Iran’s decision to hold military drills close to their border, amid tensions between the two neighbors over a key transport route. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: The political appeal of pretending to end “forever wars” is obvious, and perhaps “forever diplomacy” polls well too. But so far the White House, which says it wants to focus on the Indo-Pacific, is creating the conditions for an Iranian nuclear breakthrough and Mideast crisis. – Wall Street Journal 


The military leaders who oversaw the United States’ exit from Afghanistan head to Capitol Hill this week for two days of questioning, as lawmakers in both parties have lost patience with the Biden administration over the Americans and visa-bearing Afghans left behind. – Washington Post  

As Air Force planners in Illinois choreographed the largest evacuation airlift in U.S. military history, surveillance drones loitering over Hamid Karzai International Airport captured the disarray below, scanning for threats among the mass of civilians desperate to flee. It was Aug. 26, just before 6 p.m. in Kabul. A plume of black flooded the video feed. – Washington Post 

Tightening the Taliban’s restrictions on women, the group’s new chancellor for Kabul University announced on Monday that women would be indefinitely banned from the institution either as instructors or students. – New York Times 

No representative from Afghanistan will address the annual high-level U.N. General Assembly in New York after the ambassador for the government ousted by the Taliban – who was due to speak on Monday – withdrew his name. – Reuters 

When the Taliban seized power, the operator of the only women’s shelter in a northern Afghan city ran away. Left abandoned were 20 women who had fled a variety of domestic horrors, some abused by husbands or family, others forced into early marriages with older men. – Associated Press 

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court sought urgent clearance Monday from the court’s judges to resume investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, saying that under the country’s new Taliban rulers “there is no longer the prospect of genuine and effective domestic investigations” in the country. – Associated Press 

The dispute between Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers and its former government over who should speak at the United Nations’ annual meeting of world leaders finally has an answer: no one. – Associated Press 

The last president of Afghanistan says his Facebook account was hacked after it posted a message telling people to support the Taliban. – Business Insider 

The Taliban banned barbershops in a southern Afghanistan province from shaving or trimming beards, claiming their edict is in line with Shariah, or Islamic, law. – Associated Press 

M.P.Ferguson writes: The eyes of the world might be on the new regime now, but that won’t last forever. When Afghanistan fades from the headlines, cutting through the Taliban’s digital fog will once again become the charge of investigative journalists and niche intelligence analysts. They will have their hands full. – The Hill 

Luke Coffey writes: It should be obvious that it is against America’s security interests that the Taliban is now in power. With the emergence of a resistance movement in Panjshir, and the Taliban in control of Kabul, Afghans and the international community has returned to a similar situation as in the mid-1990s. It is almost inevitable that other resistance movements will spring up across parts of Afghanistan, which the Taliban will find difficult to control. The U.S. should start to engage with resistance movements in Afghanistan, and right now the only option is the NRF. – Heritage Foundation 

Michael Sobolik writes: All of Biden’s talk about “serious competition” and “extreme competition” with Beijing is meaningless apart from an actual commitment to counter the CCP. But that’s all a moot point now. Because of Biden’s bungled exit from Kabul, America’s China policy is now subject to Beijing’s veto. In his haste to leave the graveyard of empires, Biden has killed great power competition. – Newsweek 


Syria’s top diplomat said Monday that his country’s doors are open for the safe return of refugees, accusing Western countries of taking advantage of the suffering of Syrians while pretending to care for their well-being. – Associated Press 

Unidentified aircraft hit a base run by Iranian-backed militias in Syria’s eastern province of Deir al Zor near the Iraqi border where Tehran has in the last year expanded its military presence, residents and military sources said on Monday. – Reuters 

Recent raids by the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State group in Syria resulted in the killing or capture of several people affiliated with the terrorist group, officials said. – Stars and Stripes 


Israeli troops conducted a series of arrest raids against suspected Hamas militants across the occupied West Bank early Sunday, sparking a pair of gun battles in which five Palestinians were killed and two Israeli soldiers were seriously wounded. – Associated Press 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that Iran had crossed “all red lines” in its nuclear program and vowed that Israel would not allow Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon. – Reuters 

Israel is not just talking, it is taking action against Iran in the present, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a briefing to journalists on his delegation to New York, following his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday. – Jerusalem Post 

A Palestinian military court on Monday began the trial of 14 security officers charged with beating to death a prominent critic of President Mahmoud Abbas, in a case that has drawn widespread protests and calls for his resignation. – Reuters 

Palestinian Authority security forces this morning arrested the main witness in the trial of 14 PA officers over the killing of anti-PA activist Nizar Banat, his family says. – Times of Israel 

Anna Ahronheim writes: Though the PASF have been trained and armed by the United States and other international forces, they have struggled to crack down on Hamas activities, due in part to their fear of engaging with the terror group’s operatives. And because of that fear, the large Hamas cell was able to coalesce right under their noses. […]Hamas has made it clear that even as they negotiate with Israel to rebuild the destroyed coastal enclave, they have not abandoned the armed struggle against its citizens. – Jerusalem Post 

Jacob Magid writes: Two government officials have told The Times of Israel that Bennett is allowing Gantz’s Defense Ministry to take the lead on outreach to the Palestinians and on advancing measures to strengthen the PA, recognizing that such issues don’t play well with his right-wing base, as small as it might be. Hence, his decision to shrink the issue into oblivion on Monday. The premier appears to believe that the people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t mind. – Times of Israel 

Lazar Berman writes: For now, the fact that he is not Netanyahu gives him plenty of leeway domestically and on the international stage. But that goodwill will run out eventually, the “new spirit of cooperation” will become a stale smog, and he will have to start staking out bolder positions instead of avoiding ideological fights abroad and at home. – Times of Israel 


In Iraq, electricity is a potent symbol of endemic corruption, rooted in the country’s sectarian power-sharing system that allows political elites to use patronage networks to consolidate power. – Associated Press 

Iraq holds a general election on Oct. 10, its fifth parliamentary vote since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 and ushered in a complex multi-party system contested by groups defined largely by sect or ethnicity. – Reuters 

Alison Pargeter writes: This change could mark the beginnings of a challenge to the political monopoly of the factions that have looted the state for at least the past 15 years. However, it is unlikely to advance democracy in Iraq. Tribes are hardly bastions of democracy, and their main goal is to exert greater influence over their own areas and affairs. While many tribal sheikhs may castigate the parties, there is nothing to suggest that, if they emerge as a stronger political force, they won’t also seek to use the state as a vehicle to advance their own interests. – War on the Rocks 

Lazar Berman writes: Israel’s message — especially to Western leaders — would resound best if it centers on the argument that Iraqis should enjoy the same right to gather in a hotel to express political opinions that their own citizens enjoy. The world should expect more from Iraqi leaders than threats of arrest against citizens reading out declarations and publishing op-eds. – Times of Israel 

Arabian Peninsula

Security forces of Yemen’s internationally recognized government Monday violently dispersed thousands of protesters decrying deteriorating economic conditions in a southwestern province, wounding at least seven people, officials said. – Associated Press 

The top diplomat of Yemen’s internationally recognized government said Monday his conflict-torn country needs millions more coronavirus vaccines to ensure some of the world’s poorest are not left behind. – Associated Press 

The research on the Saudi Arabian school curriculum shows a trend of continuous improvement and dramatic changes over the span of just one year. The textbooks have removed or edited several lessons demonizing Jewish people, Christians, and other “non-believers.” – Jerusalem Post

Middle East & North Africa

For the past two months, President Kais Saied of Tunisia has ridden widespread popular support to ever-higher peaks of power, culminating in a recent announcement that he would essentially rule the country by decree. But he has now begun to face growing opposition, heightening uncertainty over Tunisia’s most serious political crisis in a decade as its economy careens toward ruin. – New York Times 

The lead judge investigating last year’s massive blast in Beirut’s port had to suspend his work in the case Monday after a former Cabinet minister demanded his dismissal. – Associated Press 

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani and United Arab Emirates Minister of State in the Foreign Ministry Khalifa Shaheen Almarar on Sunday night, hours before he is set to speak before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). – Jerusalem Post 

James M. Dorsey writes: Most Arab states like the UAE have existential issues with Israel that need to be resolved, which makes public opinion the potentially largest constraint on recognition of the Jewish state. […]Improving the social and economic conditions of the Palestinians is unlikely to satisfy their minimal needs or those of Israel’s immediate neighbors. Not to mention what the accelerated prospect of a de facto one-state solution to the Palestinian problem would mean for an Israel confronted with the choice of being a democratic state in which Palestinians could emerge as a majority or a Jewish state that sheds its democratic character and claim to be inclusive towards its citizens. – Algemeiner 

Salem AlKetbi writes: A few years ago, talk of an Emirati embassy in Israel and vice versa was political fiction. But the UAE, with its ambitious leadership, which can look at the future from the point of view of national interests, understood the importance of building a model of normalization between Israel and its Arab neighbors, so that societies would feel the return of this cooperation, charting a new course to unlock the great potential of the region, which both sides already announced at the time of the signing of the historic agreement. – Arutz Sheva 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea fired a short-range missile eastward into the sea Tuesday, according to South Korean military officials, marking the fourth test by North Korea this month, even as leaders in Pyongyang showed signs that they may be willing to resume negotiations with Seoul. – Washington Post 

A cryptocurrency connoisseur admitted Monday that he conspired to coach North Korea on how to evade economic sanctions by using the popular financial technology to conceal illegal transactions. – Washington Post 

North Korea on Monday accused the United States of keeping up its “hostile policy” and demanded the Biden administration permanently end joint military exercises with South Korea even as it continued its recent streak of weapons tests apparently aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear diplomacy. – Associated Press 


The release of the two Canadians underlines the awkward position Beijing now finds itself in, having claimed for years that authorities had “iron clad” evidence against the pair while drumming up nationalism at home to deflect against criticism that it had engaged in hostage diplomacy. – Washington Post 

China has let go two Americans who have been banned from leaving the country since 2018 and allowed them to return to the U.S. following a Justice Department deal with a Chinese-technology company executive, according to people familiar with the situation. – Wall Street Journal 

Power cuts and even blackouts have slowed or closed factories across China in recent days, adding a new threat to the country’s slowing economy and potentially further snarling global supply chains ahead of the busy Christmas shopping season in the West. – New York Times 

China lambasted a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling in a row with the United States over Washington’s measures to limit the import of solar panel cells, calling it “erroneous and dangerous” on Monday. – Reuters 

China’s top diplomat has held a virtual meeting with NATO’s chief to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, amid longstanding disagreements between Beijing and the U.S.-led alliance over regional policies. – Associated Press 

China on Tuesday showed off its increasingly sophisticated air power including surveillance drones and jets able to jam hostile electronic equipment, with an eye on disputed territories from Taiwan to the South China Sea and rivalry with the United States. – Agence France-Presse 

Foreign businesses in China are becoming key targets in a growing number of intellectual property lawsuits filed by Chinese companies. Enhanced IP legislation, which has led to large amounts of damages for violations granted by courts, has opened the floodgates for litigation. – Financial Times 

Editorial: Some interpreted the simultaneous release of Ms. Meng and the Canadians as moves undertaken by Washington and Beijing to induce a thaw in their relations. A better analysis might be to recognize China’s behavior as further justification for Western defensive alliances to counter its aggression. – Washington Post 

Henry Olsen writes: Western businesses and individuals also need to reassess their ties to and involvement with China. It’s increasingly clear that Biden intends to intensify pressure on the Chinese regime to resist its global aims. […]The two Michaels are free, but they almost certainly won’t be the last Westerners unjustly detained in China. Their plight is yet another reason the West would be wise to disentangle itself economically from China. The sooner the better. – Washington Post 

Akhil Ramesh writes: This pattern of using trade and aid to win friends, also known as economic statecraft, has aided China in winning friends in unlikely places. From Southeast Asia, to Africa, even to America’s backyard, the Caribbean, China plays an outsized role in the internal affairs of these nations. Through cheap debt and lucrative investment opportunities, small nations are lured into deals that are hard to get out of once signed. – The Hill 

Nan Li writes: Xi will likely govern effectively on issues related to economic development and political and social stability, and designate a successor in due course. The People’s Liberation Army will likely play a minimal role in the succession. Xi is one of the most powerful Chinese leaders in decades, and his ability to centralize power is remarkable. However, warnings that China faces a looming succession crisis are overstated. – War on the Rocks 

Manjari Chatterjee Miller writes: BRICS is one such grouping whose individual members carry far more significant weight in international politics than, say, many who have joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative. And it offers members who are wary of a rising China the ability to keep an alternative path for cooperation with Beijing open. As such, the United States would be wise to pay closer attention to BRICS’s trajectory. – Foreign Policy 


The stakes are high as Japanese governing party members vote Wednesday for four candidates seeking to replace Yoshihide Suga as prime minister. The next leader must address a pandemic-battered economy, a newly empowered military operating in a dangerous neighborhood, crucial ties with an inward-focused ally, Washington, and tense security standoffs with an emboldened China and its ally North Korea. – Associated Press 

China strongly condemned Britain on Monday for sailing awarship through the sensitive Taiwan Strait, saying it was behaviour that “harboured evil intentions” and that the Chinese military followed the vessel and warned it away. – Reuters 

Taiwan needs to have long-range, accurate weapons in order to properly deter a China that is rapidly developing its systems to attack the island, Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said on Monday. – Reuters 

Walter Russell Mead writes: If Chinese behavior continues to drive its neighbors into closer partnerships with the U.S. and each other, Japan and Taiwan may enter deeper and more Aukus-like arrangements—and perhaps into Aukus itself. A bloc that shares technology and coordinates defense policies that includes Japan, India, Taiwan and the Aukus countries would be a formidable force. – Wall Street Journal 

Michael Rubin writes: The bigger debate may be whether treating Pakistan like China would effectively cede Islamabad to Beijing. But this debate was before Sharif sold Pakistani sovereignty to China in 2013. The U.S. might work to make China’s alliance with Pakistan more expensive for both. But the solution to this is not to treat Pakistan as an ally when it is in reality a state sponsor of terror. Nor is it to give Islamabad preferential military trade when it is in reality a liability. – Washington Examiner 

Michael Rubin writes: Biden and Blinken may not care about American prestige, but this is not the only thing at issue in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan and Turkey launched their assault on Nagorno-Karabakh to continue the Ottoman project of more than a century ago. […]It is time to sanction Azerbaijan until Aliyev returns the last Armenian POW, pays compensation for his aggression, and holds accountable every Azerbaijani soldier on video torturing Armenians or destroying cultural heritage. – The National Interest 

Robert F. Cekuta writes: These transportation and communication links could be especially important for Armenia, which has isolated itself from Turkey as well as Azerbaijan due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. And these projects will also stimulate the broader Caucasus and Central Asia, serving as an answer to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Importantly, none of these actions by the United States would entail sizeable outlays of resources. They just require a bit of initiative and commitment. – The National Interest 


The Pentagon’s top military officer discussed with his Russian counterpart an apparent offer from Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his military’s bases in Central Asia to respond to any emerging terrorist threats in Afghanistan, U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

The Kremlin warned on Monday that any expansion of NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine would cross one of President Vladimir Putin’s “red lines”, and Belarus said it had agreed to take action with Moscow to counter growing NATO activity. – Reuters 

Security officials say they have apprehended five “members of a neo-Nazi group” suspected of plotting a series of terrorist acts against law enforcement in Russia’s mostly Muslim-populated Bashkortostan region. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The United States and Russia will hold their second round of strategic talks in Switzerland later this week, after the first attempt yielded little results, the State Department said Monday. – Newsweek 


A politician who built his popularity on his response to Covid-19 and styled himself as German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s true heir is now best placed to succeed her as leader of Europe’s largest economy after scoring a narrow win in Sunday’s election. – Wall Street Journal 

Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan separatist wanted in Spain for leading a failed breakaway movement in his region four years ago, left Italy on Monday, days after his brief detention and release by Italian authorities. – New York Times 

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hosted a lunch Monday for the leaders of divided Cyprus, hoping to bring them back to negotiations to reunite the Mediterranean island nation — talks that have been stalled since 2017. – Associated Press 

The foreign minister of Belarus accused Western nations on Monday of carrying out “a large-scale hybrid war” against the country because it failed to change the government in elections last year, which he insisted were won by President Alexander Lukashenko. – Associated Press 

The leaders of Greece and France are expected to announce a major, multibillion-euro deal in Paris on Tuesday involving the acquisition by Greece of at least six French-built warships, Greek state ERT TV reported. – Associated Press 

The Council of Europe on Monday awarded its major human rights prize to jailed Belarus opposition leader Maria Kolesnikova, who was arrested last year after she tore up her passport at the border to prevent her forced expulsion from the country. – Associated Press 

Days before Germany’s federal elections, Facebook took what it called an unprecedented step: the removal of a series of accounts that worked together to spread COVID-19 misinformation and encourage violent responses to COVID restrictions. – Associated Press 

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is enjoying an unusual moment as the rare NATO ally leader beloved by both American conservatives and the Chinese Communist Party . – Washington Examiner 

The NATO-led KFOR mission in Kosovo on Monday increased its patrols on the border with Serbia in a bid to deescalate tensions between the two Balkan foes over a dispute about license plates. – Associated Press 

Michael Dobbs writes: For all the boasts about “global Britain,” the land of my birth seems to be becoming ever more insular. If “taking back control” from supranational European institutions resulted in better outcomes for ordinary Brits, Brexit might be defensible, but so far there have been few concrete benefits and numerous inconveniences. […]It was as if they have been so worn down by the political and economic turmoil of the past few years that they no longer have the will to do much about it. – Washington Post 

Tom Rogan writes: Merkel has also been a partner of Communist China, relegating concerns over Beijing’s genocide, territorial imperialism, and intellectual property theft in return for trade. Merkel’s designated successor, Laschet, is set to continue in kind. […]On that basis, U.S. interests would be best served if Baerbock took her party into government via the foreign ministry. Considering the CDU’s support of higher defense spending, America’s best interest would then be a coalition of the CDU-CSU, Greens, and FDP. – Washington Examiner  

Gideon Rachman writes: For historical and geographical reasons, the strategic priorities of EU countries often remain very different. […]The post-Merkel era in Germany will open up new possibilities. France will be on the alert for new openings for strategic autonomy. But only a profound crisis — such as the return of Trump to the White House — might finally spur Europe into action. – Financial Times 

James Lamond writes: For the past several months, the German election has been a bit of a roller coaster. The polls have been up and down with contradictory signals about what it means for domestic politics and Germany’s role in the world. The results are now in, and while it is unclear what that government will look like, or even who the Chancellor will be, there are some clear takeaways already. By any measure, the German election this weekend was a watershed moment with significant implications. – Center for European Policy Analysis  

Olga Lautman writes:  Russia’s operations in Catalonia are just a sample of a more extensive campaign to destabilize the West and not only weaken alliances, but divide and attempt to break up countries. […]The accusations against Russia are made more plausible because they fit into the Kremlin’s pattern of behavior. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Michael Moran writes: As many have pointed out, in the long term, AUKUS probably makes a great deal more sense for Australia’s national defense—and the broader Western interest in countering China’s aggressive behavior in the Asia-Pacific—than continuing with the construction of French boats whose original cost had already doubled due to delays, cost overruns, and the usual defense industry shenanigans. […]It’s all a good reminder that those who raise outrage to the level of fine art have very selective memories. And while the submarines France hoped to sell were Barracudas, the tears shed by its officials look very much like those of a crocodile. – Foreign Policy 


At least 37 villagers were killed in Nigeria’s north during an attack on a remote village on Sunday, according to witnesses. – Associated Press 

Mali could push back presidential and legislative elections set for next February to avoid their validity being contested, its post-coup prime minister said. – Reuters 

Gunmen killed at least 22 security personnel at a remote army base in a northwestern Nigerian state plagued by bandits and kidnappers, a lawmaker said. – Reuters 

Three decades after Somaliland first broke away from Somalia, the self-declared nation state this year successfully held democratic elections and attracted bumper investment from Dubai’s DP World in the port of Berbera. – Financial Times 

The Americas

In recent months, as Brazil has grown ever more polarized by Bolsonaro, blamed by many Brazilians for the country’s disastrous coronavirus response, an overt American iconography is emerging. But it’s not being deployed in defense of democracy. It’s being wielded by those who would set Brazil’s constitution aside to bolster Bolsonaro’s power. – Washington Post 

Delegates from Venezuela’s government and opposition concluded another round of talks in Mexico City on Monday after a delay that saw the government’s side arrive a day later than scheduled due to an apparent unhappiness with mediator Norway. – Associated Press 

Shock and scandal have long been favourite weapons in Bolsonaro’s political arsenal often deployed to inflame situations, but the frequency and specificity of his rhetoric in recent months, combined with the mobilisation of his radical supporters, has generated a wave of concern for Brazil’s democracy. – Financial Times

United States

Could the government shut down this week, for the third time in three years? It’s a possibility as Congress nears a deadline to keep the government open and doesn’t appear to have enough votes to do it. Here’s why, and what would happen if there is a shut down. – Washington Post 

A federal judge has approved the unconditional release next year of John Hinckley Jr., who wounded President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel in a failed assassination attempt in 1981. – NPR  

Jeffrey Sachs writes: If the US government, at the behest of congressional hotheads, brings down Georgieva, it would prove conclusively that the IMF is a US-directed institution with the mere trappings of multilateralism. China, Russia and others would increasingly go their own way. […]The multilateralism of the IMF is vital for global financial stability. The IMF should not capitulate to anti-China congressional hysteria. – Financial Times 

Jonathan E. Hillman writes: What should quadrilateral cooperation look like in practice? Flexibility will be key. Only in very rare cases will an infrastructure project have direct involvement (e.g., financing, design, construction, and operation) from all four countries. Instead, even a single partner pursuing a project that advances the Quad’s common goals and reflects the G20 principles for quality infrastructure investment should qualify. Cooperation can also occur through sharing information, providing technical assistance, and building partner capacity. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


One of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges said it would close all user accounts in mainland China by the end of the year, days after the country’s central bank declared all crypto-related transactions illegal. – Wall Street Journal

Australia’s antitrust regulator has called for laws to reduce Google’s market dominance in online advertising, in the latest salvo by the country against Big Tech following groundbreaking media reforms this year. – Financial Times 

Lockheed Martin has won a second-round contract worth $9.6 million to continue work on the U.S. Army’s first integrated electronic warfare, signals intelligence and cyber platform, the service announced Monday. – C4ISRNET 

Editorial: The Freedom House report is a lesson repeated every year to countries truly committed to preserving the best of the Internet. They must tread carefully, but the worst option is not to move at all — because staying still allows autocracies to lead the way. The call to action should sound especially loud to the United States, which under President Biden has recommitted itself to championing democracy and liberty worldwide. That means championing it online, too. – Washington Post 


With Congress pushing the Biden administration to make more use of commercial satellites, intelligence officials are starting to award new contracts to show they can augment the capabilities of highly classified spy satellites with the increasingly sophisticated services available from the private sector. – New York Times 

Lawmakers on both sides of nuclear weapons issues want answers after the lead Pentagon official overseeing the Nuclear Posture Review was ousted after nine months on the job and her position eliminated. – Defense News 

The Navy is organizing East Coast destroyers to better protect the homeland from Russian threats — specifically those undersea — as part of a new initiative called Task Group Greyhound. – Defense News 

The U.S. Navy has reorganized its entire submarine acquisition and sustainment enterprise to address attack submarine readiness as well as potential future challenges building the Columbia class of ballistic missile subs as the service and its industrial base increase construction rates and crawl out of an attack submarine shortfall. – Defense News 

The Army is tweaking its retention program for next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1, reducing soldiers’ reenlistment options. – Military.com 

Charles Q. Brown Jr. Writes: We know from detailed war games played out over the past decade that winning any conflict with China or Russia would require marshaling significant new resources. […]We can be ready. But we must act with deliberate speed and a clarity of purpose not seen in a long time. – Washington Post 

Wes Rumbaugh and Tom Karako write: In today’s strategic environment, the ability to find hidden adversary missiles before and after launch will be increasingly critical to broad U.S. deterrence and defense goals. […]Fielding new elevated sensors in space is a key component of moving toward that vision, but other suborbital elevation—from towers to high-altitude aircraft—will also be useful to significantly extend the practical horizon for the surveillance, tracking, and targeting needs of both strike and air and missile defense. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Rebecca K.C. Hersman and Reja Younis write: Information and decisionmaking architectures need to be modernized and expanded to account for a rapidly evolving technical landscape and increasingly competitive security environment. Yet while the United States should seek to maintain a competitive advantage in the information realm, superiority and dominance—let alone a reimagining of deterrence based upon these principles—are unrealistic objectives that may risk escalation and strategic instability. Bottom line? Proceed with caution: speed bumps and blind corners ahead. – Center for Strategic and International Studies  

Long War

Poland’s interior minister said on Monday material related to Islamic extremism had been found in the phones of migrants crossing its border with Belarus and he called for a 60-day extension to a state of emergency along the frontier. – Reuters

Benjamin Schwartz writes: One lesson from the Taliban’s victory after 20 years of U.S. effort in Afghanistan is how poorly understood foreign environments can be to decision makers at the highest levels of the U.S. government. It should be obvious that pulling our people back significantly exacerbates that blindness. This may be the right decision for America. As Mr. Biden has repeatedly said, the U.S. doesn’t have a “vital national interest” in places like Yemen and Afghanistan. But as we extract ourselves from these places, we should not be blind to the costs. – Wall Street Journal 

Michael Rubin writes: Too often, American policy is reactive. This both undermines American effectiveness and creates problems Washington could have, with foresight, avoided. It is now time for both Democrats and Republicans in Washington—and friends of Pakistan across the aisle—to tell Pakistan in no uncertain terms: Using the ISI to foment Khalistani terrorism is a tactic they can ill-afford. – 19fortyfive.com