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Cyber Security, Digital Transition, Technology Geopolitics & Worlds In-Defense In-Security Pensiero Strategico

Open newsletter – April 21, 2022 a.m.

TODAY:

  • AROUND THE WORLD
  • DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE
  • HORIZONS

 

AROUND THE WORLD

China – Solomon Islands

  • April 21. By Reuters. China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands may affect security for the region and is a probable topic for discussions between the leaders of Japan and New Zealand on Thursday, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said. (read more)

East Timor

  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. Independence leader and Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta has declared victory in East Timor’s presidential election, calling for unity and dialogue after a final count showed he had secured 62 percent of the vote. (read more)

France

  • April 21. By  , Reuters. French President Emmanuel Macron cleared a major hurdle on the path to re-election with a combative TV debate performance against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen that convinced most viewers, a poll said, even if he was still deemed arrogant. (read more)
  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. French President Emmanuel Macron tore into his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen about her links with Russia and her plan to ban Muslim women from wearing the hijab in public in a fractious television debate ahead of Sunday’s second and final vote for the presidency. The only head-to-head confrontation of the second round campaign was peppered with appeals of “don’t interrupt me” and accusations the other was not up to the job of leading France, a veto-holding UN Security Council member and Europe’s second-largest economy. (read more)

Israel – Palestine

  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. Israel has carried out air raids in central Gaza for the second time this week, according to witnesses, with its military saying its fighter jets attacked an underground complex used to produce rocket engines. The raids took place before dawn on Thursday. (read more)

Russia – Ukraine (impact, reactions, consequences)

  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, has separately requested meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in their countries’ capitals to try to negotiate an end to the nearly two-month war in Ukraine. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday that Guterres had sent letters to the UN missions of Russia and Ukraine, asking Putin to receive him in Moscow and Zelenskyy to welcome him in Kyiv. (read more)
  • April 21. By Al Jazeera. Members of Ukraine’s team with negotiating Russia say they are ready to head to Mariupol to negotiate the evacuation of troops and civilians from the last main pocket of resistance in the destroyed southeastern city. “Mykhailo Podolyak and I are ready to arrive in Mariupol to hold talks with the Russian side on the evacuation of our military garrison and civilians,” Ukrainian presidential adviser David Arakhamia said on Telegram on Wednesday evening. (read more)
  • April 20. By Jacqueline Feldscher, Defense One. Poland will not recognize land captured by Russia during the war in Ukraine as Russian territory, the Polish ambassador to the United States said Wednesday. (read more)
  • April 20. By Jonathan D. Moreno, Defense One. Foreign Minster Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia was not considering using nuclear weapons in the Russia-Ukraine conflict “at this time.” Even if that assurance could be trusted, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reckless threats and statements in reference to nuclear arms should cause NATO commanders at least to prepare their forces for a battlefield that could include tactical nuclear weapons. (read more)
  • April 20. By Mark Cancian, CSIS. U.S. aid packages to Ukraine have become routine—four in the last three months—but the recently announced $800 million package is different. It expands support by including major crew-operated weapons and, for the first time, major U.S. weapons. The latter requires Ukrainians to be trained by U.S. troops. The package acknowledges the provision of Soviet-era weapons and, by what it does not include, implies that supplies of Javelins and Stingers may be getting low. The inclusion of items that will take weeks to deliver indicates that the United States now expects a long war. Finally, the U.S. record of providing about $52 million a day of military support means that the next aid package will be announced in late April and may involve another escalation. (read more)
  • April 20. By Stephen Losey, Reuters. Russia’s halting efforts to conduct electromagnetic warfare in Ukraine show how important it is to quickly respond, and immediately shut down, such attacks, Pentagon experts said Wednesday. But the U.S. needs to get much better at its own EW rapid response, they said during the C4ISRNET Conference Wednesday — and can learn a lot from how the private sector has handled these situations. (read more)
  • April 21. By  , Reuters. Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s opposition to unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction” in a speech on Thursday, without directly mentioning the West’s punitive actions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. China has repeatedly criticised western sanctions, including those against Russia, but it has also been careful not to provide assistance to Moscow that could lead to sanctions being imposed on Beijing. (read more)
  • April 21. By  , Reuters. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said any peace talks over Ukraine are likely to fail, as he compared holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiating with a crocodile. (read more)
  • April 21. By Reuters. President Joe Biden will deliver an update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday as he works to complete a new arms package for its military. (read more)
  • April 21. By , and , Reuters. Top officials from Britain, the United States and Canada walked out on Russia’s representatives at a Group of 20 meeting on Wednesday and many members spoke to condemn Moscow’s war in Ukraine, exposing deep divisions in the bloc of major economies. Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, who chaired the meeting of G20 finance officials in Washington, acknowledged the body faced unprecedented challenges but called for cooperation to overcome headwinds slowing global growth. (read more)
  • April 21.  By  , Reuters. A top ally of President Vladimir Putin said Russian forces will seize the last main stronghold of resistance in the besieged city of Mariupol on Thursday, after Ukraine proposed talks on evacuating troops and civilians there. (read more)
  • April 21. By Crystal Wilde, Al Jazeera. Cut off from international payments systems by Western-led sanctions, Russia has turned to China to obtain the microchips it needs to meet surging demand for its domestic bank cards. But while Chinese manufacturers may be able to provide a quick fix for Russia’s besieged financial institutions, they are unlikely to be able to substantially ease the country’s mounting economic woes, analysts say. (read more)
  • April 20. By Ayaz Museyibov, The Jamestown Foundation. The roles of the Central Asian and the South Caucasus regions in facilitating economic relations between the European Union and East Asia—particularly in the fields of energy, trade, and transportation—have been growing in importance over the last few months (Report.az, April 6). Amidst the current large-scale Russian war against Ukraine, most international transport carriers are more reluctant to implement economic operations via Russia due to the new risks associated with security, reputation and sanctions-associated bank settlements (Haqqin.az, April 9). And as a result of this and ongoing hostilities, transportation through Ukraine has become impossible as well (Azerforum, April 6). With these northerly trans-Eurasian land routes increasingly out of service, shippers between the European and Asia-Pacific markets have, thus, been looking more and more at southern transit options (see EDM, April 19). (read more)
  • April 20. By Vadim Shtepa, The Jamestown Foundation. By the time news of the Russian re-invasion of Ukraine became known in Moscow in the early morning of February 24, 2022, it was already afternoon in Siberia and the Urals. Residents of cities such as Irkutsk, Omsk and Yekaterinburg were the first to take part in protest pickets and marches against the war, breaking common stereotypes that the Russian opposition is concentrated only in the capital, while the “deep people” from the regions unquestionably support the Kremlin (Region.expert, February 24). (read more)
  • April 20. By Sergey Sukhankin, The Jamestown Foundation. After Russia’s President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 (Kremlin.ru, February 24), the Western economies introduce several rounds of increasingly harsh economic sanctions against the Russian Federation (Meduza, March 8). So far, Russia’s non-renewable energy sector, which fuels the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, has been spared the worst of those coercive financial measures; but progressively, the negative impact on this segment of the Russian economy continues to grow (see Part One in EDM, April 11).  (read more)
  • April 20. By Mason Clark, George Barros, and Karolina Hird, Institute for The Study of War. Russian forces made minor advances in the ongoing offensive in eastern Ukraine on April 19, seizing several small towns and advancing into the key frontline towns of Rubizhne and Popasna. Russian forces continued major assaults with heavy air and artillery support but are continuing to build the logistics and command-and-control capabilities necessary for a larger offensive. Russian forces have not achieved any major breakthroughs, nor have they demonstrated any new capability to conduct multiple successful, simultaneous advances. Russian forces additionally made grinding progress against remaining Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol’s Azovstal Steel Works and announced plans for a May 9 Victory Day parade in the city – indicating Russian forces will declare victory in Mariupol by that date at the latest. (read more)

USA 

  • April 20. By Samantha Gross, Brookings. Members of Congress from both parties are politicizing and spreading bad information on the energy crisis resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Given the acrimony in U.S. politics today, this isn’t surprising, but misinformation on the real cause of high gasoline prices is a disservice to U.S. citizens. Democrats blame the oil and gas industry and Republicans blame President Joe Biden, but global market forces are the real culprit. Better understanding of the energy system, among policymakers and ordinary people, is crucial as the United States and world strive to transition to a system with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. (read more)

USA – South Korea

  • April 21. By Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to visit South Korea next month for a summit with the country’s incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol, a person familiar with the matter said. (read more)

DEFENSE – MILITARY – SPACE

  • April 20. By Caitlin M. Kenney, Bradley Peniston, Defense One. The U.S. Navy’s new long-range shipbuilding plan is actually three scenarios, reflecting the rising difficulty of looking more than about a decade ahead, service officials said Wednesday. The 30-year plan—this year’s edition of the annual update required by Congress—offers definite quantities of various ship types only out to 2027. To cover the rest of the years through 2052, the 28-page document offers three sets of numbers—albeit with a common plan for ship retirements. (read more)
  • April 20. By Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One. The Pentagon’s No. 2 defense-industrial-base policy official is no longer serving in the role, Defense One has learned. Jesse Salazar, a political appointee who served as the liaison between the Pentagon and defense industry, is the latest in a string of recent senior-level departures. (read more)
  • April 20. By Patrick Tucker, Defense One. Russia and China are getting better at taking out U.S. satellites, so the Pentagon is reconsidering how it builds them, how it launches them, and how much it relies on commercial partners for both, a top Space Force official said Wednesday. (read more)
  • April 20. By Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One. The much-anticipated replacements for the U.S. Army’s rifle and light machine gun will slowly work their way into soldiers’ hands as gun manufacturer Sig Sauer ramps up production in the coming years, service officials said Wednesday. (read more)
  • April 20. By Lauren C. Williams, Defense One. The Pentagon’s security concerns around 5G are pretty well-known and a high priority. But the time it will take to field 5G capabilities is also a major concern, according to a top Navy tech official. (read more)
  • April 20. By A senior adviser to the Department of Defense’s chief data officer said the department is moving toward greater data sharing and away from the stockpiling of information, as the U.S. military focuses on greater communication between networks and forces. “I think what we’re seeing across the department is folks leaning into the need to share,” John Turner, the adviser, said April 20 at the C4ISRNET Conference. “I think the culture of ‘data hoarding’ is absolutely on the way out, and we’re seeing incredible responsiveness as, increasingly, data is being shared across components for various use cases.”. (read more)
  • April 20. By Courtney Albon, Defense News. As Congress pushes the Space Force to develop a responsive launch capability that can reconstitute assets quickly, the service is looking more broadly at how it can make its entire architecture more responsive. For the last two years, Congress has included language in the National Defense Authorization Act directing the Space Force to establish a Tactically Responsive Space Launch program and develop plans for how the service will execute the initiative. The Space Force has opted not to request funding for the effort, relying instead on congressional largesse including a $50 million add in the Fiscal 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Act. (read more)
  • April 20. By The U.S. Space Force stood up the 19th Space Defense Squadron this month in Dahlgren, Virginia, to focus on cislunar space domain awareness, Lt. Col. Matthew Lintker, the force’s Space Delta 2, said during the April 20 C4ISRNET conference. According to the squadron’s Facebook page, the unit was stood up on April 6, and features an insignia of a Kraken wrapped around the Space Force’s Delta symbol. (read more)
  • April 20. By
  • April 20. By The Pentagon is pursuing the reauthorization and expansion for programs meant to boost small business participation in defense research, set to expire Sept. 30, a lead official said Wednesday. Even as the Biden administration wants to boost small businesses in the defense-industrial base, as an economic and innovation engine, both the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs are due to run out. (read more)
  • April 20. By How ally and partner systems are configured and interact is a critical consideration for those tasked with modernizing U.S. networks and improving the distribution of information across the battlefields of today and tomorrow, Army leaders said at the C4ISRNET Conference. “We will never fight alone again,” Brig. Gen. Jeth Rey, the director of the Network Cross-Functional Team, said at the virtual conference April 20. “We will always fight with our coalition partners, so it’s important that we find a way to share data.”. (read more)
  • April 20. By The Associated Press, Defense News. The Russian Defence Ministry has reported the first launch of its new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile. The ministry said the missile was launched Wednesday from the Plesetsk launch facility in northern Russia and that its practice warheads hit designated targets at the Kura firing range on the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula. (read more)

HORIZONS

  • April 20. By Daniel F. Runde, Frank Kelly, CSIS. Global indebtedness has soared to unprecedented levels. The fiscal outlook for many low- to middle-income countries remains brittle, with the prospect of interest rate hikes in advanced economies, the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and geopolitical events such as Russia’s war on Ukraine further complicating the global economic scenario. This underlying “debt tsunami” risks fueling the next global financial crisis if left unchartered. (read more)