Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Russia / Strategy Ad Hoc Media Update (34)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Again, much interesting reading in every category:

  1. NATO summit, Hungary’s alignment with Russia, Scandinavia, Baltics and Poland developments;
  2. Much on Russia’s descent into the abyss, but especially interesting reports on growing ethnic discord as minorities reject Russification policies, and it appears the Russians might be targeting  “assimilated” ethnic Ukrainians, which could be a suicidal move given that anything up to a third of the so called “ethnic Russian” population are descendents of Ukrainian transmigrants over the last 300 years, interesting reports on the Cossack minority (also many allege to be of Ukrainian origin),  and reports the regime is destroying historical records of the Soviet gulags;
  3. More chaos in the Caucasus, while Belarus’ Lukashenko obliquely speculates that Ukraine joining NATO/EU might be better than it staying in the Russian camp (that will sell nicely in Moscow), and Ukraine clobbers Transnistria’s largest industry;
  4. More chaos, and more Russian meddling in the Muslim world;
  5. G7 trade arguments, Nordstream 2 and Gazprom debate, Italy and Austria, SECSTATE Johnson suggests POTUS tactics a good idea, AfD increasing showing its NSDAP sympathies, Hungary’s Orban pushing Muscovite agendas in Balkans, Venezuela meltdown;
  6. Nice essay on AI policy blindness by Kissinger, CSIS on migration crisis, many interesting reports on weps programs and tech – notable Rafael’s MLRS retrofit kit;
  7. Much on Influence and Cyber;
  8. US domestic debate continues along partisan divisions, multiple reports on defense policy, planning and budget debate;

NATO / EU / Russia Reports

Top U.S., Russian Generals To Meet In Helsinki
Joseph Dunford, the U.S. military’s top officer, will meet with his Russian counterpart, Valery Gerasimov, in Helsinki on June 8 as part of talks designed to prevent regional conflicts from escal…
UAWire – NATO plans to fast-track military readiness
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg previewed this week’s meeting of NATO Defence Ministers – the first in the Alliance’s new headquarters – at a press conference on Wednesday (6 June 2018). Ministers are expected to take a series of decisions on the NATO Command Structure and military readiness, discuss plans for a NATO training mission in Iraq, and review progress in achieving more defence spending and better burden sharing. They will also discuss NATO-EU cooperation, and hold a meeting on the Resolute Support training mission in Afghanistan.
America Pitches Its Potential Defense Plan for Europe
The Secretary of Defense will pitch his “30-30-30-30” plan to NATO this week.
Here’s how the US is preparing for a possible Russian attack in Europe
The plans could involve more U.S. troops heading across the Atlantic.
NATO Tells Russia to Stop Meddling, in First Talks since Skripal Case |
NATO addressed Russian attempts to influence both allied and partner countries, using military and non-military techniques. NATO told Russia to put a stop to its “malign activities” against the alliance as the two sides met Thursday for their first political talks since the nerve agent attack on a former Kremlin double agent in Britain. The 29 members of the U.S.-led alliance delivered a “strong, unified message” to Russia, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said, to end its interference in Ukraine and drop its campaign of disinformation and cyber attacks. Relations between NATO and Moscow have plunged to post-Cold War lows in recent years over Russia’s involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, its suspected attempt to assassinate former spy Sergei Skripal in the British city of Salisbury and what the alliance says is a sustained campaign of destabilization waged by the Kremlin. “In a meeting today @NATO, Allies shared a strong, unified message to Russia: Stop interfering in Ukraine & cease malign activities that seek to divide our Alliance,” Bailey Hutchison said in a tweet. The three-hour meeting was the seventh of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) in the last two years, held for the first time at the alliance’s brand-new headquarters in Brussels, which a NATO diplomat described as an “open exchange”. “During today’s meeting, NATO allies addressed Russian attempts to influence both allied and partner countries, using a range of military and non-military techniques,” the diplomat said. “NATO allies expressed their deep concern over a wide range of issues, including cyber-attacks, disinformation campaigns and interference in national elections.”
NATO tells Russia to stop meddling, in first talks since Skripal case – media | UNIAN
NATO told Russia to put a stop to its “malign activities” against the alliance as the two sides met Thursday for their first political talks since the nerve agent attack on a former Kremlin double agent in Britain. NATO allies addressed Russian attempts to influence both allied and partner countries, using a range of military and non-military techniques.
Poroshenko to be invited to NATO summit, – Stoltenberg –
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will be invited to the NATO summit in Brussels. Jens Stoltenberg, the Alliance Secretary-General claimed this on June 7 at the conference in the NATO headquarters as Interfax-Ukraine reported. ‘President Poroshenko will be invited to the NATO summit. We have not decided yet the format and kind of the meeting but he will be invited as we have already decided to hold the meeting of the partners in ‘Determined support’ operation’, Stoltenberg emphasized.
Mattis: Success of defense reform in Ukraine directly connected with U.S., NATO nations security | UNIAN
U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has said successful implementation of defense reform in Ukraine is directly connected with the U.S. and NATO nations security. Mattis praised the great contribution of Ukrainians to defend the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has said successful implementation of defense reform in Ukraine is directly connected with the U.S. and NATO nations security “Successful implementation of defense reform in Ukraine is directly connected with our common security – U.S. and NATO nations security,” Mattis said during a meeting of Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak with U.S., UK, Canada, Lithuania, and Poland defense ministers in Brussels, the press service of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has reported. Mattis praised the great contribution of Ukrainians to defend the territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine. Moreover, talks also dealt with the recent decision to provide Ukraine with a new tranche of the U.S. assistance, which will permit to enhance dynamics and content of the ongoing large-scale reform within the Defense Ministry of Ukraine. “Russia violates the international norms and rights. We have to proceed with high level meetings and assist Ukraine,” Mattis said.
NATO’s open door policy relevant for Ukraine – Stoltenberg – 08.06.2018 09:19 — Ukrinform News
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed the openness of the alliance to new members. He said this at a meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak in Brussels on June 7, when asked about the prospects for Ukraine’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. The open door policy, one of the main NATO principles, is relevant for Ukraine and for other countries, Stoltenberg said. He said it was a historical event that in the new building of the NATO headquarters the Ukrainian defense minister was the first minister from partner countries received by the NATO secretary general. During the meeting Poltorak informed Stoltenberg about the peculiarities of the military and political situation in Ukraine and also talked about reform in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. “We are aware that the future of the Ukrainian state is inextricably linked with membership in the system of collective security and defense of the alliance. Despite the difficult situation in eastern Ukraine, our contribution to the Alliance’s operations will be preserved and increased,” the Defense Ministry quoted Poltorak as saying.
UAWire – Estonian Defense Minister: Ukraine and Georgia should wait for the right moment to join NATO
Estonian Minister of Defense, Jüri Luik, stated that Georgia and Ukraine should prepare for NATO membership and wait for the right moment, the …
UAWire – US reminds Hungary of importance of supporting Ukraine
During a meeting with Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted the importance of supporting Ukraine's …
UAWire – Russia sides with Hungary, calls on NATO to put pressure on Ukraine
The Russian Federation requested the North Atlantic Alliance to put pressure on Ukraine following the country’s changes to provisions of the law …
Hungary to change its position on Euro-Atlantic integration of Ukraine – expert – 04.06.2018 11:48 — Ukrinform News
Bruno Lete, Senior Fellow for Security and Defense Policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, said this in an exclusive comment to Ukrinform’s correspondent in Brussels. “I am hopeful a way out of the impasse will be found soon. The issue is very much present on the Brussels policy agenda, and EU and NATO allies are working with Hungary and Ukraine to find a mediated solution,” the expert said. Speaking about the main reasons for Budapest’s position regarding Kyiv due to the language article of the educational law, Lete noted that they were not caused by the political motives of relations with Russia. “Hungary’s behavior is principally a result of its radical, nationalist agenda at home. The Orban government’s mix of historical legitimization and heroic nationalism is particularly popular among Hungarian voters,” the analyst said. He stressed that there was nothing new in current disagreements between Budapest and Kyiv. Lete recalled that similar problems had also been raised by the Hungarian side in relations with Slovakia and Romania. “Unfortunately, in the case of Ukraine, Kyiv cannot count on the security of EU or NATO membership to limit Hungary’s nationalist agenda,” the expert added. Hungary has blocked meetings of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the level of ministers on several occasions due to claims to the language article of the Ukrainian law on education. At the same time, most NATO politicians, diplomats and experts believe that Budapest will change its position towards Kyiv and will not use bilateral relations to realize its own political interests, which is taking place in the context of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine.
RAW: NATO jets start flying over Montenegro to secure its airspace – YouTube
The Aviationist » Italian Typhoons and Greek F-16s Take Over NATO Air Policing mission over Montenegro
With the symbolic intercept of a Montenegrin Government aircraft, Italian and Greek fighters have kicked off a new NATO Air Policing mission. On Jun. 5, the day of the anniversary of Montenegro’s membership in NATO, the Italian and Hellenic Air Force have started protecting the airspace of Montenegro. The new NATO Air Policing mission kicked off with the simulated intercept of a Montenegrin government Learjet 45 (the aircraft registered 4O-MNE) by two Greek F-16s and two Italian Typhoons. The Montenegrin Minister of Defence Predrag Boškovič, NATO’s representative, Brigadier General Roberto di Marco, Deputy Commander of NATO’s Depoyable Air Command and Control Centre, and the Italian Air Force representative, Major General Silvano Frigerio, watched the fighters flying up to Learjet, signal to the pilots and escort them to a safe landing to the military part of the Podgorica Airport.
NATO Typhoons take to the sky over Montenegro
Italian and Greek warplanes practiced intercepting “intruder” aircraft in the airspace over the Montenegro capital of Podgorica.
Merkel Responds to Macron’s Plan to Overhaul EU With One of Her Own – WSJ
The German chancellor outlined proposals for overhauling and strengthening the architecture of the European Union, including combining nations’ defense capabilities and building a common investment fund for the eurozone.
Air Force Reapers are now flying ISR missions from Poland
The U.S. Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper drone quietly started flights from Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland, in May, but the service isn’t exactly saying why.
UAWire – Sweden’s Home Guard conducting largest exercises since 1975
Sweden is conducting its largest nationwide military exercises since 1975, in which 40 battalions and 22,000 reservists are taking part, The …
How Sweden Is Preparing For Russia to Hack its Election – To Inform is to Influence
ERIK BRATTBERG,  TIM MAURER Summary:  With the election of a new prime minister and parliament in September, Sweden is working to make sure its polls are free from hacking and interference. As campaigning intensified in the French election, the team of now President Emmanuel Macron said it was a target for “fake news” by Russian media and the…
Merkel Teaches Macron the Art of the Possible – Bloomberg
The German chancellor’s response to the Frenchman’s sweeping EU reform proposals isn’t flashy, but at least it’s workable.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Some Damn Thing in the Baltics – Felgengauer on How a European War Could Begin
Paul Goble Staunton, June 6 – An “all-European” war in the coming year is unlikely to begin, Pavel Felgengauer says, particularly as a result of actions much discussed but highly improbable. But tragically, “one must not say that the probability is equal to zero” because “everything could begin as a result of some incident.” After dismissing many of the causes some are talking about such as the establishment of a large American base in Poland, something the Russian military analyst says is highly unlikely, he outlines a scenario that could lead to war ( Let’s say, Felgengauer begins, that “in the sky over the Baltic countries, a Russian and American jet collide. They are constantly flying alongside one another. And a crisis could begin. Then would begin to be fulfilled plans for the raising and relocation of forces.” “At a certain moment,” he continues, “the military in Russia will begin to argue to Putin that it is necessary to immediately occupy the Baltic countries” because “when divisions from Texas arise there, they will create such a powerful place des armes that ‘we won’t be able to do anything.” Occupying the Baltics is necessary, Putin will be told, so that the Americans can’t seize Kaliningrad and then have the opportunity to attack St. Petersburg and Moscow. As a result of this growing crisis, an all-European war could begin.” “For example,” Felgengauer postulates, “both sides push their forces forward. For geographic reasons, Russia does this more quickly. But the West potentially is stronger than Russia: by the size of its population, by its GDP, by its military potential, and by its economy, finances and resources in general.” “All this creates a potentially unstable situation which could lead to war.” But “there is another side of the coin. No one in Europe wants to fight. To threaten one another is something else,” and to engage in proxy conflicts outside of Europe is as well. Indeed, Putin views what he is doing in Ukraine and Syria as a proxy war with the United States. Felgengauer says one can hope that “in the final analysis, all will proceed without a large all-European war. But Russia officially considers the threat of a major war, as the chief of the general staff has said more than once. And such a war thus could begin even tomorrow.” And he adds a warning that Moscow should keep in mind. No one should forget, he says, that “after the end of the Cold War came the disintegration of the USSR. The same thing is possible with Russia now. And not only publicists are talking about this.” Government ministers have mentioned that if Russia spends too much on the military, it could collapse as did the Soviet Union. It is thus “completely possible that Russia will experience a very serious crisis,” and out of such crises, even bigger horrors can emerge.
Russia may lack the funds to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket | Ars Technica
“The development of new boosters is doubtful from a practical perspective.”
Coming Soon to Russia’s Army: 6,000 More Tanks | The National Interest Blog
How is that even possible? We have the details. 

Russia / Russophone Reports

Putin Signs Russian Countersanctions Bill
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that provides for countermeasures against the United States and other countries that imposed sanctions against Russia.
UAWire – $41 billion transferred out of Russia in one year
Russian businesses’ and the wealthiest citizens’ funds continue to flow into offshore zones through the sale of company shares and the issuance …
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ukrainian Diversions on Russian Territory a Real Threat, FSB General Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 5 – FSB General Vladimir Kulishov, head of the Russian border guards service, warns that there is a danger that Ukrainian diversionary groups will enter Russia and carry out terrorist attacks, a danger one analyst sees intensifying at present as a result of the escalation of military actions in the Donbass. Aleksandr Shatilov, dead of the sociology and political science faculty of Russia’s Finance University, seconds Kulishov’s words and says that he expects the danger of Ukrainian penetration of Russian territory and the carrying out of terrorist actions will only grow if violence in the Donbass intensifies ( The 2014 Minsk Accords, he continues, “were intended to reduce tensions not only between Ukraine and the republics of the Donbass but also to normalize Russian-Ukrainian relations. However, alas, this didn’t happen.” Instead, Kyiv with the backing of the United States continued to “provoke tensions” in both directions. Ukrainian forces, he continues, shelled the Donbass and sent in diversionary groups to destabilize the situation. “Approximately the same tactic is being used against Russia, although in somewhat different forms,” including the seizure of the Nord in the Sea of Azov and the involvement of Ukrainian activists in unsanctioned meetings in Russia. “Therefore, Shatilov says, “I would not exclude threats of terrorist actions and diversions on the territory of Russia from Ukraine, especially if Kyiv again provokes an escalation of military actions in the Donbass.” Kulishov and Shatilov’s words, of course, should be read not as a description of Ukrainian plans but of Russian ones that Moscow will hope to blame on Ukraine – and that of course, especially given the reference to the Nord, makes it likely that Russian forces are planning major provocations likely to be followed by new military action against Ukraine.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Historical Memory of Ukrainian ‘Wedge’ in Russian Far East Resurfaces
Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Across what is now the Russian Federation, there are various places where a century ago there were significant and, in some cases, overwhelmingly Ukrainian populations. These were known in Ukrainian as “wedges,” and the largest and most famous o these was in the Far East, the Zelyony klin or “Green Wedge.” (For background on these places, see, and, and the sources cited therein.) The Soviets and the post-Soviet Russians have done everything they could to suppress any memory of these places as Ukrainian outposts, in many cases forcibly reidentifying ethnic Ukrainians as Russians, which in the case of the Zelyony klin reduced the share of Ukrainians in the population from 83 percent in the early 1920s to three percent now. But a certain historical memory continues, and it has now surfaced in an unusual way. A teacher in Russian School No. 30 in the city of Ussurisk in Primorsky kray presented her students with an award showing the Ukrainian coat of arms and flag ( and The teacher made this “mistake,” the After Empire portal says, when she sought the symbols on the Internet. But given Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, this was no laughing matter for local officials who viewed it as anything but funny that a teacher should give students a certificate “with ‘a fascist-Banderite’ Trident” ( “In fact, of course, there wasn’t any mistake,” the portal continues. “For as is well-known a century ago, Ukrainians formed a majority of the population of the Far East and during the years of the Civil War, they even attempted to create [in that region] their own Zelyony Klin Republic.” That is something that clearly not everyone there has forgotten.
Thoroughbreds Or Posers? Russia’s New-Age Cossacks
Members of a Russian socio-military group who call themselves Cossacks have been using their nagaikas to whip up a storm of controversy lately. The origins — and the intentions — of these neo-Cossacks are being hotly debated.
‘Cossacks’ To Bolster Police For World Cup Crowd Control
Russia’s “Cossacks” have been called in to help police control the crowds at soccer’s 2018 World Cup. They have taken up the mantle of the traditional tsarist-era troops, but their recent strong-arm tactics have drawn considerable criticism. (Current Time TV)
Window on Eurasia — New Series: It’s Not Just the Neo-Cossacks: Putin’s Thugs Include Broad Spectrum of Groups
Paul Goble Staunton, June 6 – Ever since people the media identified as Cossacks attacked opposition demonstrators in early May, many in Russia and the West have made two fundamental mistakes about those informal groups that have been involved in attacks on the opposition. On the one hand, many assume that the Cossacks are the main group involved. That is not the case. Instead, they are one of a large number of groups. And on the other, many think that they are operating independently and on their own. In fact, they are controlled and directed by the Kremlin and the FSB. But there is now a group documenting this broader phenomenon and its direction. A group of civic activists has formed a Telegram channel entitled “Data Base: Provocators, Strikebreakers, and Hirelings” ( One of the organizers, Anton Gromov, spoke with Roman Popkov of MBK Media ( In addition to “Cossacks,” Gromov says, this category of organizations include Donbass and Syrian veterans, Anti-Maidan activists, and members of SERB and NOD, as well as other smaller and less well-known groups, all of whom are being “coordinated” by the Center E and the FSB both directly and indirectly. Gromov says that he insists that the word “Cossacks” when used for these people should be put in quotes “because they do not have any relation to genuine Cossacks. As is well-known, in Soviet times, a policy of de-Cossackization was carried out, and it in fact had the form of ethnocide.” “All these people who present themselves now as being Cossacks are really acting a part, mercenaries and opportunists” whom the Putin regime is all too pleased to make use of. Real Cossacks don’t want to have anything to do with such people. One of their number, Mikhail Popov, even works for the project. Overall control of these various groups comes from the Presidential Administration. More strategic guidance is provided by Center E and the FSB. And tactical direction, Gromov suggests, is provided by the law enforcement organs who seek to use these groups against protesters. “All this Chekist-KGB system … is simply a ‘hybrid’” one; in fact, “this is a good term, Gromov says. “They try to create the illusion that these structures are independent, semi-independent, and autonomous. But in fact, [all these various groups from Orthodox fundamentalists to ‘neo-Cossacks to Wagner] are all part of one whole, one system.” “There are people who assure us that Putin doesn’t know about all this; but he of course knows all of this perfectly well,” Gromov says. We are moving toward “the establishment of ‘death squadrons’ in Russia;” and those who think that the regime will stop with people who use whips are deeply mistaken.” “Oneneed only remember the experience of Ukraine when such people, coming out into the streets transformed the cities of the Donbass into hell and a branch of North Korea,” the analyst continues. “The same thing can happen in Russia easily enough. And it will if the powers understand that there is no chance to hold power by buying loyalty via economic means.” But what is especially worrisome, Gromov says, is that these groups have an ideology and therefore they will act without being paid as much as many may think is necessary. “They are already fanatics. Many of them are Nazis or former Nazis” who present themselves as Eurasians. “By the way,” Gromov says, “the so-called ‘Soviet patriots’ however strange this may seem are most humanistic than this public.” As bad as the former were and are, these people are much worse and may do much worse unless they are monitored, countered and then stopped in their tracks. Not surprisingly, the analyst continues, his group is being attacked by those who back these groups, an indication that it is doing the right thing. But it is likely that the group will not be able to remain physically in Russia. Nonetheless, it has big plans that extend far beyond compiling a list documenting actions. Gromov says he hopes to create an analytic center and prepare reports so as to be able to get involved in the defense of human rights, “to support tose suffering and to call attention to the executors and organizers of the terror” now taking place in Putin’s Russia.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Language Plans Dividing Country on Ethnic Lines, Threatening Russia’s Future
Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – Opposition to Vladimir Putin’s plan to make the study of all languages except Russian voluntary has sparked a level of opposition among non-Russians that “ignoring this anger would be extremely dangerous for the country because it has already split Russian society along nationality lines,” Denis Pisaryev writes in today’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The Moscow commentator cites five reasons for this anger, reasons that he suggests Moscow will ignore only at its peril (, a warning underscored by the outbreak of interethnic violence in the depths of the Russian Far East that could presage more elsewhere ( First, Pisaryev says, whatever its supporters say, the draft language law will again divide children along ethnic lines in much the same way they were in Soviet times, something that sparked nationalist tensions at that time and could easily do so ago, educators in various republics say. Second, Ramazan Abdulatipov, the former head of Daghestan, reminds that getting young people to learn Russian while forgetting their own won’t make the pro-Moscow but rather may have exactly the opposite effect. At the end of Soviet times, he says, “those who did not know their own language and weren’t integrated into their own culture and tradition were the ones who became nationalists and extremists.” “Every citizen of Russia must think about the civil rights of all Russians of various naitonalities. That is the path toward stability and development. Any nationalism or efforts to infringe on the rights of anyone on the basis of nationality is anti-cultural and immoral,” in addition to being dangerous. Third, Pisaryev says, many non-Russians are convinced that the draft language law is intended to provoke “a mass turning away from native languages” and thus constitutes “a form of forcible assimilation of the peoples of Russia.” Some may go along for egoistic reasons; but others will resist. Fourth, the new legislation allows for “pressure of the Russian language majority on the non-Russian language minority” and that in turn divides people, leading some to feel they are first class citizens while others are treated as second class. Such feelings will lead to conflicts and even violence. And fifth, according to commentator Maksim Shevchenko, he like many others considers that this move against languages is “only a step toward the future redrawing of the administrative map of the country when national regions will be liquidated and Russia will cease to be a federal state. According to a Tatar commentator, “it seems to me that we stand at the brink of a grandiose conflict. Language contradictions are the main line of division in a multi-national state. In my view,” he says, “we have an outstanding Constitution from the point of view of the observation of the rights and interests of all ethno-linguistic communities.” “But the authorities instead of implementing its provisions,” Amil Sarkarov says, “are acting in the opposite direction. I am ever less inclined to believe that the current bill will enter into force, but if that all the same happens, then any prophylactic measures for preserving inter-ethnnic peace will turn out to be powerless.” That is because, Sarkarov says, “the line of division will become so deep” that no “bindings” will hold things together unless this “anti-constitutional law” is repealed. That this could lead to violent clashes between nationalities is all too real a possibility. Indeed, in a Nanay village in Khabarovsk Kray, ethnic Russians in masks have attacked members of this nationality; and its members in response have threatened to take up arms against these people if the authorities continue to do nothing to stop them. That this is an ethnic conflict and not simply a clash between Russian criminals and members of a numerically small people of the North who occupy valuable land is suggested by several commentaries attached to the original article. Among them, one stands out: “Don’t forget [the Nanais] are local residents, and we here are guests.” “In the years of the war and the construction of Komsomolsk [-na-Amure] how much they helped the Russians! And now think what hatred they have for us!”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Demographic Collapse of Ethnic Russians Behind Putin’s Push for Language Law, Tatar Activist Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 1 – Vladimir Putin has launched Moscow’s latest attack on the non-Russians via the proposed language law because “the demographic situation in Russia is very poor, with the population falling by a million a year, the majority of this loss consisting of ethnic Russians,” Fauziya Bayramova says. “In order to fill this ‘black hole’” which threatens both the country’s economy and its national security, the longtime Tatar activist says, the Kremlin “needs other peoples, but they must enter the population as Russian speakers; that is, they must be transformed into ethnic Russians” ( This new program, she says, is designed to force “all the peoples of Russia, including the Tatars” to produce children who will make up for the falling birthrate among ethnic Russians and who will be “ready to die for the Russian empire. Of course, this isn’t said openly, but everything is going in exactly that direction.” If the study of Russian remains compulsory while the study of non-Russian languages becomes completely voluntary as Putin wants, the younger generation among non-Russians will grow up “without knowing their language or their religion. The Tatar people in the future will be without a national literature, a national culture or a national media.” The notion, promoted by Moscow, that non-Russian families can fill the gap is laughable, Bayramova says. “Not a single family is capable of giving such fundamental knowledge,” and no one should deceive himself about that. “An individual thinks, writes, and creates in the language in which he gets an education. That is axiomatic.” According to the Tatar activist, Putin’s goals in this regard have been on public record since at least December 2012 when he signed the strategy paper on “the government’s nationality policy of Russia.” That document says that “there will be eonly one nation in the country, the nation of [non-ethnic] Russians.” “And this [non-ethnic] Russian nation must be created on the basis of the [ethnic] Russian people and receive its spiritual code,” in Putin’s vision, Bayramova says. In such a case, “there won’t remain any place for Tatars or for other peoples; the Russian ‘black whole’ will swallow them all up.” “I warned about this danger already at the 2nd Congress of the World Congress of Tatars in August 1997. At that time I spoke about it when Tatars themselves with their own hands were creating [cultural] autonomies across Russia. Don’t you think that this will happen with the national republics? And that Tatarstan will be transformed into a national-cultural autonomy?” According to Bayramova, “Moscow has decided to construct a nation where only one people – the [ethnic] Russians – will dominate. Does the leadership of Tatarsstan understand the entire danger? If they do, why aren’t they reacting and telling their own people the truth” about Moscow’s intentions? “Does the people understand the nature of the tragedy that awaits it? Why are the institutes of language and literature, the Mill Shura, and the Congress of Tatars silent? Why hasn’t an all national kurultai been convened to discuss this? When the draft law is adopted, it will be already too late. And it will be adopted.” “Why aren’t Shaymiyev and Minnikhanov meeting with Putin? If they consider that there is no sense already in negotiating with Moscow, then perhaps the time has come to appeal to international organizations and courts? Perhaps, the time has come to recall the Declaration about Sovereignty and the results of the referendum.” Indeed, Bayramova says, no one should be “afraid to lose their cushy positions. What is at risk is the loss of an entire people. That is much more dangerous.” No one should be fooled with talk about home schooling of the language. “Today, that may happen; but tomorrow, it won’t. Such measures cannot satisfy the requirements of an entire people. If we lose national schools in the republic, the people will be lost, they will lose their roots, and they’ll be spread about the world and disappear.” “To bring them all back together will be impossible,” the Tatar activist says. By that time, she warns, “all the non-Russian peoples of Russia will fall into Moscow’s ‘black hole.’”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Ethnic Insults for Non-Russians Come from the Army and Militia, Semiotician Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 4 – Following the disintegration of the USSR, Kseniya Knorre-Dmitriyeva says, many Russians began using ethnic slurs about other nations both within the Russian Federation and in the post-Soviet states, terms which had their origins in either military or criminal jargon “where nationality always played a particular role.” “In the army, Uzbeks were called ‘Uryuks,’ Daghestanis ‘Dags,’ and so on, the semiotician says. In the army “everyone always knew who was who by nationality, even though few civilians could distinguish a Daghestani from an Ingush” ( And “in such closed communities, groups often are formed on the basis of where people are from.” As to the expression “persons of Caucasian nationality,” she continues, that “was borrowed by the newspapers at the end of the 1980s from the language of militia protocols” when the militia began focusing on ethnic crime. That and not the earlier use of the term “persons of Jewish nationality” is the explanation for its widespread appearance especially in the early 1990s. The former term, she suggests, “undoubtedly was more correct because Jewish nationality, in contrast to a Caucasian one, exists; and the new expression arose on this basis.” Knorre-Dmitriyeva’s observation is important as a corrective to the widespread assumption both among Russians and among Russian specialists in the West that “persons of Caucasus nationality” was a direct expansion of “persons of Jewish nationality” and had equally ominous terms for members of the former that the latter did for Jews in the last days of Stalin. But her conclusion is even more important because they show the ethnicizing rather than integrating role of the military and the police not only in Soviet times but subsequently, a reminder that military and militia service heightens ethnic awareness and sensitivities rather than reduces them as many in Moscow are inclined to think.
Siberia Activists Urge Government To Keep Mandatory Yakut Lessons
Dozens of activists protested in the Siberian city of Yakutsk against a plan by Russian federal authorities to abolish mandatory Yakut language lessons at schools.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Events in Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus Behind Putin’s Push on Languages, Oreshkin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 5 – Many have wondered why Vladimir Putin waded into nationality policy last July with his call to make the study of all non-Russian languages voluntary while keeping instruction in Russian compulsory, a position that has proved to be extremely unpopular among non-Russians. But there is a good explanation, political geographer Dmitry Oreshkin says, and it is this: “Putin is beginning to feel a loss of control … looking at what is taking place in Ukraine or more accurately in Belarus and also in Kazakhstan, the center feels that if things proceed further, something like a ‘Tatarstan identity’ will appear” ( And so a decision was made in the Kremlin to “quietly prevent that,” the scholar says. But it hasn’t proved as quiet as Putin had hoped. In reporting this, Rosbalt journalist Leonid Smirnov notes that putting Putin’s idea into law is more complicated than many imagined. First, he cites the fact that many non-Russian parents don’t want their children to study non-Russian languages or perhaps even Russian but rather English or some other foreign language. Second, he reports that the authors of the legislation have agreed to form yet another working group to draft revisions in the bill because as one of its authors Alena Arshinova notes, “we have to think together how to motivate children and their parents to study native languages without using administrative methods.” And third, he cites the observation of Academician Valery Tishkov, former director of the Moscow Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology and close advisor to Putin on ethnic issues, that whatever the law says, Russia will have to live with regional differences in how languages are handled because the situations in some republics are so different than they are in others.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Repeating Stalin’s Genocide with ‘New Hybrid Deportation of Crimean Tatars,’ Kostyuk Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 2 – Seventy years after Stalin expelled 200,000 Crimean Tatars from their homeland, Vladimir Putin is doing it again, albeit in a “new” and “hybrid” format, something that reflects the recrudescence of Stalinism under Putin and the desire of the current Kremlin leader to escape criticism and responsibility for his crimes, Dmitry Kostyuk says. In 1944, using NKVD forces, Moscow deported the entire Crimean Tatar nation on the same day. Now, since the Russian occupation began in 2014, Putin’s forces have oppressed the 250,000 Crimean Tatars in their homeland to such an extent that approximately 20,000 have left already and many more, because of Russian repression, are being encouraged to leave. Meanwhile, although Moscow has been careful not to advertise this fact and has denied it when others report it, the Russian occupation authorities has introduced thousands of ethnic Russians, thus using repression to change the ethnic makeup of the population and meeting the internationally accepted definition of genocide, albeit in a slow-motion “hybrid” fashion. Kostyuk, a journalist for Kyiv’s Espreso TV, notes that “as the legal successor of the Soviet Union, Russia has not paid a single kopeck for the crimes of the communist regime.” But worse yet, “the Stalinist experience of struggle with opponents of the regime also has remained in place” ( According to Eskender Bariyev, a member of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, Moscow has unleased “widespread repressions against the Crimean Tatars and pro-Ukrainian activists” including misuse of the judicial system, direct repression by law-enforcement agents, and open display of xenophobia toward the Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. The Espreso journalist says that “following the hybrid war against Ukraine has thus come a hybrid deportation of the Crimean Tatars,” an action as a result of which “they are forced to leave their Motherland because of unbearable conditions” that the occupiers have put in place to achieve that end. He cites the conclusion of Yury Smelyansky, an expert on Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories for the Maidan of Foreign Affairs, that “the policy of Russia in Crimea is one of colonization which in turn is motivated by the military ambitions of the Kremlin. To carry them out, he says, they must “destroy any threat to their rule in Crimea.” It is universally recognized that “the main danger for the Kremlin regime on the peninsula comes from the Crimean Tatars,” who will “never support the Russian occupier” and who hope that Kyiv’s efforts in international courts will ease their situation and ultimately lead to an end to the Russian occupation. Failing that, ever more of them will leave. Various international bodies, including the United Nations, have issued decisions in support of the Crimean Tatars and condemning Russian actions, but “today,” Kostyuk says, “Russia ignores this decision as it does the demands of the Ukraine side for compensation” of the property of Crimean Tatars who have been forced to leave. All indications are that the situation on the ground is deteriorating. On May 23, Refat Chubarov, the head of the Mejlis, said the occupation authorities were readying a major operation intended to arrest large numbers of Crimean Tatars and frighten others into leaving the peninsula. “As long as Putin considers himself Stalin’s heir,” Kostyuk says, “he will try to complete the task begun by his predecessor of the destruction of ‘a hostile people’ and repress the indigenous population of Crimea.” As a result, “with each passing day, the annexed peninsula is becoming ever more russified.” “Thousands of Russians have been resettled from the Russian Federation, and citizens of Ukraine have been confronted by a difficult choice: resistance and jail or emigration and loss of property. There is also a third possibility: trying to survive with the hope that the peninsula will be returned to Ukraine.” The Crimean Tatars have won “a small number of small victories,” such as the liberation of Akhtem Chiygoz and Ilmi Umerov,” and that gives at least some of them the hope that they can hold out and survive the latest genocidal tragedy that Moscow is visiting upon their long-suffering people.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Novocherkassk Shootings Displayed Everything One Needs to Know about Soviet Regime
Paul Goble Staunton, June 5 – Fifty-six years ago this week, the Soviet military fired into a crowd of workers in Novocherkassk who were protesting the latest increase in prices without an increase in wages. Twenty-six people were killed and more than 100 wounded; and then those charged as organizers were tried, with seven sentenced to death and others up to 15 years in prison. “In this history,” Russian commentator Mikhail Pozharsky says, “is approximately everything one needs to know about the Soviet Union.” A year before this, “the Soviet government launched the first man into space (there were means enough for that), and six months later, it put nuclear rockets in Cuba (there were means enough for that too).” “But in the interval between these two events,” the Soviet government “sent forces to shoot its own population which was unhappy that it did not have enough money for meat and sausages” ( “But there is in this history, one delicious nuance,” Pozharsky says. And that is this, as British historian Geoffrey Hosking has documented. Marie Antoinette became infamous for saying that if the people don’t have enough bread, “let them eat cake,” but fewer people are aware that the Novocherkassk factory director in front of whom the workers were shot said something equally insensitive and horrific. “If they don’t have money for meat and sausages,” he said, “let them each liver pies.” That comment, Hosking suggests, possibly became the spark that led to the explosion of popular anger in that southern Russian city in 1962, anger that was reflected both in their partisan-like actions and also their own slogan: “Let’s make sausages out of Khrushchev.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russians have Three Serious Misconceptions about 1993 Constitution and Its Implications, Shelin Says
Paul Goble Staunton, June 6 – Twenty-five years ago this week, Boris Yeltsin convened a constitutional convention in Moscow which produced a draft that was then ratified by referendum after “a small civil war” took place in which Yeltsin crushed “the Khasbulatov parliament,” Sergey Shelin says. Because of that congeries of events, the Rosbalt commentator continues, most “thinking” Russians continue to have three serious misconceptions about the Constitution and its consequences, misconceptions that get in the way of focusing on the real political problems of Russia today ( First of all, he says, many believe to this day that “the deputies of 1993 led by Khasbulatov and Rutskoy, even though they weren’t bearers of the idea of progress, were all the same fighters for democracy, while the supporters of Yeltsin, albeit possibly more advanced, brought authoritarianism” to Russia. Second, according to Shelin, many think that “the existing Constitution, composed by Yeltsinites and liberals who came to his service gave the first and succeeding Russian presidents unlimited power. And third, they think that “our present-day regime systematically violates this Constitution” and the rights, freedoms and democratic principles listed therein. “All three of these theses,” Shelin argues, “are incorrect.” When the Soviet Union fell, both Yeltsin and the deputies both “instinctively sought to restore” the kind of power vertical that had existed in Soviet times. “They sincerely did not understand that the rights of the bosses could be limited or even more divided.” Those things might have to be tolerated for a time but not for long. What the fight in the early 1990s was about, a fight in which the Constitution was used by one side as a weapon, was not about such values but rather about who would structure the power vertical, the president or the parliament. That led to the events of October 1993. Both sides in this fight sounded equally committed to democracy – “in that revolutionary atmosphere, to proclaim anything else would have been simply impossible” – “but both the one side and the other “understood that any constitutional provision, if you have power in your hands, is easily redefined and turned to your use.” Moreover, both sides aspired to control the power vertical and at the same time neither wanted to face the voters lest the other mobilize the population against them, Shelin argues. Yeltsin got the upper hand both by convening a Constitutional Convention and by his referendum on elections, remembered for its “yes, yes, no, yes” required outcome. The Constitution was and is remarkably democratic, but it is also subject to the kind of interpretations that those who believed a power vertical was necessary as was the case on both sides of the 1993 debate. Thus, the Constitution did not make Russia an autocracy: longstanding political values simply resurfaced to make it so. And in formal terms, Shelin argues, even Putin observes the Constitution but uses it for his purposes rather than anyone else’s. Again, that is not the fault of the document, of Yeltsin or of Khasbulatov. That is a problem of a deeply ingrained Russian political tradition on how the state should be run.
UAWire – Putin dismisses the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Crimea
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the heads of the Crimean Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Sergey …
After being implicated in a bribery scandal, a top Moscow investigator reportedly resigns — Meduza
Alexander Drymanov, the head of Moscow’s Investigative Committee, has reportedly submitted his resignation, sources told the magazine RBC. Drymanov took the job in December 2015, after managing the agency’s criminal investigations department, where he worked cases involving war crimes.
Religion and Violence in Russia | Center for Strategic and International Studies
Religious violence is surely as old as both faith and fighting themselves. In the Russian Federation, as elsewhere in the world, religious teachings and philosophies are used both to justify and combat violence. But what forms does this take, and with what implications for Russian society, Russian policy, and Russia’s future? This volume examines the many ways in which religion and violence intersect in Russia, and offers recommendations for both policymakers and scholars as they chart paths forward. Presenting the results of original research by collaborative teams of Russian and western authors, it takes on topics from violent radical Islamic jihadism to religious propaganda employed by violent right-wing groups; from repression of religious communities to conflict within religious confessions. In each case, it offers not only new analysis, but prospective policy solutions to make Russia and Russians of all religions (and no religion) safer and more secure.
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Kerch Bridge Playing Evil Trick on Crimean Occupiers, Russian Commentator Admits
Paul Goble Staunton, June 7 – The Russian occupation authorities in Crimea have justified all the problems residents of that Ukrainian peninsula have faced over the last four years by arguing that they are the result of the blockade, sanctions, and the difficulties of integrating the region into the Russian Federation. As long as occupied Crimea was hermetically sealed off from the world, the occupiers had some success with those arguments; but the opening of the Kerch Bridge, which allows thousands of them to visit the Russian Federation is undermining the effectiveness of such arguments, Russian analyst Sergey Ilchenko says. As a result, he says, the authorities in Crimea “like the knight at the crossroads,” must choose one of three possible approaches for the future: “closing the bridge so that people won’t be able to see Kuban realities, retire from office, or begin to work” in a serious way to improve things ( Last weekend alone, nearly 50,000 residents of Crimea crossed the bridge into Russia. Conversations with some of them, the commentator says, show that they were impressed by how good things were compared to what they have become used to in occupied Crimea. Ilchenko suggests that given such comparisons, they are likely to become far more demanding. Consequently, if the occupation authorities don’t change course and bring real improvements in the lives of the people of Crimea, they will lose whatever support they now have. That could force Moscow to crack down even more harshly than it has, an approach that will likely increase the number of its opponents on the Ukrainian peninsula.
Garbage Politics in Russia: Is Russia’s Garbage Politics Challenging Putin’s Governance?
Garbage Politics in Russia: Protests against garbage dumps have erupted in at least eight towns and villages around Moscow in the last six months.
Photos of Russian Orthodox Old Believers Living in Siberia
These Russian Orthodox Old Believers live a life occupied by religion and nature.
Opposition Activist In Altai Krai Flees Russia, Fearing For Safety
A prominent opposition activist and public figure in Russia’s Altai Krai region, Aidar Kudirmekov, has fled the country in fear for his safety.
Apple Reportedly No Longer Complying With Russian Ban On Telegram
Apple is no longer complying with a Russian ban on Telegram and is now providing an updated version of the popular messaging service through its App store for iPhone users, Telegram said.
Moscow Student Faces Criminal Charge In World Cup Vandalism Probe
A student at a prestigious Moscow university says police have accused him of vandalism after he was detained with two others in connection with a protest against a campus “fan zone” for this month’s World Cup.
‘We’ve lost all hope’: the investment scandal wrecking Russian lives | Cities | The Guardian
For years, thousands of Russians have been paying mortgages on homes that remain alarmingly unfinished. The ‘defrauded co-investors’ have found a voice – but will the Kremlin listen?
Russia is killing stray dogs. World Cup stars must help stop the slaughter | Chas Newkey-Burden | Opinion | The Guardian
As the World Cup approaches, street dogs are being ruthlessly eliminated. Fifa and animal-loving footballers must step up, says author and journalist Chas Newkey-Burden
Most Russians Unhappy That Medvedev Remains PM
A new survey shows that a majority of Russians are unhappy that President Vladimir Putin’s “tandem” partner, Dmitry Medvedev, has been appointed to a new term as prime minister.
Ukrainian Activist Kolchenko Stops Hunger Strike In Russian Prison
Ukrainian activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, who is serving 10-year prison term in Russia on extremism charges that he and his supporters consider politically motivated, has stopped his hunger strike, h…
Jailed Ukrainian Filmmaker Could Be Force-Fed, Lawyer Says
Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who opposed Moscow’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and is now on a hunger strike in a Russian prison colony, could be force-fed if his vital organs begin to fail, according to his lawyer.
Russian Doctors Will ‘Force-Feed’ Sentsov, Lawyer Says
Doctors have warned Ukrainian director Oleh Sentsov, who is on hunger strike in a Russian prison colony, that he will be force-fed if his vital organs start to fail. Sentsov is serving a 20-year sentence on terror charges criticized in the West as politically motivated. His lawyer, Dmitry Dinze, was speaking after visiting Sentsov on June 4.
FIFA Chief Downplays Rights Concerns Ahead Of World Cup In Russia
The president of soccer’s world governing body downplayed concerns about racism, human rights, and security and instead praised Russia on June 6, saying it is “100 percent ready” to host the World …
Autistic Teen’s Mother Fights For Justice Over Rape Complaints In Russian Region
Federal investigators took the rare step of overturning their North Ossetian colleagues over lurid rape allegations by a young autistic woman.
Kira Muratova, Prominent Soviet-Era Film Director, Dead At 83
Kira Muratova, an award-winning director, screenwriter, and actress whose films were celebrated and censored in the Soviet era, has died at the age of 83.
Russia Secretly Orders Destruction of Gulag Prisoners’ Records, Media Warns
Russian officials are reportedly destroying the records of gulag prisoners under a secret order passed in 2014, Russian media have reported. An estimated 3-12 million victims of Soviet repression were imprisoned in the gulag network of prisons and forced labor camps in the former Soviet Union. Registration records kept by the Museum of the History of the Gulag, now threatened with destruction, include the permanent records of those killed, as well as archival files detailing those who survived the gulag and when they were released.
Excavation in Russia to find graves of Mikhail Romanov and British aid | Daily Mail Online
One century after they were shot dead by Bolshevik officers, a major effort is being made to find Mikhail Romanov and his secretary Nicholas Johnson near the Russian city of Perm.
LGBTQ Russians Are Fleeing To NYC, But They Still Face Hostility | HuffPost
Following Russia’s 2013 anti-gay “propaganda” law, applications for U.S. asylum from Russia have increased every year.
UAWire – Egypt rejects 63 tons of Russian grain
Russian grain traders once again have problems supplying the primary export market. Egypt, which accounts for roughly one quarter of all Russia’ …

Central Asia / Caucasus Reports

U.S. Envoy Travels To Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch is due to discuss consular-protection issues and U.S. visas during his June 3-9 trip to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, the U.S…
Georgian Protest Leader Says ‘System Must Be Destroyed’ As Demonstrations Continue
Hundreds of people gathered again in central Tbilisi for a fourth night of antigovernment rallies.
Georgia’s ‘Ordinary Man’ Leads Revolt Against Government After Son’s Death
“Politics means nothing” to protest leader as he seeks Georgian government’s resignation amid alleged coverup after son’s death.
Georgian Protest Leader Gives Authorities Progress Ultimatum
The father of one of the two Georgian teenagers whose deaths have triggered massive protests in Tbilisi says his meeting with the prime minister has not altered his determination to fight against t…
Homemade Hydropower In North Ossetia
Akhshar Varziyev used old mining machinery to turn the power of a mountain river into electricity for his village.
Two Alleged Militants Killed In Russia’s Ingushetia
Russian authorities said two alleged militants have been killed in a counterterrorism operation in the North Caucasus region of Ingushetia.
Azerbaijan Court Rejects RFE/RL’s Appeal Against Website Blockage
A court in Baku has rejected an appeal by RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service against the blockage of its website,, backing a move that has been condemned by rights groups and Western governments.

Belarus Reports

Ukraine’s accession to NATO not the worst option – Lukashenko – 04.06.2018 10:26 — Ukrinform News
Ukraine’s accession to NATO could be a good option for Belarus and Russia, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has said. He said this on June 1 during his visit to the Divin border post in the Kobrin district, which borders Ukraine, where he got acquainted with measures to ensure border security of the country and measures to protect the state border, according to Belarusian news agency BELTA. According to the report, the head of state mentioned the situation in Ukraine in terms of prospects for the development of the geopolitical situation in the region. According to him, there is a certain uncertainty in this issue. “If Ukraine joins NATO, it’s one thing. If it doesn’t, it’s another situation. If ultra nationalist trends with the desire to be at war with everyone prevail there, it’s a third situation, a more complicated one,” he said. Lukashenko also added: “Russia is afraid of Ukraine joining NATO. I often tell Russians that there may come a time when we will be happy that Ukraine is part of NATO instead of becoming a country ruled by bandits and warlords. If it does become such a country, it won’t be a picnic for Russia, Belarus, and the rest of the world.” It was also noted during the trip that Belarus plans to completely complete the infrastructure on the border with Ukraine before 2024.
Belarusian Leader Says May Reinstate Russian Border Controls
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says his country could reinstate border controls with Russia if recent spot checks conducted by Moscow continue for a long period.
Belarus Could Enact Law To Prosecute ‘Fake News’
The Prosecutor-General’s Office in Belarus is drafting legislation that would enable the state to prosecute people suspected of spreading “false” information on the Internet.
Belarus’s President condemns Russia’s attempt to monopolize victory in WWII,
The President of Belarus noted that not only Russians participated in WWII, but also other nations – Belarusians, Ukrainians, Georgians, Armenians, Tajiks, Turkmen
Unreal: Belarusian Activist Jailed For Fake Protest
Pyotr Markelau was arrested after he used Photoshop to create a photo of himself holding a placard in front of the Interior Ministry in Minsk.

Transnistria / Moldova Reports

UAWire – Constitutional Court of Moldova recognizes the law on combating Russian propaganda as legitimate
On Monday, June 4, the Constitutional Court of Moldova recognized that the law “on combating Russian propaganda” is in fact consistent with the …
UAWire – Moldova abolishes law granting Russian language interethnic status
The Constitutional Court of Moldova recognized that the law on language statuses, which was adopted in 1989, was outdated. The law defines the …
‘Let’s Remain United,’ Moldova’s Pro-European Parties Say After Chisinau Election Win
Andrei Nastase, the mayor-elect of Moldova’s capital, called on “pro-European, anti-oligarchic” voters and forces to remain united for parliamentary elections later this year.
Russia-Friendly, Pro-European Moldovan Candidates Face Off In Chisinau Runoff
Voters in Moldova’s capital are heading to the polls on June 3 for the second round of a snap mayoral election that is seen as a test for the country’s political parties ahead of parliamentary polls later this year.
Ukraine Puts a Dent in Transnistria’s Separatist Steel Industry –
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last week extended the list of companies subject to economic sanctions by including the Ribnita Steelworks (MMZ) – one of the main sources of income for the breakaway Moldova’s separatist region of Transnistria. Sanctions involve freezing assets, limiting trade, preventing procurement or any other capital withdrawal anywhere in Ukraine. Taken on its own, the move may suggest another step designed to inflict more damage on the Russian oligarchs who own the plant, in keeping with the thousands of entities currently sanctioned for the annexation of Crimea and their alleged links with war operations in Donbas. However, the time chosen to blacklist the plant coincided with ‘5+2’ format negotiations in Rome (May 28-29). This was not a coincidence. The sanctions are backed by Ukrmetallurgprom, whose CEO Oleksandr Kalenkov, has demanded radical measures from the government to prevent Ribnita operating in Ukraine: until now it was procuring over 20 per cent of Ukraine’s scrap metal. Since Ukrmetallurgprom recently signed a deal with World Steel Dynamics (USA) aimed at increasing cooperation and integration with EUROFER, in central and eastern Europe, sanctions can be viewed as a logical step towards consolidating the metallurgical field and deterring unfair competition.

Russia / Iran / Syria / Iraq / OEF Reports

US Officials Just Mislabeled a Syrian Terror Group as al Qaeda. Worse, They’re Missing a Far Bigger Threat – Defense One
The HTS group is not part of al Qaeda, but at loggerheads with it. Meanwhile, a smaller group is plotting global jihad.
Afghan Clerics Label Suicide Attacks a Sin. Then, a Bomber Strikes Their Meeting. – WSJ
A suspected Islamic State suicide bomber struck a meeting of Afghanistan’s top clerics and religious scholars in the capital, killing 14 people. KABUL, Afghanistan—A suspected Islamic State suicide bomber struck a meeting of Afghanistan’s top clerics and religious scholars in the capital on Monday, killing 14 people shortly after the large gathering declared such suicide attacks a sin and the country’s 17-year war illegal under Islamic law. The Afghan branch of Islamic State said through its Amaq news agency that it carried out the attack, which occurred as the meeting of the Afghan Ulema Council was adjourning and attendees were departing the assembly grounds. The Taliban, Afghanistan’s largest insurgency, denied any involvement in the bombing. Islamic State’s affiliate here, which has claimed responsibility for a spate of attacks in Kabul in recent months, is under intense military pressure from U.S. Special Forces and from stepped-up U.S. airstrikes in eastern Nangarhar province, its Afghan stronghold.
‘Everybody Is Scared’: Pakistani Media Fighting — And Losing — Battle With ‘Extreme’ Censorship
A free press has long been under attack in Pakistan, and things are getting worse instead of better.
Israeli Security services foiled an alleged terror plot against Netanyahu | Fox News
Israel’s Shin Bet security service says it has uncovered a plot to target Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Plot to assassinate Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem mayor thwarted
Muhammad Jamal Rashdeh, 30, from the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, also planned to target the US Consulate in Jerusalem and visiting Canadian officials, the Jerusalem Post reported.
After Military Push in Syria, Russia Plays Both Sides in Libya – WSJ
Russia has staked a foothold in Libya’s future by cultivating allies on both sides of the country’s conflict, through business ties with the U.N.-backed government and public backing for its chief opponent, Khalifa Haftar.
🇱🇾 Libya fighting: Haftar’s forces enter Derna city | Al Jazeera English – YouTube
Al Jazeera English Published on Jun 7, 2018 Fighters loyal to veteran military commander Khalifa Haftar have entered the eastern city of Derna. The city has been held by an al-Qaeda linked group, but the self-styled Libyan National Army has besieged it for two years. The UN says fighting has reached unprecedented levels, and there are severe shortages of basic supplies. Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdelwahed reports from Tripoli.

Foreign Policy Reports

Trump Likely To Get Chilly Reception At G-7 As Allies Bristle At U.S. Moves : NPR
President Trump’s G-7 trip will take place as tensions rise between the United States and some of its closest allies, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump trades insults with leaders of France and Canada on eve of G-7 summit
It may or may not be a trade war. But it’s definitely a Twitter war. Just a few hours before a major G-7 economic summit in Quebec, President Trump traded insults over trade with a leader who is supposed to be one of his closest personal friends on the world stage, French President Emmanuel Macon.
Trump attacks EU and Canada on trade amid backlash ahead of G7 summit | Reuters
Leaders of the Group of Seven rich nations headed for a summit in Canada on Thursday more divided than at any time in the group’s 42-year history, as U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies risk causing a global trade war and deep diplomatic schisms.
New tariffs risk turning U.S. whiskey sour
Austria’s right-wing government plans to shut seven mosques and could expel dozens of imams in what it said was “just the beginning” of a push against radical Islam and foreign funding of religious groups that Turkey condemned as racist.
With Trump tensions high, Merkel reaches out to Macron on Europe | Reuters
Germany’s Angela Merkel has offered her most detailed response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s ideas for reforming Europe, seeking to avert a damaging rift with Paris at a time of high anxiety over Italy and growing transatlantic tensions.
UAWire – Angela Merkel sees no reason why Russia should be restored in G8
German Chancellor Angela Merkel feels that the decision to exclude Russia from the international G8 forum was correct, and she sees no reason …
Trump calls for Russia to be included in meetings of powers like G-7
Russia got pushed out of the group of G-8 nations following its annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Donald Trump’s G7 temper tantrum – CNNPolitics
President Donald Trump’s views on foreign policy — and, really, everything — are surprisingly simple: He likes people who are nice to him and do things he wants and he doesn’t like people who aren’t nice to him and don’t do things he wants.
Top British diplomat on Trump: There is a ‘method in his madness’ | TheHill
U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Thursday that he is growing to admire President Trump, saying there is a “method in his madness.”
Boris Johnson suggests Trump could handle Brexit better than May – CNN
Boris Johnson said he has grown “increasingly admiring” of Trump and suggested the President would handle Brexit talks better than Theresa May in private remarks at a dinner.
Boris Johnson suggests U.K. needs to act like Trump on Brexit
Boris Johnson was recorded praising President Donald Trump and suggesting he might achieve more in Brexit talks, according to audio obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Italy’s New Government Goes Full Trump
Twitter tirades, nationalistic rhetoric, race-baiting, and immigrant-bashing—no, this is not America, this is the new Italy.
Trump Is Choosing Eastern Europe – Defense One
That is the subtext of the mini-crises sparked by his ambassador to Germany and of a recent speech by the assistant secretary of state for Europe.
The European Union will not unravel – commentary
There is no constituency strong enough to wreck the European project, Michael Ivanovitch writes.
United States of Europe moves CLOSER as Merkel backs Macron EU reforms | World | News |
ANGELA Merkel has backed key planks of Emmanuel Macron’s vision for an ever-closer European Union for the first time, including a joint EU army and financial rescue fund.
Ukraine’s permanent envoy in the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko is elected the Vice President of the 73rd session of UN General Assembly – Ukraine’s Volodymyr Yelchenko elected Vice President of 73rd session of UN General Assembly –
Ukraine’s permanent envoy in the UN Volodymyr Yelchenko is elected the Vice President of the 73rd session of UN General Assembly
U.S. Close to Imposing Sanctions on European Companies in Russian Pipeline Project – Foreign Policy
The decision would test already fraught relations with Germany, other allies.
Gazprom caught up in a scandal with a report of Sberbank analyst – Corruption in Gazprom as an instrument for fighting Russia –
Chairman of the Board of PJSC Gazprom Alexey Miller In the world information milieu, we often face not only Freudian slips, but also Freudian bans. Though this phrase is not that nice-sounding but this is what it is. As you know, analyst of “Sberbank of Russia” Alexander Fek was dismissed from the analytical service of the bank on personal instructions of the chairman of the board of German Gref. Usually, analysts are fired for errors in forecasts. But they do it quietly, no fuss, no muss. After all, a bad analyst is rather a dark stain on the bank’s reputation, not a stain on his own suit. Banks are not accustomed to admitting that they made a mistake in their forecasts. But firing after public obstruction, and even with the blessing of the first is something unusual. At that moment, dozens of Ukrainian analysts happily exhaled – in Ukraine, it would work in another way. It is in this situation you begin to feel that “Ukraine is not Russia,” as ex-president Kuchma used to say. The report by Alexander Fek touches the tabooed issue for the Russian establishment – “Gazprom and its team”, more precisely the plan for capital investments of the gas monopoly for the coming years. Russian analyst has quite clearly identified the main problems of infrastructure costs of the largest Russian company: economically unjustified (most projects do not develop new sales markets, but only improve the approaches to them); unprofitable: the payback period of various projects refer to the second half of the twenty-first century, when taking into account the industrial revolution 4.0. and the transition to the sixth-seventh technological order, the role of traditional hydrocarbons in the structure of the energy balance of the world economy could decrease significantly. In addition, the projects prepared by the analyst are non-transparent in terms of their implementation (the procedure for financing and selecting general contractors), and also politically motivated when only the naive presentation remains in the economy. In fact, Fake’s analytical report is a unique memo for various monitoring bodies, and it is not about the Investigative Committee, but about Western structures that fight against corruption and money laundering, especially in the European environment. As the analytical report showed, it is not about Gazprom itself, but rather about the conglomerate of its counterparties, including ultimate beneficiaries, who, as a rule, coincide with the participants in the Kremlin list. At the moment, Gazprom has one basic external sales market (Europe) and a mythical reserve market (China). Let us start with the first one. Supplies of natural gas from Russia to European countries increased from 138 billion cubic meters in 2010 to 158 billion in 2015 and 178 billion in 2016. The cluster of European consumers that have concluded contracts with Gazprom can be divided into two basic market segments. The first includes the countries of Western, Northern, and Southern Europe, including Turkey. Russians have delivered 156 billion cubic meters last year to this market, primarily to Germany (almost 53.44 billion), Italy (24 billion), UK (16 billion), Turkey (29 billion), France (12 billion), and Austria (more than 9 billion). The second direction of supply is the countries of Central Europe and the Balkans. The capacity of this segment of the market amounted to more than 36.3 billion cubic meters in 2017, Poland (10.5 billion), Hungary (5.8 billion), Czechia (5.8 billion), Bulgaria (3,3 billion), Slovakia (4.6 billion).
Gazprom turns to Swiss court due to seizure of assets in the Netherlands –
Russian state-run gas company Gazprom addressed the Swiss court, complaining about the seizing of its assets in the Netherlands. Russian state-run gas company Gazprom addressed the Swiss court, complaining about the seizing of its assets in the Netherlands. RBC Ukraine reported this with the reference to the company’s press service. ‘The company filed an appeal for the consideration of the Swiss court, which aims to get the full access to the case materials, and the further appeal against the actions of the Dutch side’, Gazprom said. The company plans to submit another appeal to the Dutch court. The Russian side also insists it still has not got any official notifications about the beginning of the asset freeze due to the execution of the Stockholm arbitrary court’s decision.
Court partially rejects ecologists’ claim against Nord Stream 2, – Court partially rejects ecologists’ claim against Nord Stream 2 –
Court partially rejects ecologists’ claim against Nord Stream 2.
German lawmakers cite NSA and Facebook scandals in rejecting US drone tech
The debate over a new German weapons-capable drone showcases mistrust by some politicians in Berlin toward U.S.-made defense equipment.
German prosecutors apply for Puigdemont’s extradition | News | Al Jazeera
The former Catalan leader is wanted in Spain on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds.
German prosecutors make fresh bid to rearrest Puigdemont | Fox News
German prosecutors are making a new request to have former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont taken into custody pending an extradition ruling.
Austria to shut down mosques, expel foreign-funded imams | Reuters
Austria’s right-wing government plans to shut seven mosques and could expel dozens of imams in what it said was “just the beginning” of a push against radical Islam and foreign funding of religious groups that Turkey condemned as racist.
Austria to shut 7 mosques and could expel dozens of imams | News | Al Jazeera
Government action is part of its crackdown on ‘political Islam’ – a move Turkey called ‘anti-Islam’ and ‘racist’.
AFD chief rebuked for playing down Nazis in German history | Reuters
German politicians rebuked the co-leader of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party after he made comments to his party that appeared to play down the significance of the Nazis in Germany’s history.
State Department spokeswoman notes D-Day in answer on ‘strong relationship’ with Germany – CNNPolitics
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Tuesday cited the D-Day invasion during an answer about the current state of US-German relations.
Logo of youth wing of Germany’s AfD ‘resembles insignia of early Nazi storm troopers’ 
The nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has been plunged in fresh controversy over similarities between its youth wing&rsquo;s logo and the insignia of the early Nazi storm troopers who helped propel Hitler to power.
Far-right leader says Nazi era is a ‘speck of bird poop’ in Germany history | Fox News
The co-leader of a Germany far-right nationalist party is under scrutiny after dismissing the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poop” in the nation’s lost history.
Far-right party leader calls Nazi era a “speck of bird poop” in German history – CBS News
The remark drew swift condemnation from mainstream politicians and outrage on social media
German rightist leader walks to police station after clothes stolen | Reuters
The co-leader of a German anti-immigrant party had to walk to a police station from the shores of a lake outside Berlin wearing only his underwear after his clothes were stolen while he was swimming, the Maerkische Allgemeine newspaper reported on Tuesday.
US Ambassador to Germany provokes backlash with interview – CNNPolitics
Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have criticized the US Ambassador for telling Breitbart that he wants to “empower” European conservatives.
Ric Grenell: Trump ambassador to Germany’s Breitbart interview created a mess – Vox
He suggested he wants to “empower” the European far right — but diplomats aren’t supposed to get involved in domestic politics like that.
Richard Grenell, US ambassador to Germany, wants to empower the right — Quartz
Richard Grenell, the new US ambassador to Germany, has been in the job for less than a month, but he has already effectively declared that he’s willing to obliterate the diplomat line by directly meddling in national and European politics. And now Berlin wants a word with him. In an interview with right-wing website Breitbart,…
Menendez calls for IG probe into German ambassador’s controversial remarks | TheHill
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s top Democrat is asking the State Department’s inspector general to investigate President Trump’s envoy to Germany amid accusations he is inappropriately wading into European politics.
Safe in Hungary, Viktor Orban Pushes His Message Across Europe – The New York Times
Allies of Mr. Orban, Hungary’s far-right leader, are buying media outlets across Central and Eastern Europe, extending his influence.
Euroscepticism crops up in Hungarian village transformed by EU funds | Reuters
More than a million tourists have flocked to the village of Poroszlo in eastern Hungary since 2012, when Europe’s largest freshwater aquarium opened with 6.5 million euros of financing from the European Union.
Soros foundation calls accusations about Hungary pullout ‘nonsense’
As it pulls up stakes and makes an exit from Hungary, George Soros’ philanthropic foundation called the latest accusations from that country’s government “nonsense.”
U.S. Executive Testifies In Montenegro Trial Of Attempted Coup Suspects
Brian Scott, the chief executive officer of a U.S. risk-management company, has testified in the trial of suspects in an attempted state coup in Montenegro.
Pompeo calls for Venezuela to be suspended from OAS | TheHill
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday asked members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to suspend Venezuela from the group of&nb
How Cuba Helped Make Venezuela A Mafia State
The Castros claimed Cuba was never into drug smuggling, then they said it quit. But their own operations were nothing compared to the ones they helped facilitate in Venezuela.
Venezuela is the most dangerous country in the world to live, according to Gallup — Quartz
Do you feel safe walking in your neighborhood at night? Most Venezuelans definitely do not. In 2017, only 17% of Venezuelans said they felt safe walking alone at night in the city or area where they live, according to a poll conducted by Gallup. This drastically low sense of security reflects the deteriorating economic and…
UAWire – Rwanda negotiates purchase of air defense systems from Russia
Russia and Rwanda are discussing the possible acquisition of Russian air defense systems, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced at a …
How Sanctions Feed Authoritarianism – Defense One
Past experience shows that economic pressure does change societies—but it mostly facilitates hardliners. Iran’s regime may be next.
China Opens European Charm Offensive as Trump Stokes Trade Dispute – Bloomberg
China is reaching out to Europe with pledges to improve market access for companies in a charm offensive that contrasts with President Donald Trump’s escalation of trade disputes worldwide.

Strategy / History / Capability Publications

Henry A. Kissinger | How the Enlightenment Ends – The Atlantic
Philosophically, intellectually—in every way—human society is unprepared for the rise of artificial intelligence.
Deep in the Pentagon, a secret AI program to find hidden nuclear missiles | Reuters
The U.S. military is increasing spending on a secret research effort to use artificial intelligence to help anticipate the launch of a nuclear-capable missile, as well as track and target mobile launchers in North Korea and elsewhere.
Russia, Too, Is Building a Giant War Cloud – Defense One
It’s the latest improvement in the Russian military’s ability to operate off the rest of the world’s grid.
Confronting the Global Forced Migration Crisis | Center for Strategic and International Studies
The size and scope of the global forced migration crisis are unprecedented. Almost 66 million people worldwide have been forced from home by conflict. If recent trends continue, this figure could increase to between 180 and 320 million people by 2030. This global crisis already poses serious challenges to economic growth and risks to stability and national security, as well as an enormous human toll affecting tens of millions of people. These issues are on track to get worse; without significant course correction soon, the forced migration issues confronted today will seem simple decades from now. Yet, efforts to confront the crisis continue to be reactive in addressing these and other core issues. The United States should broaden the scope of its efforts beyond the tactical and reactive to see the world through a more strategic lens colored by the challenges posed—and opportunities created—by the forced migration crisis at home and abroad. CSIS convened a diverse task force in 2017 to study the global forced migration crisis. This report is a result of those findings.
Drone Strikes Expand, Hustling the US Down a Risky Path – Defense One
It’s time to rethink the tradeoffs between tactical efficiency and strategic risk. A new Stimson Report lays them out.
Max Brooks discusses Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict | Book Soup | Events, Free Events, Literature | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
With the same kind of thorough, exhaustive focus as he gave to the phenomenon of zombies, Max Brooks discusses his new book, Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict (Potomac). Gathering the finest minds in the fields of military history, diplomacy, science fiction and…
Image Of China’s Stealthy ‘Dark Sword’ Fighter-Like Combat Drone Emerges – The Drive
The image shows a mature design that leverages existing elements found on other Chinese tactical aircraft.
See China’s massive robot boat swarm in action
Crowding the sea is one way to shape future naval battles, and swarms of robot boats could become a maritime peril in the near future.
Russia and China perfected ‘carrier killer’ missiles for decades — here’s how the US Navy’s new carrier can stop them | Business Insider
The US Navy’s new USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier cost $US13 billion dollars and will set to sea at a time of great power competition when Russia and China have both perfected missiles designed to sink the massive ships.
Boeing Has a Plan to Keep the Apache Flying Into the 2060s
The famous attack helicopter could last up to eighty years on the front lines.
The Military Wants a Forward-Firing Gun for the Osprey
Thanks to the Osprey’s unique design it only mounts rear-shooting guns.
This minidrone can transform squad-level reconnaissance
The Black Hornet mini-drone has been in use by soldiers and Marines since 2016. This most recent contract brings a next generation version to soldiers and could become a common squad-level sensor across infantry units.
A B-1 Bomber Fired a New Missile That Could Sink Russia or China’s Navy | The National Interest Blog
Another big step for the LRASM. 
The U.S. Navy Is Developing Mothership Drones for Coastal Defense – Defense One
The service is looking to accelerate the way it buys, builds and drills drones and robotic ships.
India air force Su-30 jets to get indigenous infrared tracking system to locate Chinese J-20 jets – Military & Aerospace Electronics
NEW DELHI – Indian Air Force (IAF) frontline jet fighter Sukhoi Su-30MKI soon will be equipped with indigenous infrared sensors to detect even a radar-evading stealth aircraft possessed by India’s adversaries in day and night conditions. Zee News reports.
Belarus developed drone kit for anti-tank rocket launcher – Defence Blog
On May 18, a unique unmanned aerial vehicle was shown at the Losvido training ground in the Vitebsk region, Belarus. At the Losvido training ground, was conducted meeting with officers-operators of the Armed Forces under the leadership of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces – Chief of the Main Operations Directorate Major-General Pavel Muraveiko. At the time of the event was spotted the unique unmanned aerial vehicle, which is the anti-tank rocket launcher equipped with four engine as that of a conventional quadcopter. The characteristics of the new flying anti-tank rocket launcher and the name of the manufacturer are not disclosed.
Belarus reveals drone that is a rocket launcher with rotors
Cheap and effective drone parts can turn simple weapons into new kinds of air support, which could lead to stranger battles in the coming decades.
EUROSATORY 2018: Rafael to unveil revolutionary air defence system – Defence Blog
Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense systems Ltd., has devised a new concept of a revolutionary air defence system that will combine enablement the modern technologies to deal with the ever-changing combat challenges on the modern battlefield. Rafael to unveil during at EUROSATORY 2018 exhibition its Integrated all-in-one air defense based on the operational and combat-proven Iron Dome system, which has achieved more than 1700 combat interceptions at a success rate of over 90%. According to the company’s statement, Very Short Range (VSHORAD) integrated air defense and counter rocket, artillery and mortar (C-RAM) System, integrated on a single vehicle. It provides protection of motorized or mechanized troops, as well as point air defense of military/industrial/administrative installations. A single battery can protect a medium-size city. The new advanced system provides robust, yet selective defense. The complex uses a unique interceptor with a special warhead that detonates the targets in the air. Its ability to discriminate between threats headed towards a populated area and those that will fall into the sea or open fields reduces costs and limits unnecessary interceptor launches. The system is effective in all weather conditions, including low clouds, rain, dust storms or fog. The system can engage multiple threats simultaneously and efficiently.
UralVagonZavod shows BMP-3 IFV with 57mm gun – Defence Blog
Russian manufacturer Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) has revealed the video showing a live-fire demonstration of BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle fitted with a new turret armed with a 57mm automatic cannon using gun mount module AU-220M. The footage shows a new version of infantry fighting vehicle fitted with AU-220M module, which is based on the BMP-3 chassis, and also called the Rys. The AU-220M turret is designed for armored vehicles, both new and undergoing modernization. New turret armed with a 57mm automatic cannon using gun mount module AU-220M. A 7,62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to right side of the main armament. With a phenomenal rate of fire of 300 rounds per minute, and a guaranteed striking range of up to 12 kilometers, the AU-220M’s 57 mm projectile is unlikely to cut through the 1 meter-thick front armor of an Abrams or a Leopard MBT, but even against the heaviest of armor, engineers bet on the hail of high-explosive projectiles knocking out optics, destroying aerials, smashing caterpillar tracks and jamming turrets. Armed with a new combat turret, BMP-3 is capable of firing from the ground, on the move and afloat.
Rafael can turn aging rockets into high-precision weapon systems – Defence Blog
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., has disclosed detail of a new high-precision munition development project based on an upgrade of aging unguided surface-to-surface rockets. Rafael develops a special kit, called EPIK (Electro-Optical Precision Integration Kit), to upgrade unguided rockets such as Soviet 122 mm Grad rockets, using Image Adjustment technology as an alternative to GPS, that is prone to enemy jamming. According to the company, the EPIK transforming unguided surface-to-surface rockets into accurate precision stand-off weapon systems. EPIK extends rocket range up to 50% and enables pixel-level hit-point definition. EPIK implements and combines Rafael’s EO and Signal Processing capabilities of Scene- Matching technology to turn an un-guided surface to surface rocket into a precise weapon with a hit accuracy of less than 3 meters. Upgraded high-precision munitions could use for destroying mortars, field and rocket artillery and motorized units, defeating manpower and enemy firepower in entrenchments and trenches, destroying communication lines, strongpoints and field defense constructions, making passages in defense wirings and outlook posts, destroying enemy’s back areas (railway junctions, headquarters, concentrated military forces). The system is appropriate for rockets used by eastern European armies like the 122mm. BM-21 Grad rocket, as it can lower costs. The product will be offered initially to eastern European and Asian countries using unguided rocket systems. Later, Rafael will develop a relatively small and complete Grad rocket array, which will include the precise warheads for sale to western armies.
Rafael unveils EPIK add-on precision guidance kit for rocket artillery | Jane’s 360
Rafael Advanced Defence Systems has released details of its EPIK (Electro-Optical Precision Integration Kit) technology development; a capability enhancement designed to furnish unguided surface-to-surface rocket system effectors with autonomous stand-off precision guidance and increased range.
Israeli-Made Bolt-On Kit Turns 122mm ‘Grad’ Artillery Rockets Into Precision Weapons – The Drive
The multi-mode guidance package could be a particularly cost-effective upgrade for any country still using derivatives of the Soviet-era system.
U.S. vs. Russia: Who Has the Best Tanks?
Moscow may have more, but quantity does not mean quality.
Rafael EPIK Rocket Precision Guidance System | Military Leak
Rafael EPIK develops mini-kit, borrowed from fighter jets, to upgrade unguided rockets such as Grads, using Image Adjustment technology as an alternative to GPS, that is prone to enemy jamming. In the video footage of the EPIK test, two rockets were fired at a small structure measuring two square meters, which was 25 kilometers from…
All the Nuclear Missile Submarines in the World in One Chart
Only seven countries in the entire world deploy nuclear weapons at sea, an exclusive and deadly club.
The Air Force is getting a next-gen GPS boost
The Air Forces GPS III program is placing a whole new generation of satellites in orbit capable of operating in future hostile EW environments in space.
Worker-Bee Satellites Will Weaponize Space — and Help Us Keep the Peace – Defense One
Traditional arms-control negotiations have gone nowhere in half a century. A functional tack offers a way forward.
Vision Thing! – Asian Military Review
Peter Donaldson casts his eyes over some of the latest technological enhancements to infantry night vision systems, and possible future developments.
Microsoft snaps up GitHub for $7.5 billion | Ars Technica
Biggest open source hosting service joins biggest proprietary software company.
ATK to upgrade 271 radar-killing air-to-ground missile systems with new radar seeker and guidance
PATUXENT RIVER NAS, Md. – U.S. Navy electronic warfare (EW) experts will upgrade 271 air-to-ground radar-killing AGM-88B High Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) systems into 253 AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) systems to equip U.S. and Australian carrier-based fighter-bombers and electronic warfare jets.

IW/EW/IO/Cyber Reports

Anatomy of an online misinformation network
Massive amounts of fake news and conspiratorial content have spread over social media before and after the 2016 US Presidential Elections despite intense fact-checking efforts. How do the spread of misinformation and fact-checking compete? What are the structural and dynamic characteristics of the core of the misinformation diffusion network, and who are its main purveyors? How to reduce the overall amount of misinformation? To explore these questions we built Hoaxy, an open platform that enables large-scale, systematic studies of how misinformation and fact-checking spread and compete on Twitter. Hoaxy captures public tweets that include links to articles from low-credibility and fact-checking sources. We perform k-core decomposition on a diffusion network obtained from two million retweets produced by several hundred thousand accounts over the six months before the election. As we move from the periphery to the core of the network, fact-checking nearly disappears, while social bots proliferate. The number of users in the main core reaches equilibrium around the time of the election, with limited churn and increasingly dense connections. We conclude by quantifying how effectively the network can be disrupted by penalizing the most central nodes. These findings provide a first look at the anatomy of a massive online misinformation diffusion network.
Anatomy of an online misinformation network – To Inform is to Influence
Authors: Chengcheng Shao, Pik-Mai Hui, Lei Wang, Xinwen Jiang, Alessandro Flammini, Filippo Menczer, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia Published: April 27, 2018 Abstract Massive amounts of fake news and conspiratorial content have spread over social media before and after the 2016 US Presidential Elections despite intense fact-checking efforts. How do the spread of misinformation and fact-checking compete? What are the structural and…
EU East StratCom Task Force – How many non-existent apples go into two apples? – Disinformation Review – To Inform is to Influence
Share Tweet Forward 7 June 2018 *TRENDS OF THE WEEK* How many non-existent apples go into two apples? Distracting the audience is one of the goals of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign. One of the techniques how to do this is to force us to ask the needed irrelevant questions – and drain our energy in…
Costs of Snowden leak still mounting 5 years later
Whistleblower or traitor, leaker or public hero?
Congress to Crack Down on Chinese Influence in U.S. – To Inform is to Influence
Legislation targets Beijing spying, Confucius Institutes By Bill Gertz June 4, 2018 4:57 am Members of Congress are moving ahead with legislation seeking curbs on Chinese government influence operations in the United States. Lawmakers in the House plan to introduce legislation today that would require Chinese government-funded Confucius Institutes operating on American university campuses to register…
NightWatch For the Night of 4 June 2018 – To Inform is to Influence
NightWatch For the Night of 4 June 2018 North Korea-McDonald’s Comment:  In the past few days, commentators have mocked the prospect that a North Korean agreement to host a McDonald’s fast food outlet or chain of outlets might be one of the outcomes of a US-North Korean summit. Actually, it could be an important outcome.…
Ukraine says prevented cyber attack on NATO country embassy | Reuters
Ukraine’s state security service (SBU) prevented a cyber attack on the embassy of a NATO country in Kiev, it said in a statement on Tuesday, without specifying which one.
Greece’s Minister Stavros Kontonis accuses Facebook of supporting Nazism – Greece’s Minister of Justice suspects Facebook of supporting Nazism –
The reason is that several days ago Facebook removed an article about massacre in the village of Kandanos in Western Crete and the killing of about 180 of its inhabitants on 3 June 1941 by a Greek journalist Nikos Mpogiopoulos
Russian Bots Cause Russian Opposition Artist Blockage – To Inform is to Influence
Today we have another victim of Russian bot farm attack. The Facebook administration has blocked Andriy Yermolenko (, the designer of posters that show the true face of Russia – a state sponsor of terrorism. All posters are devoted to FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, and they are brilliant. All posters can be downloaded…
Senate defense bill would authorize spying on Russians engaged in disinformation, hacking | TheHill
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s version of the NDAA would authorize the Pentagon to conduct surveillance on individuals conducting hacking or disinformation campaigns on behalf of the Russian government.
Report says America has most vulnerable web
The study is a digital call to arms for government and private security firms to secure the web.
Russia appears to be ‘live testing’ cyber attacks – Former UK spy boss Robert Hannigan • The Register
InfoSec Europe Former GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan has warned that the emergence of a commodity marketplace for hacking has changed and escalated the threat. Crooks have solved the skills shortage problem by creating a gig economy and creating “more impressive” and capable tools. Hannigan made the comments during a keynote speech Weaponising the web: Nation-state hacking and what it means for enterprise cybersecurity at the Infosec conference in London yesterday morning. During a wide-ranging presentation, the former cyber spy boss said that the problem posed by nation state attackers had increased over the last five years and become an issue for enterprises as well as governments. “Nation state attacks using criminal group as a proxy” is a “fairly new issue” and one of the issues along with the commoditisation of hacking tools that makes international geo-politics a feature of corporate security.
New missile decoy aims to protect transport planes
To protect transport planes, a new missile decoy creates a larger impression, hopefully tricking the missile away from precious human cargo.
A Russian Information Warfare Proposal – To Inform is to Influence
Dr. Igor Panarin has been intimately involved with Russian Information Warfare (IW) at the highest levels for more than 20 years.  Dr. Panarin received a medal from Putin for his assistance with the Crimea invasion behind closed doors in April 2014. Most of the organization for today’s Russian IW mirrors proposals he has submitted in…

US Domestic Policy Reports

China threatens retaliation after trade talks end in impasse – CBS News
The warning from Beijing came after the U.S. and China wrapped up talks on Beijing's pledge to narrow its trade surplus
White House weighs next steps after latest China talks – POLITICO
Trump also tweeted about what he called unfair trade conditions.
Trump’s phone call with Macron described as ‘terrible’ – CNNPolitics
A call about trade and migration between US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron soured last week after Macron candidly criticized Trump’s policies, two sources familiar with the call told CNN.
CNN: Trump-Macron phone call went ‘terrible’ | TheHill
A call between President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron last week that focused on trade and immigration went badly and saw Macron be highly critical of Trump’s policies,
“I have been Russia’s worst nightmare,” says Trump, proposing pro-Russia stance. | The New Republic
The president told reporters this morning that he wants the Group of Seven to go back to being the Group of Eight by readmitting Russia. Russia had been a member until it was suspended as punishment for the annexation of Crimea. “I have been Russia’s worst nightmare,” Trump said. “If Hillary got in I think Putin is probably going ‘man I wish Hillary won,’ because you see what I do. But, with that …
Russia hacked U.S. minds and undermined democracy, author says | PBS NewsHour
“Russian trolls were different from normal trolls,” says Clint Watts, a former U.S. government intelligence analyst who observed how Russia deployed a campaign of disinformation to discredit Hillary Clinton and help elect Donald Trump. Nick Schifrin talks with Watts, author of “Messing With the Enemy,” about what Americans can do to withstand future attempts by Russia to meddle in democracy.
Slamming the door shut to foreign meddling in America – To Inform is to Influence
BY RICHARD A CLARKE AND IAN VANDEWALKER, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS — 06/04/18 02:00 PM EDT THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL Last month, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee released a batch of some 3,500 Facebook Kremlin-backed Facebook ads. They yielded further evidence of Russia’s campaign to sow national discord…
New NSC Official Fred Fleitz Urged Deportation of U.S. Muslims Who Follow Islamic Law – The Daily Beast
New Bolton hire Fred Fleitz has been arguing case for a decade.
A Radical Pick for the National Security Council – Defense One
John Bolton’s new chief of staff comes from the Center for Security Policy, a group that was largely shunned by conservatives in Washington—but is …
John Bolton’s New Top Aide Is a Russia Truther
The national security adviser’s new chief of staff said intelligence was ‘rigged’ by Obama and that Trump should ‘pardon everyone’ under investigation.
John Bolton’s new chief of staff linked to anti-Muslim writings – CNNPolitics
National security adviser John Bolton’s new chief of staff has drawn scrutiny for his past work with the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank that has been accused of promoting anti-Muslim messages.
Trump Says Has ‘Absolute Right’ To Pardon Himself In Russia Probe
U.S. President Donald Trump says he has “the absolute right” to pardon himself in an inquiry about possible collusion between his 2016 presidential campaign and Russia, and reiterated his claim of …
The West Still Isn’t Prepared to Stop Russia Meddling in Our Elections – POLITICO Magazine
It’s not just the United States—European countries aren’t ready, either.
Ben Rhodes: President Obama Felt Rapid Global Change Led To Donald Trump | Meet The Press | NBC News – YouTube
NBC News Published on Jun 3, 2018 Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Advisor for President Obama, tells Chuck Todd that Obama “took it as a given” that some of the opposition against him was rooted in racism.
Ben Rhodes: Trump reverses Obama policies just because they were Obama’s – CBS News
Former deputy national security advisor says that despite current policies, America's future will be more like Obama's presidency than Trump's
Mueller accuses Manafort of witness tampering – CNNPolitics
The Special Counsel’s Office has accused Paul Manafort of attempting to get witnesses to lie for him in court, and they’ve asked the judge to send him to jail as he awaits his trial, according to a filing in DC District Court Monday night.
Special Counsel Accuses Trump Ex-Campaign Chief Of Witness Tampering
Robert Mueller, the U.S. special counsel investigating alleged Russian election interference, has levied new charges against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, saying he attempted t…
Senate Judiciary Committee Investigating Curt Weldon – The Atlantic
An ex-congressman has alleged ties to the Trump campaign—as well as to powerful figures in Russia and Ukraine. Finding out what he knows is crucial, a top Democrat in the Senate says.
Robert Mueller just accused Paul Manafort of attempted witness tampering – Vox
Here are the details.
U.S. Judge Orders Ex-Trump Aide To Respond To New Accusations In Russia Probe
A U.S. judge has ordered U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, to respond to the government’s bid to revoke his release ahead of trial and set a June 15 hearing on t…
U.S. Extends Sanctions Deadline For Two More Deripaska Companies
The U.S. Treasury Department has granted investors in the sanctioned Russian firm En+ Group and its subsidiary EuroSibEnergo a reprieve from an impending June 5 deadline, saying they have until Oct…
Clapper gives Putin what he wants with 2016 election assessment | TheHill
Implying that Putin was responsible for Trump’s victory, with no corresponding facts, amounts to a self-inflicted wound to our democratic process.

Defense industry braces for hit from Trump tariffs | TheHill
The defense industry is bracing for the fallout from the Trump administration’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Europe, Mexico and Canada.
Watchdog warns Pentagon to fix F-35 tech problems before full-rate production starts
The Defense Department has agreed to
Why the Pentagon Doesn’t Know How Much Anything Costs
The F-35 cost a trillion dollars. Nobody really knows how much America’s next nuke will cost. What’s wrong?
Just Put it On Our Tab: War Financing and the Decline of Democracy
Memorial Day often occasions reflections on what it means to serve the nation. David Barno and Nora Bensahel recently drew attention to the establishment of the all-volunteer force, which ended conscription in 1973 and made military service an individual choice. The all-volunteer force was a success in many ways, but
The Air Force’s strange love for the new B-21 bomber |
The military-industrial complex strikes (out) again
SASC NDAA Would Add $500M For Cruise Missile Defense « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
WASHINGTON: The Senate Armed Services Committee has lost patience with the Army program to develop cruise missile defenses, IFPC, and reallocated $500 million to buy an off-the-shelf alternative by 2020. The system would defend US bases abroad from Russian, Chinese, Iranian, or North Korean strikes. While the bill language and SASC staff are careful not to choose favorites, they’re clearly inspired by foreign-built systems such as the Norwegian NASAMS, which has quietly defended Washington, DC since 2005. (Most of the details are classified). Another option we’ve heard is the Israeli-built, US-subsidized David’s Sling missile, big brother to the more famous Iron Dome. An American Achilles’ Heel While the US military has invested massively in defense against ballistic missiles — such as GBI, THAAD, and Patriot — it’s largely neglected cruise missiles, which fly completely different flight paths and present a different kind of target. ICBMs, Scuds, and similar launch on a plume of hot exhaust visible from space and then fly a completely predictable ballistic path — hence the name — so they’re (relatively) easy to spot. But they fly so fast and high they’re hard to hit, requiring highly specialized high-performance interceptors. Cruise missiles, by contrast, are essentially kamikaze drones, unmanned aircraft on a one-way mission. Compared to ballistic missile, cruise missiles fly low and slow, making them hard to spot but, once spotted, (relatively) easy to shoot down with high-end anti-aircraft weapons. In World War II, the British routinely downed the world’s first cruise missile, the V-1, with propeller-driven Spitfires. Today, the NASAMS uses a variant of the AIM-120 anti-aircraft missile widely used by fighter jets. But if you can stop cruise missiles with standard air defenses, why is there a problem? It’s because the US Army largely disbanded its air defense force after the Cold War and is now struggling to rebuild it. Iraqi guerrillas, the Taliban and the Islamic State didn’t have air forces, so all US forces needed was Counter Rocket, Artillery, & Mortar (C-RAM) defenses — derived from the Navy’s Phalanx — and, later, Counter Unmanned Aerial System (C-UAS) defenses against drones. The Russian threat has driven the US Army to mount anti-aircraft missiles on 8×8 Stryker armored vehicles for what’s called Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense. The first M-SHORAD battery should enter service in 2020, and the SASC “commends” the Army’s efforts in its report language. But M-SHORAD is aimed against drones, helicopters, and frontline attack jets — not cruise missiles. Cruise missile defense is supposed to be part of IFPC, which uses a larger truck-mounted Multi-Mission Launcher (MML) able to fire a range of missiles against a variety of targets. IFPC has been accelerated too, with first fielding in 2021. However, the command-and-control network it depends on to get targeting data, IBCS, has been delayed repeatedly and won’t enter service until 2022. “By attempting to leverage the IBCS system for IFPC, the Army exposes itself to additional delays if certain testing milestones are not achieved on time,” notes the SASC report. “The committee is not confident that the Army will successfully deliver an IBCS system on its current timeline.” That’s not the only fault the Senate finds with IFPC: “The Government Accountability Office has stated that (IFPC) has struggled with integration of all four components –the Sentinel radar, the AIM-9X interceptor (a shorter-ranged cousin of the AIM-120 used by NSAMS), the IBCS fire control, and the multi-mission launcher (MML).” A Norwegian Alternative? So the Senate bill cuts $500 million from multiple places — there’s no one easily identifiable offset — and allocates it to “acceleration of cruise missile defense.” Technically, this item falls under IFPC procurement, increasing it from not quite $146 million to over $645 million. (There’s another $30 million added to IFPC research, development, testing, & evaluation, for a total of $81 million). But the statutory language makes clear the $500 million isn’t for accelerating IFPC in its current form. Quite the contrary. “The Army shall deploy an interim, fixed site cruise missile defense capability, in anticipation of delivery to the Army of the Indirect Fire Protection Capability (IFPC),” the bill states. Note that IFPC is truck-mounted and thus mobile, though not a frontline system like M-SHORAD; this interim “fixed site” system is purely for base defense. “Up to $500,000,000 may be available for the deployment of the interim capability” — not, in other words, for IFPC proper. SASC wants the first two batteries of the interim system deployed by September 2020 and two more by September 2023, preferably to air bases and significant fixed site locations in Europe and Asia.” To meet that deadline, it instructs the Army to “deploy systems that require the least amount of development (or are) currently in production (or) already in the Joint Force inventory.” While there are multiple cruise missile defense systems on the market, there are only two in US service: the Navy’s Aegis, normally fitted on ships but being installed at sites on land in Romania and Poland; and NASAMS, which is already integrated with the Washington, DC-area air defense network and routinely operated by Army National Guard soldiers. Given how fast the Senate wants this capability fielded, how hard it can be to tie systems together for the first time, and how long it takes to train soldiers on something new, incumbency gives NASAMS a huge advantage with the Army. Depending on who’s talking, NASAMS stands for either Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System — the original English-language name chosen by the inventors, Kongsberg — or National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System — as preferred by Kongsberg’s American partner, Raytheon. It entered Norwegian service in 1994 and has since been sold to Finland, Spain, Oman, Lithuania, and Indonesia as well as the US (in 2005). Its main weapon against cruise missiles is the AIM-120 but different models of NASAMS can fire different missiles. NASAMS also includes its own radars, datalinks, and fire control, but the system defending DC is integrated with a wider array of US networks. How does this function? That’s classified. In fact, Hill sources wouldn’t even name NASADS until we pointed out its presence in DC is public record, although past coverage has focused on its anti-aircraft capability rather than cruise missile defense. While the interceptor is important, said Tom Karako, head of the missile defense program at CSIS, “the big challenge is the radar and command-and control.” “The other dog that isn’t barking here is a persistent, overhead radar with a long range–cough, JLENS, cough,” Karako wrote archly. He’s referring to the blimp-borne JLENS radar, specifically designed to counter cruise missiles. The program was cancelled after a blimp broke loose from its moorings, blew away, and crashed — but no one has yet figured out a better way to suspend a radar over a region indefinitely without needing to land to refuel like a drone or airplane. So NASAMS or another foreign system like David’s Sling could well be part of the solution to cruise missile defense. But the really hard part is seeing the missile coming in the first place, tracking it, and transmitting that targeting data to the interceptor. That’s a problem no single purchase will fix.
SASC Seeks Sweeping ‘Roles & Missions’ Report: Wither The Marines? « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
WASHINGTON: The Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed the most sweeping reevaluation of the military in 30 years, with tough questions for all four armed services but especially the Marine Corps. While its provisions cover topics ranging from swarming robots to “construction and maintenance of public works in Cis-Lunar Space,” its overwhelming focus is reorienting the military from a generation of guerrilla warfare to great power conflict with China and Russia. From reading Section 1041 of the draft National Defense Authorization Act, talking to Senate staff, and tracking years of SASC reform proposals, it’s clear SASC chairman John McCain thinks the services are making that shift far too slowly. McCain has long sought to revisit the landmark 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act which laid the foundation for the modern military, and now he may have found an ally in Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. The first lines of Sec. 1041 take pains to praise Mattis’s National Defense Strategy, which marks “great power competition” against China and Russia as the top priority. The rest of the section charges Mattis with preparing a report — due in classified form with an unclassified summary by Feb. 1st — on making the four armed services more capable against those threats. Today, SASC argues, the services are spending too much of their money on weapons systems that would work against the Taliban but might not last long against a high-tech adversary. That includes everything from manned aircraft — even stealthy ones — to lightly armored ground vehicles to pretty much everything the Marine Corps would use for an amphibious landing. Here are some of the key questions the Pentagon would be required to address: Make the Marines a counterinsurgency force? The Senate starts by asking whether the military “would benefit from having one Armed Force dedicated primarily to low-intensity missions, thereby enabling the other Armed Forces to focus more exclusively on advanced peer competitors.” It quickly becomes clear that “one Armed Force” means “the Marines.” The bill questions the Army’s new Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) and suggest shifting that role to the Marines. It also questions the survivability of Navy-Marine flotillas in the face of long-range sensors and precision missiles — so-called Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) systems — and asked whether the Marines’ core mission, “amphibious forced entry operations,” should even “remain an enduring mission for the joint force” given the difficulties. It suggests replacing large-deck amphibious ships, which carry both Marine aircraft and landing forces, with small aircraft carriers that could carry “larger numbers of more diverse strike aircraft” (but not amphibious vehicles or landing craft). Separate provisions of the bill restrict spending on the current Amphibious Assault Vehicle (Sec. 221) and the future Amphibious Combat Vehicle (Sec. 128) until the Pentagon addresses the viability of amphibious landings. Make the Army heavier, with fewer helicopters? The report must include “a revalidation” of ground modernization efforts that SASC sees as too vulnerable in great power combat. It calls out three programs by name: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), a better-protected replacement for the Humvee co-developed with the Marine Corps; the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle, an Army-only program for, essentially, a light tank to support light infantry; and Future Vertical Lift (FVL), intended to replace all the services’ helicopters with more advanced “optionally manned” aircraft. A separate section (Sec. 236) requires a separate report specifically on the survivability and offensive value of MPF and FVL. By contrast, the report repeatedly emphasizes the value of drones and robotics, with the clear implication that, given the increasing lethality of anti-aircraft systems, why not instead move to entirely unmanned aircraft that never put a human crew at risk? SASC staff made clear they think the Army is over-invested in helicopters and light infantry, both highly relevant to counterinsurgency but dangerously fragile in a major war. The bill urges the Army to look hard at its mix of forces, not neglecting armor, mechanized infantry, artillery, and air defense; a separate section (Sec. 111) authorizes up to $500 million to speed up defense against cruise missile threats. Another provision (Sec. 1254) requires a report on stationing an Army brigade permanently in Poland. Refocus Special Operations against Russia and China? Special Operations have historically led the way on advising and assisting foreign forces, with the regular Army only getting in the advisor business because of the sheer scale of need in Iraq and Afghanistan. The SASC language suggests special operators are now overstretched and might transfer many of their global missions to conventional forces (perhaps to the Marines) so they can focus their efforts on the “pacing threats and priority missions of the National Defense Strategy.” That presumably means Russia and China. While pitting small bands of commandos directly against tank regiments and long-range missiles is a losing battle, special ops played a major role in Cold War Europe preparing for partisan warfare against a Soviet invasion, and they could play a similar role today in places like the Baltic States or the Philippines. Rely less on stealth aircraft and more on drones? SASC asks skeptically whether stealth aircraft — specifically calling out the new F-35 fighter, the in-development B-21 bomber, and the proposed Penetrating Counter-Air platform — will be able to survive against increasingly advanced air defenses. It suggests that, at least in some cases, non-stealthy aircraft with upgraded weapons and sensors could do the job as well. It repeatedly lauds the increasing potential of cheap robotics for missions from reconnaissance to combat to supply — not only in the air but “on and under the sea, on land, and in space.” Another passage suggests the Navy should develop “longer-range, unmanned, carrier-suitable strike aircraft,” a revival of the UCLASS drone program that the Navy abandoned in 2016. Besides replacing manned aircraft with robotic ones, SASC also suggests that missions now performed by airplanes could be handled by satellites, such as surveillance or battle management, or by ships and ground units, such as shooting down enemy planes with anti-aircraft missiles instead of our own fighters. There are plenty of other provisions that might impact the Air Force: a “revalidation” of whether the Air Force’s new KC-46 tankers are too vulnerable to attack; an assessment of whether another service (maybe the Marines…) should also buy the propeller-driven Light Attack Aircraft the Air Force is exploring for counterinsurgency [UPDATE: the full bill adds $100 million to the budget to buy an “O/A-X” light attack plane for the Marines]; and a host of space provisions urging more cooperation with private companies. By contrast, the Navy gets off fairly lightly, with the significant exception of its air wing and its amphibious ships. The biggest challenge here is for the ground services, the Army and Marines — and above all the Marines. The full text of Section 1041 follows, reformatted for readability.
Marine Missile Strategy: Buy Some ASAP, Then Develop With Army « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary
The Marines want new missiles for multiple missions: attacking enemy aircraft, ships at sea, and ground targets. But getting them on a tight budget will require working closely with the Army and Navy.
Is a light attack aircraft coming to the Corps?
Light attack aircraft are seen as a cost-effective means to deliver close-air support.
Navy marks Triton arrival at Point Mugu
Two of the Navy’s large unmanned surveillance and patrol aircraft are now housed at a repurposed hangar at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in Southern California.
Pentagon completes draft plans for new low-yield sea-launched nuclear weapon | Fox News
The Pentagon has completed initial draft plans for several emerging low-yield sea-launched nuclear weapons intended to deter potential attackers and add new precision strike options to those currently possible with the existing arsenal.
Rick Perry Should Not Be Allowed to Pick Nuclear Weapons – Defense One
The Trump administration and its allies in Congress want the Energy Secretary to determine whether to develop a new class of low-yield nuclear weapons.
Senators want to know how US Army in Europe can keep Russia at bay
The Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Pentagon to take a deep dive to answer force posture questions recently debated as the U.S. and its allies look to deter an aggressive Russia.
Ex-Navy sailor pardoned by Trump says he’s suing Comey and Obama | Fox News
A former Navy sailor who is one of five people to receive a pardon from President Donald Trump is planning to file a lawsuit against Obama administration officials, alleging that he was subject to unequal protection of the law.
‘Top Gun’ sequel starts filming on NAS North Island
Both the Navy and DoD’s entertainment office still have to sign off on the final script.