06 MAY 16 – Executive Intelligence Summary – Forward Observer Shop

06 MAY 16 – Executive Intelligence Summary


The National PMESII section is a break down of national- and regional-level Political, Military, Economic, Social, Infrastructure, and Information events and trends.   Appendix: Collection of acronyms and definitions used.

[wcm_nonmember] In this EXSUM…

  • USG Not Doing Enough to Prepare for EMP Threat
  • Public Being Mislead on North Korean EMP Threat
  • Further Indicators of Looming Economic Recession
  • WSU Study Finds Police More Averse to Shooting Blacks Than Whites
  • Chinese Oil Supplies Indicate Expectations of Future Troubles
  • Rule 41 Change to Allow Invasive Attacks on Electronic Privacy

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[wcm_restrict plan =”fo-osint”]

National PMESII:


Political/Government: USG Not Doing Enough to Prepare for EMP Threat

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report (download) states that while federal agencies have implemented some of the recommendations put out in the 2008 EMP Commission, vulnerabilities to Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) events still exist.  For instance, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) still hasn’t identified who is responsible for EMP risks, “which has led to limited awareness of related activities within the department…”  DHS has also failed to prepare a comprehensive risk assessment for an EMP attack.

“Within DHS, there is recognition that space weather and power grid failure are significant risk events, which DHS officials have determined pose great risk to the security of the nation.”

Neither DHS nor the Department of Energy reported taking any action in identifying critical infrastructure that could be affected by an EMP event, nor have they developed any risk management strategies.


Military/Security/Defense: Public Being Mislead on North Korean EMP Threat

Former Central Intelligence Agency Director James Woolsey and former CIA analyst Peter Vincent Pry published an oped last month in the Washington Post, citing a failure of the Obama Administration to accurately reflect the threat of a North Korean EMP.  Woolsey and Pry both maintain that North Korea is farther along in their nuclear program than is being admitted, and that the nation likely has the capability to target North America with EMP weapons.

While the Pentagon has already warned that North Korea possesses a ballistic missile that’s probably capable of delivering a nuclear warhead as far inland as Chicago,  Woolsey and Pry warn that a nuclear-armed satellite, like the ones now in orbit around the Earth, might be the preferred method of delivering a strike to North America.


Economic/Financial: Further Indicators of Looming Economic Recession

In previous EXSUMs, we’ve pointed out the corporate earnings recession — three straight quarters with declining profits — which is a leading indicator for economic recession. Bank of America and and Morgan Chase financial analysts have warned of a high risk of recession within the next 12 months, and legendary investor Jim Rogers pointed towards a 100% chance of recession this year.  The Commerce Department this week published the statistics below, which does show a slowing global economy.

  • Exports have fallen 6.2% year-over-year in March
  • Imports declined 9.3% over the same period; seasonally-adjusted volume in March was the lowest since December 2010
  • Domestic factory orders fell 6.6% year-over-year

(Analyst Comment: Despite the insistence from the Federal Reserve, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Obama Administration, our economy is not as strong as they say it is.  We expect economic conditions to continue to deteriorate.  While I don’t expect an overnight collapse of the financial system, we should begin preparing for, at best, a replay of 2008.)


Social/Demographic: WSU Study Finds Police More Averse to Shooting Blacks Than Whites

A study compiled by Washington State University in 2014 but published this month in the journal Criminology & Public Policy, found that white police officers are more averse to shooting blacks than whites.  In the study, appropriate named “The Reverse Racism Effect” and which used simulated use of force scenarios, police officers took “significantly longer” amounts of time to use force when dealing with black suspects than with white suspects.

What’s more is that police officers were “slightly more than three times less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects.”  The study concluded that “social and legal consequences” were the most significant factors in determining use of force when dealing with race.


Infrastructure/Energy: Chinese Oil Supplies Indicate Expectations of Future Troubles

In January 2015, China announced that it would be increasing its strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) from 30 to 90 days’ supply. A year later in January 2016, Reuters reported that China was building five underground storage facilities to expand its SPR.  And now Bloomberg reports that China is taking advantage of low prices to import oil at the fastest pace in decades.

(AC:  While low oil prices may be a contributing factor in tripling their SPRs — because it’s unlikely that oil will ever remain this low again — a much more likely reason is that China simply expects some instability in the future.  Whether that’s from a conflict in the South China Sea or the eruption of World War III in Europe or the Middle East, China’s expansion of its SPRs, specifically to underground sites, is likely a positive indicator of the security risk that China sees in the future, and it’s a strategic SHTF Indicator for Forward Obsever.)


Information Systems/Surveillance/Communications: Rule 41 Changes to Allow Invasive Attacks on Electronic Privacy

A Supreme Court ruling last month approved amendments to Rule 41 of the which allows courts to issue search warrants for devices outside their jurisdiction.  If the changes aren’t blocked by Congress, they’ll go into effect in December, allowing the FBI or other law enforcement agencies the use of local judges to order electronic search warrants anywhere in the nation.

The changes will also allow law enforcement agencies to target computers that have TOR installed.  TOR, which stands for The Onion Router, allows users to launder their internet protocol addresses, thus hiding their physical location.  Under this rule change, having TOR installed on your computer could open your computer up to invasive electronic attacks, and thus your privacy obliterated.

(AC: If you don’t want this rule to pass, as it will automatically in December 2016, then you need to contact your Congressional representatives and tell them to vote it down.)



AC: Analyst Comment; an opinion, explanation or clarification

DHS: Department of Homeland Security

EMP: Electromagnetic Pulse

EXSUM: Executive Intelligence Summary

GAO:  Government Accountability Office

OSINT: Open Source Intelligence

SPR:  Strategic Petroleum Reserves


Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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