Early Warning for 05 November 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Early Warning for 05 November 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 05 November 2018. (All times Central.)


White House

The President is scheduled to hold three Make America Great Again rallies today in Cleveland, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Cape Giradeau, Missouri.

Of Note: If there was any lesson in 2016, it was that polls and election predictions can be wildly inaccurate reflections of electoral reality. That said, over the weekend fivethirtyeight pollster Nate Silver said there was a 50-50 shot for Republicans to hold the House, which is down from an 80 percent chance of Democrat takeover a few days before.

Caravan Watch: The migrant caravan is starting to funnel into Mexico City, as the latest estimate from Mexican officials puts the caravan size at 5,000. Between the main caravan, the second caravan, and other smaller caravans and stragglers, Mexican news outlets are now reporting that an estimated 12,000 Central American migrants are headed towards the U.S. border. Roughly 7,000 active duty troops are either on or headed to the border in Texas, Arizona, and California.

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to hold a policy briefing on the administration’s Iran policy and new sanctions that kick in today.

Of Note: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson is on travel to Iceland, Estonia, and Poland, and will return after a trip to Jordan on 08 November. In Iceland, the under secretary will participate in the annual NATO conference on weapons of mass destruction, and discuss how NATO can press for international peace and stability. Estonia, the under secretary will meet with senior government officials and attend a Bilateral Cyber Working Group to “discuss cyber security and countering Russian cyber aggression”. In Poland, the under secretary will attend the Poland-United States Strategic Cooperation Consultative Group. All three European visits (Iceland, Estonia, and Poland) are focused on European security against Russia.

Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis has no publicly scheduled events.


These are the last publicly reported locations of these ships. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does not appear imminent.

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported as being underway in the Pacific Ocean.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as being in port at Norfolk, but will be transitioning to a new home port in San Diego.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as being underway in the eastern Pacific as it begins its shift to a new homeport in Norfolk.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the Norwegian Sea. The carrier strike group is participating in the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise in Norway.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as taking part in joint U.S.-Japan military exercise Keen Sword off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Keen Sword runs through 09 November.

The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported as having returned to port in Norfolk.

* Indicates changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.


Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

* Only events pertinent to national security are listed.
** Significant reporting will appear in this week’s Strategic and National Intelligence reports.


A new study out front the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution shows that student loan debt is set to weigh heavily on the economy. According to their findings, 40 percent of student loans may be in default by 2023. “Eventually all major players are going to have to have a reckoning on what we’re doing. Why is this necessary? Are we sending too many people to college?” asked an economic professor who contributed to the study. [source]

The head of global multi-asset strategy at J.P. Morgan reported that foresees global GDP growth at 2.5 percent per year for the next 10-15 years. He also stated that 2019 will be a “seminal year” as the U.S. economy either makes a new record for the longest period of economic expansion in U.S. history, or it’s going to “roll over” — referring to a recession and reset of the cycle.

Nassim Taleb was on Bloomberg TV last week to say that “the world is more fragile today than in 2007”. Taleb, the author of several great books including Antifragile and Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, said, “We have the same symptoms. We have absolutely the same disease,” as we did heading into the 2008 recession. “We have a lot more debt today… You don’t get a free lunch… [The debt] moved to governments and corporate balance sheets… Higher rates, more interest. You may enter a spiral… [A debt spiral] is when governments have to borrow more to pay interest [on existing debt]… On top of the debt, you have hidden liabilities that should count like debt…”


HurricaneWatch: The National Hurricane Center reports that the Atlantic Ocean is clear of activity. About 25 days remain in “hurricane season,” which ends on 30 November. [source]


The latest drought map will be published on Thursday’s Early Warning report.

What I’m Looking at this Morning

Rules of engagement for U.S. troops at the border

Russia, Cuba vow to expand strategic ties

Notable Quotable

“[T]he president is going to go on a war path after the midterms. Karma.” – Embattled former Trump advisor George Papadopoulos

Samuel Culper 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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