Early Warning for 11 October 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 11 October 2018. (All times Central.)

 

White House

The President is scheduled to sign two bills into law (Saving Our Seas Act of 2018 and the Music Modernization Act), then give a speech at the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Annual Meeting.

Of Note: Kanye West is scheduled to have lunch with President Trump today. A White House memo says the two will discuss prison reform, gang violence, and manufacturing.


 

State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to join Vice President Pence and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in co-hosting the second Conference for Prosperity and Security in Central America. U.S. officials are joined by the Mexican foreign secretary and other officials from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These “Northern Triangle” countries have been battered by corruption, the drug trade, and transnational gangs and are a major source of illegal immigrants for the U.S. and Mexico. Over the course of two days, the gathering will “identify steps to further strengthen and expand projects promoting economic opportunity, infrastructure, economic integration, and energy markets,” and “discuss security cooperation, stemming the flow of illegal immigration, combating organized crime and gangs, and enhancing regional and citizen security” on day two.

Of Note: The Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation will be in Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand this week (09-12 October) to discuss nonproliferation issues concerning North Korea.


 

Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis has no publicly scheduled events.

Deployments: The Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group was last reported as underway in the South China Sea. The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) was last reported as underway in the Atlantic to participate in Trident Juncture 2018 in Norway. Along with the Iwo Jima ARG are Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit who will be joining 700 Marines already in Norway. Trident Juncture 2018 will begin on 15 October, but most of the exercise will take place between 25 October and 07 November.

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

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported as being in port of San Diego.

The Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported as being in port at Norfolk.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as having returned to port in Bremerton, WA.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the north Atlantic after arriving in port at Portsmouth, England over the weekend. The carrier strike group will participate in the upcoming Trident Juncture 2018 exercise in Norway.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as being in the Philippine Sea.

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


 

Congress

Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • The Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on the military threat posed by near peer adversaries China and Russia.
  • The Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain ecosystem.
  • The Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Blackstart, “which is the process for returning energy to the power grid after a system-wide blackout,” and other system restoration plans.

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


 

Economy/Finance

President Trump continued his row with the Federal Reserve yesterday and into last night as the criticized Fed chair Jerome Powell for raising interest rates. Calling the decision “crazy,” President Trump continued by saying that the Fed was “going wild” and later called the Fed policy “loco”. Recently asked if he would intervene, President Trump said that it was not his place and that he hadn’t spoken with Powell.

Futures were down this morning after yesterday’s market route of the Dow, down 832 points or 3.15 percent. Yesterday’s losses in the U.S. rippled across the globe, sending China’s Shanghai Index down 5.2 percent and the MSCI Asia Pacific Index down 3.4 percent. CNBC reported early this morning that futures were pointing to a 300-point drop at market open. That changed after today’s consumer price index showed a 0.1 percent rise, instead of the expected 0.2 percent rise, sending S&P 500 futures into positive territory. Of note: Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google — the so-called FANG stocks — had their worst day ever yesterday. 80 percent of technology stocks are in correction territory, so the long-awaited market correction may be here. A recent International Monetary Fund report warned that U.S. equities were overvalued.


Weather

HurricaneWatch: Hurricane Michael slammed into the Southeast yesterday and is currently a tropical storm hovering through the Carolinas. Hurricane Leslie is still spinning in the eastern Atlantic, while Tropical Storm Nadine slowly heads west.

[source]

 

Drought Map

(Source: This map is updated every Thursday.)

 

Active Wildfires

(Source: This map is updated every Monday.)


 

What I’m Looking at this Morning

U.S. lacks grand strategy to counter China

Ben Bernanke’s end game

Dems fundraise cash while GOP braces for onslaught

U.S. sealift can’t count on Navy escorts in next war


 

Notable Quotable

“Democrats have extended lessons learned from Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign… harnessing hundreds of thousands of energized small donors nationwide and innovations in digital fundraising to shatter fund-raising records.” Evan Halper, L.A. Times

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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