Early Warning for 17 September 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Early Warning for 17 September 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 17 September 2018. (All times Central.)


White House

The President is scheduled to receive an update on the federal response to Hurricane Florence and then receive his intelligence briefing. Later he has lunch with the vice president, followed by a meeting of the National Council for the American Worker, then hosts a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo: Nothing significant to report.


Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis has no publicly scheduled events today. During his trip to Macedonia, he condemned Russia for meddling in the country’s deliberations to join NATO. Macedonia’s president said that the country is likely to vote to join NATO.

Of Note: The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency is scheduled to speak today on national security issues. We’ll monitor the event and report a summary for tomorrow’s Early Warning. Our report will also appear in Thursday’s Strategic Intelligence Summary.


There has been no significant change in deployments of U.S. carrier strike groups. 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 being in the eastern Pacific.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as conducting sustainment operations in the Atlantic.

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

The George H. W. Bush (CVN-77) was last reported in the Atlantic after leaving port at Norfolk to evade Hurricane Florence.



Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

* Only events pertinent to national security are listed.



– U.S. stock futures were down this morning as investors fear that President Trump follows through with his recent comments about targeting China with tariffs on another $200 billion of goods. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is expected to shore up plans to visit D.C. next week to meet with U.S. officials, but that trip will reportedly be cancelled if the president orders another round of tariffs. Meanwhile, top bankers from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Blackstone held discussions with Chinese officials yesterday. (Analyst Comment: U.S. bankers have historically pushed restraint against U.S. presidents not to rock the boat too much over Chinese trade and currency manipulation. Their bottom line is their bottom dollar, and disruption in U.S.-China relations threatens profits. One major trend we’ve seen is that there’s a powerful lobby interested in economic growth at any cost. That’s why we see influence towards mass immigration policies, which proponents say increases overall demand, and against the president’s strategy to disrupt the balance of rising Chinese power. Ultimately, these tariffs aren’t just about trade. They’re in place to modify China’s behavior in the region and are also meant to punish China for their continued theft of U.S. intellectual property, which is estimated at $200-300 billion being stolen each year. U.S. bankers in talks with Chinese officials are likely trying to calm their own waters and could be undermining the president’s strategy to gain concessions from the Chinese.)



There are no hurricanes in the Atlantic as of this morning at 0800. Tropical Depression Florence continues to drench the Appalachians on its way up to Maine and back out to sea. Tropical Depression Joyce remains in the eastern Atlantic and could threaten the Gulf or East Coast later this month. Meanwhile, another low pressure disturbance has formed in the Caribbean and could be headed towards the Texas coast. More to follow as these developments shape up.


REMINDER: This hurricane watch section will remain in this report through the end of the season. I check the latest from the National Hurricane Center each morning and will provide details as necessary.




Drought conditions persist across much of the Southwest. This map is updated every Thursday.


What I’m Looking at this Morning

Chinese expanding economic influence in Americas, research in the Arctic

Army set to build stronger tactical cyber teams

Pentagon rejects request to send Marines to Taiwan


Notable Quotable

“There a squeeze that will be emerging, but generally speaking we’re in, I would say, the seventh inning of the [business] cycle… We’re in the later stage, maybe we have two more years, I would say, in the cycle. Something like that… This [coming debt crisis] looks more like the 1935-40 period.” – Ray Dalio, Bridgewater hedge fund

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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