Early Warning for 18 January 2018

Early Warning is a daily intelligence report published each morning at 8am CST that alerts readers to the largest events that happened overnight and the developments expected to shape the day. Published via the web and also made available through email, Early Warning is available for both Strategic Intelligence and National Intelligence subscribers.

Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 18 January 2018.

SECDEF Mattis is expected to unveil the new National Defense Strategy tomorrow, amid dysfunction in the Congress in the ongoing budget battle. The new strategy document is likely to focus on force modernization, along with growing the Army and Navy. Mattis seems to be zeroing in on improving U.S. capabilities on the “intelligent battlefield,”  as the new strategy reportedly promotes advancements in space warfare, hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems. (Analyst Comment: In addition to a shift towards modernization, the Army has been expanding the level of training soldiers receive on the FIM-92 Stinger man-portable air defense missile — yes, THAT Stinger missile. This is an important indicator to watch because it shows the Army is serious about survivability for soldiers in a conventional conflict where the U.S. may not maintain air superiority.)

Tomorrow is the deadline for the Congress to reach a budget agreement and avoid a government shutdown. The President is apparently open to keeping the National Park Service excluded from the shutdown, in part because that’s where the media has historically made the most hay during previous shutdowns. We should probably be looking at another short-term funding agreement, which will only kick the can down the road. My concern continues to be that the GOP fails to pass a budget before the 2018 mid-terms, and will risk incurring the wrath of a potentially Democrat-controlled Senate that holds the America First policy hostage.

Somewhat humorous: President Trump announced the Fake News Awards last night, with liberal economist Paul Krugman taking the top spot for 2017. “Paul Krugman Says Markets Will ‘Never’ Recover from Trump; Dow Hits Record High” reads one headline. Other winners (or losers, technically) include Brian Ross at ABC for a false report he published, which led to his dismissal from the network. CNN, Time, the Washington Post, and the New York Times also took home awards. [source]

And Sweden produced five million brochures warning its citizens about a war with Russia. Titled “If Crisis or War Comes”, the booklets provide information on what citizens should do during war, which includes plans for a layered defense of the nation. Last year, the Swedish government brought back national conscription into its military, another sign that Sweden is serious about a Russian incursion.

 

Critical Intelligence:

 

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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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