Early Warning for 19 March 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Early Warning for 19 March 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 19 March 2018. (All times Eastern.)

Advanced Early Warning: The Congress risks another government shutdown this Friday if they fail to pass a spending bill. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is still a major sticking point for an agreement.

ALSO: Over the weekend, we saw a number of vitriolic statements from former Obama administration officials regarding the president. In a report to be released this afternoon, I’ll be recapping what they said, why I would characterize some of these statements as “threatening language”, and how these statements are an indicator of what’s to come.


White House
In addition to receiving his daily intelligence briefing, the president is scheduled to give a speech in New Hampshire on the opioid crisis, before returning to the White House in the evening.


State Department
There is no schedule published for outgoing SECSTATE Rex Tillerson, who will continue to serve until 31 March. Other top State Department officials are attending meetings and briefings in Foggy Bottom.


Defense Department
SECDEF James Mattis and other top Defense officials have no scheduled meetings or events today.

Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70) completed a Vietnam port call and a joint U.S.-Japan naval exercise in the South China Sea, and the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) was last operating in the Persian Gulf. Other aircraft carriers are in their home ports, and conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.


The House and Senate are in session this week and we’ll be covering a number of hearings. (1) House Armed Services Committee hearing on State/Non-State Actor Influence Operations. (2) House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on China’s Foreign Influence Operations. We’ll generate reporting for subscribers on these hearings, if necessary.


Federal Reserve/Economy
(1) Over the next couple years, our major concern remains rising interest rates and quantitative tightening from the Federal Reserve during the second half of the business cycle. That’s leading us to another recession and there are already reasons to believe that it could equal or exceed the pain of the 2008 financial crisis. (2) Fed chair Jerome Powell is set to give his first address this week. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve board members are meeting and are expected to approve another interest rate hike. We continue to produce a weekly situation report on the likelihood of recession in the National Intelligence Bulletin.


Last Week’s Significant Reporting
Intel chiefs: Russia, China engaged in ‘low-level’ warfare with U.S.
The human terrain of immigration makes domestic conflict more likely
19 members of Tennessee motorcycle gang indicted
Commerce Secretary Ross speaks on potential for trade war


Notable Quotable
“As for the U.S., the Trump Administration has been stronger than the Obama Administration in standing up to [Putin]—for example, by sending lethal weapons to Ukraine. But Mr. Putin is still hoping he can manipulate Donald Trump into some kind of accommodation to the Kremlin’s regional dominance. Mr. Trump shouldn’t fall for it.” – Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

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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