Early Warning for 19 October 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Early Warning for 19 October 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Friday, 19 October 2018. (All times Central.)


White House

The President is scheduled to hold a fundraiser in Scottsdale, tours and holds a Defense Roundtable at Luke Air Force Base, and then holds a Make America Great Again Rally in Mesa, Arizona.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to meet with Mexican officials to discuss “ongoing security cooperation efforts to disrupt the illicit movement of cash, weapons, drugs across our shared border as well as the issue of stemming illegal immigration and strengthening accountability for corruption and human rights abuses, and bringing members of transnational criminal organizations to justice.”

Of Note: Vice President Pence will travel to Mexico on 01 December to attend the inauguration of president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.


Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis is traveling today.

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 began on 15 October, but most of the exercise will take place between 25 October and 07 November.

Of Note: The chief of the Michigan Army National Guard and other National Guard officials will participate in discussions of “how states are preparing for a cyber disruption event”. When we get access, we’ll include significant reporting in the National Intelligence Bulletin.

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 underway in the Pacific Ocean.

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

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as being underway in the eastern Pacific.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the North Sea. 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 South China Sea.

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



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.



New estimates from JPMorgan shows a 60 percent chance of recession in the next two years and a 28 percent chance in the next 12 months. Within three years, JPMorgan sees the probability at 80 percent.

Yesterday, President Trump ended a nearly 150-year old agreement that charges lower postal rates from China as the rest of American competitors pay to ship within in the States. It’s another way that the president is trying to level the playing field — and maybe level China. Yesterday’s numbers on Chinese economic growth, officially at 6.5 percent but in reality probably closer to half that, missed expectations causing some to ponder the R-word for the world’s second largest economy: recession. The Communist Chinese Party blamed the news on a “severe international situation”. China, like the United States, is in no imminent danger of recession, but there’s growing speculation that 2020 is the year of the next Chinese recession. 2020 is shaping up to be a bad year.



HurricaneWatch: The National Hurricane Center continues to show a picture in the Atlantic free of cyclone activity. About 42 days remain in “hurricane season,” which ends on 30 November. [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

Russia: NATO should be ‘wise enough’ to avoid war

Trump suggests sending troops to U.S.-Mexico border

Russian military buildup in Kaliningrad

U.S., Mexico agree to handle ‘migrant caravan’ from Central America


Notable Quotable

“The Americans and we have made two fundamental statements since the Soviet era to the effect nobody can win a nuclear war and for that reason it cannot happen. It might be a good idea to reaffirm this postulate in the current context.” – Sergei Lavrov, Russian Defense Minister

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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