Early Warning for 20 August 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 20 August 2018. (All times Eastern.)

 

White House

The President is scheduled to have lunch with Vice President Pence and then attend a Salute to Heroes event for ICE and Border Patrol.


 

State Department

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has no significant events scheduled.

Of note: The Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security is on travel from 12-26 August to Indonesia, Vietnam, and Australia. In Indonesia, U.S. officials will meet to discuss expanding defense trade and regional security issues. All three meetings are likely central to the U.S. Indo-Pacific security strategy to prevent China’s dominance of the entire region.


 

Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis has no publicly scheduled events.

SECDEF is scheduled to be in the Indo-Pacific in September and will then travel to Europe.

 

The Carl Vinson (CVN-70) was last reported as having returned to port in San Diego.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported back as participating in an exercise off the coast of southern California.

The Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) was last reported in port at Norfolk.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as traveling to the Philippine Sea to take part in a bilateral exercise with the Japanese navy.

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

Conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.


 

Congress

Significant House Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

Significant Senate Activity:

  • Nothing significant to report.

* Reporting will appear in the Strategic Intelligence Summary or National Intelligence Bulletin.


 

Economy/Finance

– Chinese trade representatives will be meeting with Trump administration officials this week to discuss scaling back the trade war. I’ve commented here before that China’s economy has some weakness being exploited by the trade war. China watchers are telling people not to be hopeful for successful talks, perhaps in part because the Trump administration wants to really drive the point home for Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party.

-The U.S. stock market is set to break a record this week as the longest bull run in history. This period will beat out the expansion seen in the 1990s until the dot-com bubble burst brought it to an end.

– Moody’s Investors Service recently published these two charts showing weak economic performance in credit cards and auto loans. The increasing percentage of 30-day delinquencies in both sectors should be a warning of defaults during the next recession.

– Here’s an interesting map from Value Penguin showing credit card usage across the country.


 

Weather

The National Hurricane Center has nothing significant to report.

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

NATO confirms German troops will spearhead massive NATO exercise

Chinese military steps up strength against U.S., Taiwan


 

Notable Quotable

They have definitely showed their organizational capacity in terms of ordering violence and in terms of recruiting and replenishing the ranks,” says a Homeland Security Investigations official on MS-13’s resiliency

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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