Early Warning for 29 August 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Wednesday, 29 August 2018. (All times Eastern.)


White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing, announce a grant for a drug-free communities support program, and then attend the White House Historical Association reception with the First Lady.


State Department

Secretary Pompeo: nothing significant to report.

Of note: From 26 August to 05 September, the Assistant Secretary for Economic and Business Affairs is on travel to Japan, Philippines, Singapore, and India, to discuss the Trump administration’s strategy to ensure “a free and open Indo-Pacific region”. That’s State Department-speak for preventing Chinese dominance in the region.


Defense Department

Defense Secretary Mattis: Nothing significant to report.

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 Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) was last reported off the coast of Florida.

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 in the Philippine Sea.

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.



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.



– In a CNBC interview, the senior economist at the real estate website Zillow says that he doesn’t expect a buyers market for homes until at least 2020. That expectation is based on a consensus forecast of a recession. Also on the segment was a Wharton professor who warned that a steep rise in mortgage rates could also cause a housing downturn and potentially trigger a recession. [source]



The National Hurricane Center reports nothing significant for the Atlantic Ocean.

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

Iranian influence operation against the U.S. bigger than previously thought

DailyCaller: China hacked Hillary server

Russian troops gear up for massive war games with Chinese military


Notable Quotable

“We recognize cyberspace and outer space as warfighting domains on par with air, land and sea. And these two domains … were made contested domains by the actions of others, so as a result we have elevated [U.S.] Cyber Command to full combatant command status and we have worked with Congress and the White House to define the evolving space problem that we confront.” – SECDEF Mattis during a press conference yesterday

Yesterday’s Highlights

Time allowing, I may start including the highlights of the previous day’s Strategic and National intelligence reporting.

China studying Battle of Guadalcanal

Unlike the United States, which has been at war almost continuously since 2001, China has not undertaken a significant military campaign in decades. This has resulted in China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) having a lack of combat experience. To remedy this situation, the PLA has used the study of military history, including the Guadalcanal campaign of August 1942. In December 2017, the Chinese Navy’s official magazine Navy Today published an analysis of this campaign, detailing Japanese errors.
According to the article, the Japanese defeat can be attributed to a number of mistakes including:
            –An emphasis on always taking the offensive;
            –Intelligence shortages;
            –Poor coordination between ground and naval forces;
            –An emphasis on night fighting and close combat;
            –Poor logistics and failure to target U.S. lines of communication;
            –Inappropriate weapons designs.
A close reading of this analysis will likely provide hints of the PLA’s focus in coming years. [source]


U.S. Navy’s 2nd Fleet’s boundaries to extend to Russian waters

The newly reconstituted U.S. Navy 2nd Fleet was announced in May and the ceremonial standup of the new command was August 24.  The Navy has already moved to employ more ships into the North Atlantic as part of this new command structure. The boundaries of the 2nd Fleet extend into waters north of Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle, near the submarine headquarters of Russia’s Northern Fleet, according to Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson. The new 2nd Fleet Commander, Vice Adm. Andrew Lewis, said the new command reflects Defense Secretary John Mattis’ goal of a return to “great power competition” with nation states, rather than the low-intensity conflict in which the U.S. has engaged since 2001. [source]

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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