Early Warning for 29 October 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Early Warning for 29 October 2018

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Monday, 29 October 2018. (All times Central.)


White House

The President is scheduled to receive his intelligence briefing and has no other publicly scheduled events.

Caravan Watch: According to recent reporting, the migrant caravan is still about 1,000 miles away from the U.S. border at McAllen, Texas. If the migrants head towards Tijuana/San Diego, their journey could be around 2,000 miles. Depending on the media source, especially Mexican or American, the caravan size ranges from 4,000 to as many as 15,000. U.S. media outlets are reporting somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 migrants. While awaiting food distribution in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the migrant caravan beat a man who was later hospitalized. The man used a megaphone to tell the migrants to ‘wait their turn’ for the sandwiches being distributed. Some began to yell insults at him and others attacked him before being arrested by police. [source] On Friday, Mexican president Pena Nieto launched a “You Are Home” initiative, which aims to repatriate the migrants in Chiapas and Oaxaca by offering shelter, food, medicine, and jobs.

Meanwhile, a second caravan of about 800 migrants tried crashing their way into Mexico, where dozens were injured and one man was killed, allegedly by a rubber bullet from police. Mexico’s interior secretary said that his federal police had been attacked with “stones, firecrackers, and glass bottles”. An Associated Press reporter says that the interior secretary also accused some in the group possessed firearms and gasoline bombs.

The Defense Department reports that the military is already delivering jersey barriers to the border in order to stop the caravan from gaining entry.

Also of note: House Democrats are already pushing the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes to receive federal discrimination protections. The bill has 198 co-sponsors in the House, but no support in the Senate. The Democrats, should they win the House next week, appear poised to force a showdown in the Congress next year.

State Department

Secretary Pompeo: Nothing significant to report.

Of Note: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson is on travel to Iceland, Estonia, and Poland starting today, and will return after a trip to Jordan on 08 November. The trip to Europe comes during the Trident Juncture military exercise.

Defense Department

Defense Secretary Matti: Nothing significant to report.

Deployments: The Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group was last reported as underway in the East China Sea. The Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) was last reported as underway in the north 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.


These are the last publicly reported locations of these ships. Conflict requiring an aircraft carrier/carrier strike group does 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, but will be transitioning to a new home port in San Diego.

The John Stennis (CVN-74) was last reported as being underway in the eastern Pacific as it begins its shift to a new homeport in Norfolk.

The Harry Truman (CVN-75) was last reported as being in the Norwegian Sea. The carrier strike group is participating in the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise in Norway.

The Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) was last reported as being in the Philippine Sea.

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

* Indicates changes to last reported location or other amplifying information.


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.


The Wall Street Journal ran an article this morning entitled, “U.S. Economy Flashes Signs It’s All Downhill From Here”. The economy expanded by 4.2 percent in the second quarter of this year. Last quarter’s numbers came in at 3.5 percent, annually. While those are great numbers, a WSJ survey of economists found that expectations of future growth will decline further. The chief economist of Barclays Capital reportedly said that U.S. economic growth peaked this year. Analysts are concerned that the effects of the Trump Bump and tax cuts are fading, which leaves the U.S. economy without its primary growth drivers. As interest rates rise — if the Fed continues that policy — we could see a sustained slow down, which will ultimately lead to a recession. None of the economists surveyed expect an imminent recession, however. [source]

Analysts at Discover and Capital One say they’re becoming more cautious about credit limits as expectations of slower growth and recession loom. “It really is about reducing risk. By traditional measures we’re pretty late into an economic cycle,” said Discover CEO Roger Hochschild. [source]


HurricaneWatch: The National Hurricane Center reports that Hurricane Oscar, still east of the Bahamas, is expected to take an abrupt turn to the northeast and not make landfall in the U.S. About 32 days remain in “hurricane season,” which ends on 30 November. [source]

The latest drought map will appear each Thursday.

What I’m Looking at this Morning

China: We will ‘take military action’ on Taiwan, South China Sea

The week identity politics ate itself

Notable Quotable

“We think U.S. growth may have just peaked.” – Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist for Barclays Capital

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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