Strategic Intelligence Summary for 14 June 2018 – Forward Observer Shop

Strategic Intelligence Summary for 14 June 2018

Strategic Intelligence contains intelligence reporting on the state of global security and instability, geostrategic issues affecting the United States, pre-war indicators, and assessments on the current risk of war. This report is available each week for Intelligence subscribers.

In this Strategic Intelligence Summary: (4,990 words)

  • Somali rebels diverted river to ambush U.S. Special Forces troops 
  • Russian naval activity ramping up in the Sea of Azov as invasion concerns mount 
  • China may see a record number of defaults in 2018 
  • Russian military developing massive cloud to operate off-grid
  • North Korea, China, Russia, and Middle East SITREPs
  • And more…


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We’re witnessing a revision to the post-World War II global order. Candidate Donald Trump promised to tear up old trade deals and make better ones for America and Americans. By any measure he’s making progress on that campaign pledge. On Friday he essentially blew up the G7 meeting by reminding everyone in his very Trumpian way that the U.S. economy is larger than all of the other G7 members combined and that to gain access to it in the future will depend in large part on getting rid of policies, taxes, and tariffs that serve as impediments to American companies trying to gain access to G7 markets. This follows Trump’s drive to rework NAFTA, his refusal to go along with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, his tariffs against China and tariff threats again Europe, and his administration’s efforts to redo a trade arrangement with South Korea — even as he was preparing to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un for a historic summit (more on that below). 

Trump has also withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accords — again because he believed they fleeced the U.S. economically without benefiting the planet much — hounded NATO allies to pay their fair share to support the alliance (more on that below as well), and has generally proven to be hostile to the existing order. To Trump, the post-WWII Marshall Plan never really ended; he believes we continue to support Europe to a fault and that Europeans have come to expect to be ‘taken care of’ by the U.S. No more. 

His America-first attitude and his America-first policies are going to have direct implications on the globalist-minded world order, which he believes basically consists of most Western countries relying on the U.S. to finance their progress. Many pundits and “experts” will scream foul and try to claim that Trump wants to return America to 1930s isolationism, which they decry as a dangerous anachronism. This assessment misreads Trump as badly as pollsters did in the months before the 2016 election. Trump has no issues working with friends and allies; Trump’s issue is that he’s not willing to give away the farm to please an ally because ‘that’s just how things are done.’ He’ll work with anyone but he’ll not do it at the expense of American pride, sovereignty, and wealth. Anyone who wants in will have to play by America’s rules from here on out and that will necessarily involve the destruction of the existing order and a reordering of American priorities. 

Meanwhile, there are revisionist powers out there — Russia, China, and Iran being the largest — who want a reordering of their own, but on their terms. Trump would even be willing to work with them but he’ll not do it on terms that will cause conflict in the years ahead.

Yet, for that reason alone our allies will grumble and complain and call Trump an uncouth ogre and lout behind his back — but they’ll conform to his demands because they know they’re too weak, even collectively, to stand up to the great power revisionism that is already underway. 

Welcome to this week’s Strategic Intelligence Summary and thank you for subscribing We welcome your feedback. — JD

Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the new indicators of disruptive events that could cause global or regional instability?

PIR2: What are the latest military and security developments exhibited by the U.S. and their peer and near-peer adversaries?

PIR3: What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four flashpoints? (North Korea, China, Russia, Iran/Israel/Middle East)

PIR4: What activities are foreign intelligence services directing against the United States our allies?

PIR1: What are the new indicators of disruptive events that could cause global or regional instability?

Somali rebels diverted river to ambush U.S. Special Forces troops

The Green Beret killed in Somalia last week was part of a joint operation consisting of American, Kenyan, and Somali soldiers. The mission’s objective was to establish a combat outpost (COP) after liberating villages in Lower Juba from Al Shabaab control, a rebel organization that pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2012. After seeing an increased presence of allied forces in recent weeks, the militants decided to divert water from the Jubba River to flood the region, which then compelled the joint force to build the COP on a piece of higher ground where they were then ambushed. Killed was 26-year-old Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Conrad of Chandler, Arizona. [source] Analyst comment: The African continent continues to be a challenge for the U.S. and it’s not going to get any better or easier in the future. There is promise on the continent and the potential for big rewards — both for the U.S. and her allies and for the individual countries themselves. But at some point you have to think the Trump administration may wonder if the holdout of promise is worth the American treasure and blood that we continue to spend there. 

Russian naval activity ramping up in the Sea of Azov as invasion concerns mount

Ukrainian military officials are concerned that an increase in Russian naval activity in the Sea of Azov in recent weeks is part of a “Boa Constrictor” strategy that can be seen as a prelude to a land assault. Additions to the region have notably included artillery boats and small missile ships redeployed from the Caspian Flotilla. The appearance in the Sea of Azov, of two small missile ships armed with Kalibr long-range cruise missiles has tellingly boosted Moscow’s ability to rain high-precision strikes on the entire depth of the territory of Ukraine from two offshore operational zones simultaneously—on either side of the Kerch Strait. In addition, the Russian Black Sea Fleet has dramatically augmented the number of its joint amphibious drills, including very large exercises involving aviation and air defense forces. Also noteworthy has been the growth of Russian oceanographic fleet assets, with capabilities to conduct “hybrid” (“New Type”) naval operations featuring allegedly civilian Russian vessels which are manned, at least in part, by what some call “little blue sailors”—individuals who are not exactly uniformed personnel, but not believed to be wholly civilian, either (like the “little green men” who initially invaded Crimea). Electronic warfare usage in the Sea of Azov has also increased. Moscow’s strategy in the Sea of Azov seems designed to take control of the waters all the way up to the Ukrainian coast line, thus putting pressure and additional costs on Ukraine-bound maritime shipping traffic. In fact, like a boa constrictor, it aims to economically strangle southeastern Ukraine’s industrial seaport areas and destabilize the social situation there. When you also take into consideration the Crimea annexation and overlay that with Russia’s growing regional amphibious capability and the focus of its military exercises, a future invasion scenario becomes more likely. [source] (SC: Ukraine watchers have focused on the possibility of a renewed Russian military effort to expand gains in the country. The World Cup starts today in Russia, so expanded military operations before it ends seems unlikely, but not impossible. What’s more likely is a replay of what happened after the Sochi Olympics. It ended, and then Russia launched their invasion into Ukraine in the fall.)

China may see a record number of defaults in 2018

A credit crunch within China’s corporate bond market could lead to a record number of defaults in 2018. “Default risk has risen due to tighter regulation, and investors should be fully aware of the possibility of a vicious circle caused by a credit crunch and deteriorating market confidence, resulting in further defaults,” said Yan Yan, chairman of China Chenxin Asia Pacific Ratings. Yan noted further that there will be a large number of bonds maturing through 2020, which will only contribute to the risk of default. The risk comes as policies were put in place by the government to cut excess leverage as a means of stabilizing the Chinese financial system, but the effort may trigger worse results. Thus far this year the bond market has seen 14 defaults. As well as cutting their own holdings, Chinese banks have pulled back from lending to other firms that use the funds to buy bonds, exacerbating the pressure on the market. Research from Rhodium Group notes that more bond defaults are likely among property developers and local-government financing vehicles which have relied on shadow banking vehicles for their funding. [source] Analyst comment: This is the last thing the communist government wants to see because it will lead to instability among the very large Chinese population and authoritarian regimes hate chaos and instability. We’re watching this closely; a suddenly unstable China rocked with dissent and preoccupied with internal affairs would be quite a strategic development for the U.S.

PIR2: What are the latest military and security developments exhibited by the U.S. and their peer and near-peer adversaries? 

Russian military developing massive cloud to operate off-grid

Russia’s military is building a massive cloud, the latest improvement in its ability to keep operating if its connection to the global internet is lost, severed, or hacked, according to the country’s media. The cloud will rely on data centers, built with all-Russian hardware and software at an estimated cost of 390 million rubles (about $6 million) and slated for completion by 2020, the report said. The first center has already been established in the military’s Southern District, an area that includes the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula and portions of battle-struck eastern Ukraine. Russian forces have launched multiple information attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure and government since 2014, in what many see as a concerted effort to destabilize the country. The new data center makes the Russian forces operating there less susceptible to Ukrainian counterattacks. The cloud will connect to the Closed Transfer Segment, the Russian military’s massive internal network. President Putin’s top IT advisor has said that in wartime, Russia could disconnect entirely from the global internet and run commercial traffic on the Closed Transfer Segment. [source] Analyst comment: While it makes perfect sense for a great power to invest in a backup plan should global Internet connections be lost, what makes this particular development even more noteworthy is that Russian vessels and subs have been shadowing (mapping) international undersea data cables with more frequency in recent months. Moscow could cut them in wartime and still have the ability for its military to operate high-tech systems. 

New U.S. supercomputer regains title from China as world’s fastest

The newest U.S. supercomputer has regained the title of world’s fastest, besting China’s most rapid processor. The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee has unveiled Summit, which boasts peak computing power of 200 petaflops, or 200 million billion calculations a second — or a million times faster than your typical laptop. Summit is 60 percent faster than the previous supercomputing leader, the Sunway TaihuLight based in the Chinese city of Wuxi. Summit is the first supercomputer designed from the outset to handle machine learning, neural networks, and other AI applications. Its many thousands of AI-optimized chips from Nvidia and IBM can handle very demanding tasks like crunching mounds of reports and medical images to help unearth hidden causes of disease. Summit is big, too: Its 4,608 servers and associated gear fill the space of two tennis courts and weigh more than a large commercial aircraft. China still has the most entries on a list of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers. [source] Analyst comment: It’s not just about who can build the fastest computer. These have real-world applications, such as developing nuclear weapons and, as Summit suggests, machine-learning. This machine will also help developers with the next phase of supercomputing: “Exascale” machines. These are expected to come online in the early 2020s.

PIR3: What is the current situation report and risk of war in each of the four? (North Korea, China, Russia, Iran/Israel/Middle East)


Significant developments:

U.S. Marine Corps adding 300 additional personnel to its rotation in Norway: Currently, there are 330 Marines from 1st Battalion/6th Marine Regiment in Norway; the additional 300 are coming from Romania. The Marines are undergoing cold-weather training but this addition of personnel is aimed at making the force a much stronger, more credible deterrent. 

NATO planning large military exercise: The alliance will execute its largest military exercises since 2002 during the upcoming Trident Juncture 2018. Some 40,000 personnel from 30 NATO and partner nations will take part. Again, this should be viewed as sending a message of deterrence. It should be noted that the exercise scenario envisions a violation of sovereignty involving a NATO member: Norway. 


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims that member nations have ended defense spending cuts and have begun to increase the burden sharing, an objective sought by President Trump. “All allies have stopped the cuts, all have started to increase and the majority of allies have put forward plans on how to meet the 2 percent, or spend 2 percent on defense, by 2024,” he said. “I welcome the fact that Germany has stopped cuts. Germany has started to increase and also the plans to increase German defense spending by 80 percent over a decade.” Germany, of course, needed to; the alliance’s biggest European economy, German’s defense readiness has plummeted in the decades following the Cold War to the point where most of its fighter planes are not ready and ground troops lack basic field gear. This all comes, of course, as revisionist Russia is rising and posing the biggest threat to European security since the 1980s. Trump has been pushing all 29 NATO countries to boost defense spending (2 percent is the agreed upon minimum to be in the alliance) because he knows that while the U.S. would honor its Article V mutual defense pledge, the U.S. cannot hope to move forces quickly enough, and in significant numbers, to blunt a full-on Russian invasion. He also knows European NATO members also can’t mount a significant defense because they’re just not ready for it. Still, Stoltenberg says the alliance is moving in the right direction. He also said allies are expected to agree to a NATO Readiness Initiative, otherwise known as the “Four Thirties.” This would mean allies have, by 2020, 30 mechanized battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels ready within 30 days or less.

This is indeed a start but that’s all it is. That NATO members are extending their spending increase to the bare minimum required by the alliance out to 2024 means that until then the U.S. will have to continue picking up the slack in terms of preparation and readiness. That’s a problem not of capability but of logistics. Yes, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force can respond to any aggression quickly, as can a limited number of U.S. quick reaction forces. But to fight a great power war in defense of the continent, the U.S. would have to deploy tens of thousands of troops and equipment, as well as munitions and provisions, most of which would have to come via ship across an Atlantic Ocean that will be inhabited by sophisticated Russian submarines. You have to think that with each passing year the other members will become more and more able to meet their mutual defense of the continent obligation — the real reason for the alliance, not “peacekeeping” or Afghanistan deployments. But at the same time the principal great power nemesis — Russia — will be increasing its readiness too. What if oil prices, Moscow’s biggest source of revenue, remain high? What if a crisis elsewhere pushes them past $100 for years at a time? That would fund much of President Putin’s planned upgrades and new weapons purchases. And by then, who knows how much of Ukraine will remain as an independent country, or any of the Baltic States? 

There is also another consideration. If Russia sees that NATO is serious about bolstering readiness, Putin will see the current window of opportunity closing and may calculate that acting sooner rather than later to consolidate current territorial gains and make new ones is in his best interest. He may calculate that a NATO comprised of weak member states that are unready to resist him may also be unwilling to do so. 

The alliance has to shore up its defenses, without a doubt. But by letting them slip so badly, NATO members have actually increased the likelihood of great power conflict. Playing catch-up is never a good strategy, but it’s the best strategy NATO has for now.

Middle East: 

Significant developments:

Iran disguising Hezbollah proxy forces as Syrian government troops: Iran-allied militant groups including Hezbollah are disguising themselves in Syrian army uniforms to avoid being targeted by Israel, with the implicit assistance of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The Israelis have been regularly targeting Iranian forces and Iranian proxies in Syria as a means of preventing them from consolidating gains and building a foothold in Syria that can be used to launch attacks against the Jewish state.

Iraq will replace its M1A1 tanks with Russian MBTs: Iraq plans to replace its fleet of U.S.-made M1A1 Abrams tanks with Russia-made T-90S Main Battle Tank models. A spokesperson announced that 39 T-90S tanks had been handed over to the 35th Brigade of the 9th Armored Division and added that the units’ officers and crews had been retrained with Russian assistance. Moscow is gaining wider influence in the Middle East; can Moscow handle the myriad of competing self-interests better than the U.S. has done? Probably not. (SC: In 2008/09, the 9th Armored Division was the most solid unit in the Iraqi Army. When former Prime Minister Maliki wanted to push the Kurds around, he’d deploy the 9th IAD. That the 9th IAD is moving away from U.S. M1A1 Abrams to Russian T-90s is a big deal, and part of a larger trend of the U.S. losing influence in Iraq.)


A month or so ago it certainly looked as though the next major war as about to break out — this one between Israel and Iran. Now, it appears as though the immediate danger has passed, though the underlying tensions in the region and the animosity between both have certainly not changed.

What has changed is the dynamic: Things have definitely swung in Israel’s favor.

The relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the inclusion of elements of the Israeli navy in the annual U.S.-sponsored RIMPAC 2018 naval exercises (China is out) have sent the strongest signal yet to the Iranians, Syrians, and Russians that Washington is solidly behind the Jewish state in what has become the strongest U.S.-Israeli relationship in years. Combine these events with POTUS Trump’s decision to abandon the Obama-era ‘nuclear deal’ and there should be no doubt which side Trump has chosen. Any major attack on Israel would certainly draw in the United States, and there is little to suggest that Russia would come to Iran’s aid beyond material support unless its bases and holdings in Syria were threatened.

Trump and his diplomatic and national security teams have changed the dynamic in the Middle East, and Israeli is the beneficiary. 

North Korea:

The significant development this week is the summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un.


If you listen to the “mainstream” media much of what you’ll hear regarding Trump’s historic summit with Kim is negative. It’s purely political, of course, because that’s the era we live in, but in our view, what took place in Singapore this week was nothing short of amazing. Just a year ago Kim was threatening U.S. military assets in the region and launching missiles towards Japan, while Trump was promising to totally destroy Kim, his regime, and his country should the North Korean leader make good on his threats. Now, it appears that at least some agreement has been reached to denuclearize his country will at the same time ensuring that his regime survives — and his country thrives — if he holds up his end of the bargain. 

How can anyone consider this to be a bad thing? The talking heads are positing that Trump got played and that Kim is now “legitimized” and that his terrible human rights record should have been considered in any agreement. Kim legitimized himself when he succeeded in building a credible nuclear threat. As for Kim’s human rights abuses, Trump wasn’t in Singapore to turn him into a saint, he was there to make a deal to eliminate one of the principal national security threats to America — one so serious that even President Obama on his way out the door told Trump Pyongyang would be his biggest near-term challenge.

Back home, Kim’s telling his people that he won major concessions from the United States and critics are using that as ‘proof’ that Trump was either duped or gave away the store. Some of that proof, so to speak, was Trump’s pledge to end U.S.-South Korean war games. That’s political posturing; Kim would say such things to his people. For his part, Trump is championing the deal to Americans by noting that the games were expensive, he hasn’t ended the tough sanctions regime, and he’ll need verifiable evidence to prove Kim is following through. Sounds good; none of that suggests we’re ‘abandoning South Korea.’ Or Japan.

Time will tell if Kim upholds his end of the bargain. But there is one school of thought that says Kim, in a departure from his father’s and grandfather’s philosophy of presiding over an isolated, chronically poor nation, wants more for himself and his people, and is thus willing to forego the ultimate weapon of mass destruction for commerce, trade, and legitimate access to world markets. 

At one point, Trump reportedly used a tablet to show Kim what beachfront development along North Korean beaches would look like. Brilliant.

(SC: As an aside, President Trump was derided for saying that he “trusted” Kim Jong-un. Trump was further criticized for praising Kim, who is in all rights a ruthless dictator. Of course, Trump has to say those kinds of things to make any progress. “Strategic patience” failed miserably as a policy towards North Korea. The “sunshine” policy made no progress, either. What has made progress is President Trump’s treatment of talks with China as a last ditch effort to avert war. And maybe that’s convinced Kim to the table. To be honest, though, the prospect of a nuclear-free North Korea seems optimistic and a bit premature. In my view, the potential for war is still there. If Kim proves to be duplicitous, if he’s just buying time and toying with Trump, then I think Kim will pay for it. Kim has to know that, too, so one possible course of action is to drag his feet on denuclearization while appearing to make nice with the world until Trump’s out of office. Perhaps a militarily weaker president will be elected in 2020 or 2024 and Kim can go right back to another generation of the game.)

South China Sea:

Significant developments:

China removes surface-to-air missiles from Woody Island: An Israeli intelligence satellite noted on 03 June that Chinese forces had removed surface-to-air missiles that could cover the entire South China Sea or, at a minimum, the most valuable waterways where more than $5 trillion in trade passes each year.

Trump may impose postponed tariffs against China: Sometime between Friday and early next week President Trump may reimpose tariffs against Chinese companies that he temporarily suspended last month because there has been a lack of progress on talks to reduce China’s massive trade imbalance. China will retaliate if Trump does reimpose them but there isn’t any other way to force the Chinese to make the concessions Trump is demanding. There will be some mutual pain, but in the long haul China needs American markets to maintain its economic growth (and maintain internal stability).


There are varying schools of thought regarding China’s removal of those missiles from Woody Island, which is the largest of China’s holdings in the Paracels chain. It could be because Beijing knew Trump and Kim would reach an agreement Beijing has been seeking all along, or it could be as a result of Trump and China signing a deal recently with Chinese telecom company ZTE, which saw the U.S. extracting fines and implementing a monitoring regime in a face-saving measure for both sides. The deal allowed ZTE to save scores of jobs. 

Or it could be due to both. 

Maintaining internal stability is paramount to China’s Communist leaders and President Xi Jinping. A war on the Korean peninsula or massive job losses — due to a number of factors including the ZTE deal and ongoing trade issues that decrease growth — would cause great instability within China.

So in an effort to dial back the tensions, Beijing decided to remove some missiles and be viewed as demilitarizing the South China Sea, somewhat, in a nod to the Trump administration agreeing to make a deal with Kim that helps Beijing maintain its territorial integrity and stability. What happens next depends on several things.

First, North Korea has to begin the process of denuclearization. For all the American punditry’s hand-wringing, Trump has not given up on that demand. And he’s already made some progress along those lines, as former State Department whistleblower Peter Van Buren notes: “Concessions? Kim’s ongoing moratorium on nuclear and ballistic missile testing, the return of American prisoners, the closing of a ballistic missile test site, and the shutting down of nuclear test facility without opening a new one.” 

Also, China has a choice in terms of responding to Trump’s tariffs: It can concede by making another “face-saving” agreement or it can impose tariffs of its own and see who backs down first. Our money is on the Trump administration and the size, scope, and resiliency of the American economy. 

China has revisionist objectives — for its own Asian neighborhood and throughout the world — but substituting force for mutually beneficial economic and financial arrangements is only making enemies rather than friends. Even Beijing’s budding ‘partnership’ with Moscow is no sure thing; after all both countries are revisionists seeking to change global dynamics in their favor; what do you think will happen when their interests diverge, as they surely will at some point? China’s best bet, long-term, is to make a friend of the U.S., not an enemy.

PIR4: What activities are foreign intelligence services directing against the United States our allies?

U.S., Mexican state form intelligence-sharing arrangement to battle drug cartels

U.S. authorities from a combination of federal agencies have formed an intelligence-sharing agreement with Mexican authorities from the state of Tamaulipas. A tip line has been established in the U.S. that Mexican citizens can use to provide information regarding drug cartel members and activities. Multiple U.S. agencies under the Departments of Homeland Security, State, and Justice, known as Joint Task Force West, are involved in this first-ever program. The new program is Campaña de Seguridad y Prosperidad (Security and Prosperity Campaign), and the announcement took place at the Hidalgo-Reynosa International bridge where Tamaulipas Governor Francisco Cabeza de Vaca and the U.S. Border Patrol Chief for the Rio Grande Valley and commander for Joint Task Force West spoke to members of the U.S. and Mexican press. The Tamaulipas government tried in the past to establish a tip line but the new program gives Mexican citizens who may not trust local law enforcement an opportunity to report cartel activities to American authorities instead. The 10 initial targets of the campaign include leaders of various factions of the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, called Cartel Del Noreste. Some of the individuals on the program’s wanted list include: 1) Juan Gerardo “El Huevo” Treviño Chavez, 2) Luis Miguel “El Flaco Sierra” Mercado Flores, 3) Jose Alfredo “El Contador” Cardenas Martinez, 4) Luis Alberto “Pelochas” Blanco Flores,  5) Petronilo “Panilo” Moreno Flores, 7) Juan Miguel “Miguelito” Lizardi Castro, 9) Andres “El Pause” Martinez Granados, 9) Agustin Ordorica Flores, and 10) Luis Bravo Bautista Ramirez. [source]

China hacked Navy contractor and stole sensitive submarine warfare data

U.S. officials say that Chinese government hackers have breached computers belonging to a U.S. Navy contractor and have stolen large amounts of highly sensitive data regarding undersea warfare that include secret plans to develop a supersonic anti-ship missile for use aboard American subs by 2020. The data breaches occurred in January and February, U.S. officials noted. Hackers targeted a contractor working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center which is headquartered in Newport, R.I. The center conducts research and development for subs and other underwater weapons platforms. The contractor was not identified. The hackers managed to steal 614 gigabytes of material relating to a closely held project known as Sea Dragon, as well as signals and sensor data, submarine radio room information relating to cryptographic systems, and the Navy submarine development unit’s electronic warfare library. U.S. media agree to withhold certain details about the compromised missile program at the Navy’s request due to the fact that release of the information would be detrimental to national security. The information was being held on the contractor’s unclassified network. [source] Analyst comment: SECDEF Mattis has ordered the Pentagon to review cyber security for all of its contractors, but obviously it’s too late regarding this particular breach. It seems inconceivable that a contractor would place highly sensitive data about a weapon system under development on an unclassified server, making one wonder how widespread the practice really is. Mattis’ review will hopefully identify additional lapses in security. Meanwhile, this proves anew that despite outward appearances, the U.S. and China remain great power competitors with competing interests in Asia, the South Pacific, and other parts of the world the West has historically dominated. The thing to keep in mind, too, is that U.S. hackers are constantly trolling for Chinese military secrets as well as those belonging to Russia and other global competitors, the success of which we rarely hear about. Still, cyber security among our contractors is obviously an issue.

Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

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