China has one more nuclear submarine than previously thought. That’s the word from Catherine Dill and Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
The two of them studied a set of satellite photos provided by Planet Labs and spotted a total of five nuclear-powered submarine hulls in production, three at China’s Longpo Naval Facility and two at its Bohai Shipyard. That’s one more than Western naval intelligence generally believed, at least according to unclassified sources.
Fewer operational SSBNs. But two of China’s four Jin-class nuclear-missile boats appear to be laid up long-term, meaning that the PLA Navy cannot yet keep ICBMs permanently at sea. Patrick Tucker has more, here.
China appears to have built a new structure or platform “topped by a radome and solar panels” on one of its islands in the South China Sea, Reuters reported Tuesday off new imagery from the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative.
Location and presumed benefit: Bombay Reef, on a remote part of the Paracel Islands — “directly adjacent to the major shipping lanes that run between the Paracels and the Spratly Islands to the south, making it an attractive location for a sensor array to extend Chinese radar or signals intelligence collection over that important sea lane,” according to CSIS.
China’s reax: “As for the specific situation you mention, I have no understanding of it,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. Dive deeper with CSIS report and imagery, here.
Spotted in Hong Kong: USS Ronald Reagan, mere “days after a pair of American B-52 bombers flew over the disputed South China Sea.”
ICYMI: The USS John C. Stennis joined the Ronald Reagan recently in the Philippine Sea. Military.com has that two-carrier optics story, which brought together “10 ships, about 150 aircraft and 12,600 sailors and Marines,” here.
BTW: Chinese state-sponsored hackers have stepped up their efforts at stealing American technology, AP reports off a report (PDF) from U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Increasingly targeted since mid-2017: U.S. companies in “cloud computing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, biomedicines, civilian space, alternative energy, robotics, rail, agricultural machinery, and high-end medical devices sectors.” Manufacturing industries were especially hit hard during June, July and August, the report alleges. A bit more from AP, here.
Happening later this month: Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump are slated to meet in Argentina on Nov. 30. CNBC and CNN preview that upcoming G20 meeting, here and here, respectively.
From Defense One
China Has More Nuclear Subs Than the West Believed // Patrick Tucker: There’s an extra sub under construction, but no permanent nuclear deterrent at sea — yet.
Trump to Stick with Saudi Arabia in Spite of Khashoggi Killing // Katie Bo Williams: The president reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to Riyadh — and said the crown prince may have known of plans to murder the U.S.-based journalist.
This Inventor May Have Cured Motion Sickness Without Drugs. And That Could Mean a Lot to the US Military // Patrick Tucker: One manufacturer of virtual-reality trainers has already begun including the devices in its simulators.
Welcome to this pre-Thanksgiving edition of The D Brief by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. It’s dangerous to go alone! Take The D Brief with you every morning. And if you find this stuff useful, consider sharing it with somebody you think might find it useful, too. And thanks for reading! On this day in 1969, a permanent ARPANET link was established between a computer at UCLA and another at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, Calif., giving us the first signs of what we now refer to as the internet.
The White House just approved the use of lethal force by troops at the border—and for crowd control and temporary detention, Military Times‘ Tara Copp reports this morning.
One presumed problem: All those authorizations are things that could run afoul of the U.S. law — 1898 Posse Comitatus Act — that forbids the military from performing domestic law enforcement duties. More to that story, here.
Trump’s unprecedented Saudi statement. In an extraordinary written statement issued on Tuesday, President Trump signaled that his administration will not penalize Saudi Arabia over its alleged involvement in the murder and dismemberment of the U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi, citing the value of U.S. arms sales to Riyadh and the Kingdom’s role in Trump’s strategy to constrain Iran.
In his 3,800-word statement, Trump reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to “standing with Saudi Arabia” even though “it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of” Khashoggi’s murder.
Said the U.S. president:“Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump wrote, using one of the statement’s eight exclamation marks. Our own Katie Bo Williams has more, here.
The Afghanistan bomb that killed 55 people at a wedding in Kabul on Tuesday was not a Taliban attack, the group said today, the Associated Press reports from the capital. Ninety-four others were wounded in the apparent suicide bombing, which AP writes “bore the hallmarks of a local Islamic State affiliate.”
Review the latest known-knowns from that attack in this nearly one-minute video from Agence France-Presse, here.
Interpol elected a South Korean official as its new president rather than the Russian man whose possible appointment raised a lot of attention over the weekend, Reuters reports.
Reminder why the position came open: The previous office-holder — Meng Hongwei — was Chinese, but China said he was corrupt and arrested him for bribery. But to replace that allegedly corrupt official with one (Alexander Prokopchuk) from Russia? That was a bit too much for U.S. and European officials.
In: Kim Jong-yang, who was voted in at an Interpol meeting in Dubai. Kim will finish out Meng’s term, which ends in 2020. More from the Associated Press, here.
Border deployment cost update: So far, the U.S. government has spent $72 million to send active duty troops to the Mexican border, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Robert Manning told reporters Tuesday. If the mission ends as currently scheduled on Dec. 15, the total estimated cost will be some $210 million, the AP has reported. Military Times has a bit more, here.
Border snitches and security update: “The Department of Homeland Security is gathering intelligence from paid undercover informants inside the migrant caravan that is now reaching the California-Mexico border as well as monitoring the text messages of migrants,” two DHS officials told NBC News. Story, here.
Apple officials are reportedly considering to help the VA with its electronic medical records problem, The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Kesling reports (paywall alert) this morning.
Read more about the promise of “a fully-integrated system where docs across the medical community can swap data and the consumer can control that data,” in Kesling’s Twitter thread here.
Finally this Thanksgiving week: Thousands of U.S. service members are enjoying the holiday away from their families. Take a few minutes to hear from some of them by clicking any of these Thanksgiving greeting videos curated on DVIDS for the 2018 holiday season.
And if someone in your family couldn’t make it to your dinner table this year, give ‘em a call or write them an email. Thanks for reading The D Brief. We’ll see you again on Monday!