N. Korea’s first nuke-missile test since 2017; US to collect migrants’ DNA; Taliban seek new peace talks; Oceans dangerously warming; and just a bit more…

N. Korea: Yes, that was a sub-launched missile test-fired Monday toward Japan, though Western analysts say the launch was actually conducted from something like an underwater barge. Nevertheless, the test of the solid-fuel Pukguksong-3 marks a big step toward a second-strike capability for Pyongyang.

The test was “unambiguously the first nuclear-capable missile test since November 2017,” Ankit Panda of the Federation of American Scientists told AFP. And it was conducted just days after North Korea assented to new nuclear talks and just days before those talks are to begin. Read on, here.


From Defense One

The Strangely Quiet Visit of Germany’s New Defense Minister // Markus Kaim: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s do-little trip to Washington shows the uncertain state of U.S.-German relations.

Democrats Should Not Give New Nukes to a President They Want to Impeach // Tom Z. Collina: National security concerns about Trump are only the latest reason Sen. Jack Reed should kill the new sub-launched warhead.

It’s Official: The Pentagon Now Runs the Security Clearance Process // Jack Corrigan, Nextgov: The newly renamed Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency now handles 95% of the government’s background investigations.

Welcome to this Thursday edition of The D Brief from Bradley Peniston. If you’re not already subscribed, you can do that here.


U.S. plans to collect DNA samples from migrants crossing the southern border and from those detained in federal custody, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Don’t miss: How ICE Picks Its Targets in the Surveillance Age,” a #longread from the New York Times Magazine. “ After two officers came to a Pacific Northwest community, longtime residents began to disappear — a testament to the agency’s quiet embrace of big data.” Read, here.

Taliban representatives head to Pakistan in a bid to resurrect peace talks. AP: A Taliban spokesman said an 11-member delegation would talk with Pakistani officials in Islamabad. 

Who else is in Islamabad? Why, it’s Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special peace envoy, there for “consultations” with the Pakistani leadership, a U.S. official said. “He spent the last year negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, which seemed imminent until Sept. 7 when U.S. President Donald Trump declared the deal ‘dead,’” AP wrote.

The United States has reopened its embassy in Somalia, almost three decades after it pulled out, AP reports. The move comes as U.S. forces have been waging increasingly intense operations against al-Qaeda-linked and other terrorist groups in the country. 

Now Lindsey Graham has asked foreign governments for help in a Justice Department inquiry that, as the Washington Post put it on Monday, “President Trump hopes will discredit U.S. intelligence agencies’ examination of possible connections between Russia and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.” The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter on Wednesday to the governments of Italy, Australia and the United Kingdom asking them to help Attorney General William Barr in the inquiry, The Hill reports.

DOJ: White House will preserve Trump phone records. Also on Wednesday, Justice Department officials promised a federal court that the White House will not destroy records related to President Trump’s conversation with foreign leaders, the Washington Post reported. In May, a trio of watchdog groups sued the administration, alleging that it was failing to comply with federal law requiring such records to be preserved. Read on, here.  

Putin: We’re going to interfere in America’s next election. Asked onstage at a Moscow energy conference about the FBI’s warning that Russia will interfere in the 2020 elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin replied, “I’ll tell you a secret: Yes, we’ll definitely do it.” Then he stage-whispered, “Just don’t tell anyone.” CNN, here.

The oceans are warming in dangerous ways, a UN report finds.

“Climate change is heating the oceans and altering their chemistry so dramatically that it is threatening seafood supplies, fueling cyclones and floods and posing profound risks to the hundreds of millions of people living along the coasts,” the New York Times wrote last week off a new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Read the Times’ piece, the IPCC’s own bullet points, or get the full report

Former U.S. natsec leaders: We’re in a climate crisis. The president needs a climate-crisis advisor, say 64 former senior military, national security and intelligence leaders, including Larry Welch, former chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force; Samuel Locklear, former commander of U.S. Pacific Command; and Anthony Zinni, former commander of U.S. Central Command. 

Their new Climate Security Plan for America plan, released last week, calls for the creation of a White House Office on Climate Security whose director reports directly to the president “in order to combat these unprecedented security risks urgently and comprehensively.” Stripes, here, and the full plan, here.

Climate-change rules being rolled back. The Trump administration is working to reverse 84 federal rules and regulations aimed at slowing climate change, by the New York Times’ count.

Climate science, under attack. The Guardian: “The treatment of science by the Trump administration has hit a ‘crisis point’ where research findings are manipulated for political gain, special interests are given improper influence and scientists are targeted for ideological reasons, a nonpartisan taskforce of former government officials has warned.” Read the report, released Thursday by the National Task Force on Rule of Law and Democracy.

And lastly today: 34 Army special operators received valor awards last week at a Fort Carson, Colorado, ceremony honoring actions during a 170-day series of operations against the Taliban earlier this year. The awards included five Silver Star Medals and nine Bronze Star Medals with valor devices. 

Two soldiers were awarded their decorations posthumously: Sgt. Joseph Collette and Sgt. 1st Class Will Lindsay. Army Times has more, here.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne