China, India exchange words after deadly border fight. The death toll has risen to at least 20 Indian troops killed in the Monday sticks-and-stones brawl at the country’s Himalayan border, but not much more is publicly clear yet. Indian officials said some Chinese troops were killed as well, a statement that Chinese officials declined to discuss. “Each side has said it does not want a fight, even as they have blamed the other for starting the clash and said they were ready to defend against further incursions,” the New York Times reports.
China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, says: he scolded his Indian counterpart on Wednesday.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, says: “India wants peace, but if provoked India is capable of giving a befitting reply.”
Here’s a brief history of the disputed border, from the Times.
Six states report record COVID cases. “Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas all reported their most ever new cases on Tuesday after all-time highs last week and as they continued to reopen their economies. Nevada also reported its highest single-day tally of new cases on Tuesday, up from a previous high on 23 May,” writes The Guardian.
VP Mike Pence: There is no “second wave,” and the media is overhyping the threat, the White House’s COVID task force leader wrote in a Tuesday oped in the Wall Street Journal.
Anthony Fauci: There is no “second wave” because we’re not even done with the first, and states need to get more aggressive about testing, tracking, to prevent “a real surge,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in his own interview Tuesday.
By the numbers: More than 2.1 million U.S. cases, almost 117,000 U.S. deaths, per NYT.
The Onion’s take: City Enters Phase 4 Of Pretending Coronavirus Over.
From Defense One
How the Kremlin Targets Lies, and Truths, about Russia’s COVID Response // Justin Sherman: Chief prosecutor sheds light on Moscow’s recent efforts to control the messages that Russians receive about the coronavirus pandemic.
The Senate’s Defense Authorization Bill Ignores Our New Reality // Brandon Valeriano, Eric Gomez, and Lauren Sander: The annual policy bill takes almost no notice of a pandemic that has already wrought more destruction than most of our country’s wars.
Two Ways to Stop Secrecy from Undermining US National Security // McDaniel Wicker: Keeping America safe in the 21st century means sharing more information with allies and partners. Here’s how to start.
Don’t Believe the China Hype // Michael Schuman, The Atlantic: When it comes to assessing Chinese power, things aren’t always as they seem.
Welcome to this Wednesday edition of The D Brief from Bradley Peniston and Ben Watson. Send us tips from your community right here. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1967, China carried out its first known thermonuclear weapon test in the northwestern part of the country.
SecDef Esper hits the road, with stops at northern Illinois’ Naval Station Great Lakes today and Missouri’s Fort Leonard Wood on Thursday.
On the docket at NS Great Lakes, home of the Navy’s only bootcamp:
- Discussions about how to continue work “under COVID conditions” with officials at Naval Service Training Command and Recruit Training Command;
- Esper is also scheduled to “observe Sailor basic training, including firefighting and damage control”;
- And he’ll conduct a reenlistment ceremony at NS Great Lakes.
On the docket at Fort Leonard Wood, which hosts training for engineering, chemical and military police troops from multiple countries:
- Discussions about how to continue work “under COVID conditions” with officials at the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence;
- And the SecDef is expected to watch a few basic training and Advanced Individual Training events;
- And like at NS Great Lakes, he’s scheduled to conduct a reenlistment ceremony at Leonard Wood.
Military JAGs told lawmakers Tuesday that military justice is racially biased. “Disparities in how white U.S. troops and service members of color are treated in the military justice system have persisted for years and new efforts are needed to understand racial bias and its consequences,” the top Army JAG and others told a congressional hearing on Tuesday, the Washington Post reported. The hearing was called after the Government Accountability Office and the watchdog group Protect Our Defenders “released reports showing that black service members are punished more frequently than white service members.”
Related: Senate President Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he’s “OK” with renaming Army bases named for Confederate generals, about a week after President Trump vowed to stop any such move and tweeted, “Hopefully our great Republican Senators won’t fall for this!”
Subpar steel in U.S. subs: “For decades, the Navy’s leading supplier of high-strength steel for submarines provided subpar metal because one of the company’s longtime employees falsified lab results — putting sailors at greater risk in the event of collisions or other impacts, federal prosecutors said in court filings Monday,” AP reported Tuesday.
The company is Kansas City-based Bradken Inc., which has paid $10.9 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, the Justice Department said.
DoD Comptroller Elaine McCusker submitted her resignation, effective June 26. And SecDef Esper released a statement to announce the news on Tuesday, saying, “Since joining the Department of Defense Elaine has worked tirelessly to ensure that our budgeting and audit processes give full value to the taxpayer while meeting the enormous security needs of our nation as well as the men and women who serve it. I am grateful for her dedication to public service and the contributions that she has made to the Department and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”
Voice of America top officials resign ahead of Trump appointee’s arrival. VOA director Amanda Bennett and deputy director Sandy Sugawara “resigned on Monday as an appointee of President Trump prepares to take control of the international network and other US federally-funded media operations,” CNN reports. “Some journalists at VOA fear that [Michael] Pack — best known for making films with a conservative bent — will interfere with the organization’s independent newsroom and turn it into a pro-Trump messaging machine.”
Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics, tweeted: “Get ready to learn the name Michael Pack. He’s the Bannon associate who will spend your money to build a government Breitbart.”
ICYMI: Some ideas for improving the U.S. government’s strategic messaging:
- Americans Should Fight Propaganda, Like We Used To (Tara Sonenshine, 2020)
- How to Stop Losing the Information War
- From VOA to Radio Free Europe, the US Needs a Single News Voice Abroad
An airman who’s also a member of the far-right “Boogaloo” movement allegedly killed two police during recents protests in Oakland, Calif. Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, “could face the death penalty for [a] murder charge and up to 20 years in prison for [an additional] attempted murder charge,” according to the Washington Post. In his defense, Carrillo’s lawyer points to Carrillo’s wife’s suicide two years ago and an alleged traumatic brain injury from 2009, according to NBC News and the Santa Cruz Sentinel.
Carillo reportedly deployed to Kuwait for four months just last year. But stateside, “He was a Phoenix Raven team leader, heading an elite squad of security forces stationed at Travis Air Force Base,” the Post reports. He’s now facing charges along with an admitted “getaway driver,” Robert Alvin Justus Jr., according to the FBI’s criminal complaint.
Three other “Boogaloo” members with variously-thin military backgrounds were arrested in Las Vegas “after filling gas cans at a parking lot and making Molotov cocktails in glass bottles, according to a copy of the criminal complaint,” USA Today reported on 4 June.
Each man now “faces two federal charges — conspiracy to damage and destroy by fire and explosive, and possession of unregistered firearms — along with multiple terrorism-related state charges,” and each was being held on $1 million bonds, USA Today writes. The three men were former Navy enlistee Stephen T. Parshall, 35; Army Reservist Andrew T. Lynam Jr., 23; and former Airman William L. Loomis, 40.
This morning we learned: Russian President Vladimir Putin has an at-home “disinfectant tunnel” to somehow protect him from the coronavirus, CNN reports.
And finally: These events are happening today (all times Eastern):
- 10:40 a.m.: As Defense One’s Tech Summit rolls into its second day, Eric Schmidt — former Google CEO-turned-Pentagon advisor — will talk about what China contributes (yes) to U.S. national security. Register and watch, here.
- 11 a.m. Air Force Lt. Gen. John “JT” Thompson, commander, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, speaks at AFA’s Mitchell Institute’s Space Power Forum.
- Noon: Army Undersecretary James E. McPherson and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Joseph M. Martin join the AUSA Noon Report.
- 1 p.m.: Director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization Mark J. Lewis joins a panel discussion on “Hypersonics in Defense Strategies” at the Defense One Tech Summit.
- 2 p.m.: Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Space Policy Stephen L. Kitay holds a press briefing on the Defense Space Strategy in the Pentagon Briefing Room.