Trump preps for UN speech; Syrian troops advance on ISIS stronghold; Iran pumps up media ops; DARPA seeks specialized chips for AI; and just a bit more...

This week: President Trump heads to the United Nations. President Donald Trump makes his first appearance before the international assembly in a speaking role on Tuesday in New York.

Clouding that appearance: North Korea’s Friday missile launch over Japan.  

On the Sunday talkshows, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley said, “None of us want war. But we also have to look at the fact that you are dealing with someone [in Kim] who is being reckless, irresponsible and is continuing to give threats not only to the United States, but to all of its allies. So something is going to have to be done."

Added National Security Adviser, H.R. McMaster: "We really have to move with a great deal of urgency, on sanctions, on diplomacy and on preparing, if necessary, a military option."

President Trump on North Korea (coming to us via Twitter on Sunday): “I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!” That last bit about “long gas lines” struck some as perhaps a bit suspect. The Guardian has more on that angle, here.

Later today: Trump is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron. The focus of those talks: Iran, said McMaster. More from CBS News, here.


From Defense One

No, We Cannot Shoot Down North Korea's Missiles // Joe Cirincione: It's time national leaders speak realistically about missile defense.

Can the US Military Re-Invent the Microchip for the AI Era? // Patrick Tucker: As conventional microchip design reaches its limits, DARPA is pouring money into the specialty chips that might power tomorrow's autonomous machines.

US Military Leaders Worry About Iran's Media Operations // Patrick Tucker: Forget Russian fake news. Iranian media and messaging are thwarting U.S. efforts across the Middle East.

How Black-Market Tobacco Funds the World's Bad Actors // David M. Luna: It's time to focus the world's attention on a smuggling enterprise that helps underwrite North Korea's nukes and Taliban terror.

The Problem of Securing London's Tube // Yasmeen Serhan: Friday's explosion was not fatal, but it shows how transit networks are especially vulnerable to terrorism.

In Mexico, Mattis Plays Down Political Rhetoric, Seeks to Build Trust // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense Secretary Mattis touts "a growing relationship built on trust and respect" between the U.S. and Mexican militaries.

'Is There Something Going On?': Onscene at STRATCOM As North Korea Launches Missile // Marcus Weisgerber: The head of U.S. Strategic Command is whisked to his operations center as a missile flies over Japan.

Welcome to Monday’s edition of The D Brief by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. Happy 70th birthday, U.S. Air Force. Have something you want to share? Email us at the-d-brief@defenseone.com. (And if you’re reading this on our website, consider subscribing. It’s free.)


Rising tensions in Deir ez-Zor. Syrian government troops have made a key advance on the ISIS stronghold of Deir ez-Zor on Sunday — two days after either Syrian or Russian airstrikes wounded a half-dozen U.S.-backed militiamen nearby. The pro-Syrian troops on Sunday “crossed to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River in Deir el-Zour for the first time since they broke a siege on parts of the eastern city earlier this month,” AP reports this morning.
The pro-Assad forces managed to capture a district known as al-Jafra on the western bank of the Euphrates, Reuters adds.
For what it’s worth: The U.S.-backed SDF says it’s “taken 14 villages and farms, two towns, and some factories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates since launching its assault last week,” according to Reuters.
The wider picture: “Moscow and Washington are backing separate offensives in the oil-rich province of Deir al-Zor bordering Iraq. Both have advanced from opposite sides of the Euphrates which bisects the province, Islamic State’s last major foothold in Syria,” writes Reuters.
About that strike on the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces: “Our forces east of the Euphrates were hit with an attack from the Russian aircraft and Syrian regime forces, targeting our units in the industrial zone,” the SDF said in a statement Friday.
Said Gen. Joseph Dunford: "We have been engaged at every level to re-establish deconfliction at the Euphrates river. It couldn't be more complex and crowded in that area, and so deconfliction is more difficult right now than it was a few months ago," the Joint Chiefs Chairman told reporters on Sunday at Oslo, Norway. "We haven't resolved all the issues right now. We'll get through that."
By the way: Wanna take a ride through Raqqa, Syria — after more than 100 days of the U.S.-backed offensive on the ISIS-held city? Watch the footage shot there this weekend by Dutch journalist Wladimir Van Wilgenburg, here.

From the international IO beat: Facebook is acting increasingly like a “cyber country trying to keep up its relationships with real countries,” a New York Times portrait of the company’s diplomacy abroad reveals.
One interesting pull-out: “One in five minutes spent online are spent on Facebook. Much of that happens overseas in languages that Facebook management doesn't speak.”
The short story: “Facebook sending envoys across the world to talk to governments and try to prevent any regulatory crackdowns,” writes one of the reporters, Paul Mozur, on Twitter. “In some ways Facebook feels like a cyber country trying to keep up its relationships with real countries... Meanwhile it has been inconsistent and secretive in its approach to negotiations with countries. It quietly made a censorship tool FOR China. It also released an app in China through a shell company without putting its name to it. In India+Brazil when democratically elected governments made decisions that went against it, it distributed petitions/called for protests... It's the sort of realpolitik you get out of nation states.” Full NYT story, here.

More firings after Navy collisions. A 1-star admiral and a captain have been canned in connection with the recent spate incidents involving U.S. Navy warships in the Pacific theater. USNI News: “U.S. 7th Fleet Commander Vice Adm. Philip Sawyer removed Rear Adm. Charles Williams, commander of Combined Task Force 70, and Capt. Jeffery Bennett, commodore of Destroyer Squadron 15, from their positions on Monday (Tuesday local time) due to a loss of confidence in their ability to command.”
As well, the three-star head of Navy surface warfare has requested early retirement: “Sources told USNI News that [Vice Adm. Tom] Rowden told Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson he wanted to step aside to allow for new leadership to guide the surface forces.” Read on, here.
Rowden is perhaps best known for pressing for “distributed lethality — essentially, creating ways for Navy leaders to fire weapons distributed across a fleet’s ships and aircraft.

Your Monday snapshot features “A ship, carrying a warship,” flagged by the Bosphorus Naval News. What you’ll see: a Netherlands “heavy load carrier M/V Rolldock Star with a Gepard 3.9 class frigate for Vietnamese Navy.” Hat tip to veteran naval analyst Chris Cavas.

Let us now praise famous men, like Stanislav Petrov: “the Soviet officer who averted nuclear war” in 1983. He reportedly passed away in May at the age 77, according to Russian state media, RT.

Lastly today: Have seven minutes for some secretive Cold War history? We suggest listening to this Weekend All Things Considered piece from NPR entitled, “'The Taking Of K-129': How The CIA Stole A Sunken Soviet Sub Off The Ocean Floor.”
Involved: a sunken Russian nuclear sub, eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, and “probably the greatest feat of naval engineering.” Listen, here.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.