Mattis visits border; Israeli DM quits over Gaza; More laser money, please; The coming nuclear debates; And a bit more.

SecDef Mattis goes to the border. The U.S. Defense Secretary on Tuesday gave reporters about 18 hours' notice he would be heading to America’s southern border today. There, some 7,000 U.S. active duty troops are spread across Texas, Arizona and California helping “harden” river crossings and entry points along the U.S. border with Mexico.

What the SecDef may see today:

P.S. Somebody’s still calling it “Operation Faithful Patriot.” Background via Task & Purpose, here.

Caravan(s) latest: To the far west in Tijuana today, a group of nearly 400 “mostly LGBTQ” migrants arrived in a fleet of buses and “joined a smaller group of about 80 migrants who reached the border city on Sunday,” the BBC reports this morning. More on that group from NPR, here.

Some of the new arrivals began climbing the border walls at Tijuana but with apparently no success, Fox5 San Diego reports. "Several people scaled the fence and sat on top of it. A few jumped or crawled to openings in the fence onto U.S. soil but quickly ran back as Border Patrol agents approached. Several border agents were seen patrolling the area in trucks, 4-wheelers, a helicopter and on horses."

BTW: Caravan comms from the White House and Fox News have gone dark. It’s a point we noticed last week considering the president’s Twitter feed — used nearly 30 times from October 1 through November 6 to comment on either “caravan” or “border” or “migrant” things. It’s been used for the same purposes just once since those midterm elections.

As for Fox News, it spent more than 33 hours devoted to caravan coverage up through election day, the Associated Press reports. During the two days after Nov. 6, the network spent just four minutes and 57 seconds on the same topic, according to a study from Media Matters, a progressive media watchdog organization.

FWIW: The larger group of 5,000 or so migrants are still traveling north through south-central Mexico.


From Defense One

Pentagon Wants More Money for Lasers To Defend Against Missiles, Drone Swarms // Patrick Tucker: Directed-energy weapons are with a factor of two or three to being militarily useful, the Pentagon’s top scientist said.

Supersonic Bizjets May Attract Pentagon Interest // Paulina Glass: Three teams are pursuing latter-day SSTs. The U.S. military might have use for them.

The Tech Companies That Are Eager to Sell AI to the Pentagon // Dave Gershgorn and Justin Rohrlich, Quartz: The Pentagon’s AI shopping list is similar to a Silicon Valley company’s: fast data organization, predictive maintenance, and mitigation for threats.

Here are the FBI’s Warning Signs of a Mass Shooter // Heather Timmons, Quartz: A prior arrest. Unmarried. A history of abusive behavior. Oh, and 94% are men.

Welcome to this Wednesday edition of The D Brief by Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. If you find this stuff useful, consider sharing The D Brief with somebody you think might find it useful, too. And thanks for reading! On this day in 1846, the U.S. Navy’s Commodore David E. Conner’s forces captured the Mexican city of Tampico ahead of their naval assault on Vera Cruz — up to that point the largest marine assault in U.S. history — four months later.


Ceasefire called after two days of strikes across the Gaza border. Things seemed to be calming down last week, the fruit of various efforts between the Israeli government and Hamas leaders.
Then Israel slipped nearly a dozen commandos into Gaza on Sunday to gather intelligence covertly. Instead, they got into a firefight that left at least seven Palestinians dead and touched off two days of fighting: rocket and mortar fire from Gaza into Israel, airstrikes by Israeli warplanes in Gaza.
Missile-defense note: As of Tuesday evening, Israeli officials said, Iron Dome batteries had intercepted more than 100 of the 460-some rockets and mortars launched from Gaza. (Via Barbara Opall-Rome.)
Now there’s a new ceasefire — and Israel’s hawkish defense minister has resigned in protest of it. The New York Times has more, here.

Preview: next term’s nuclear debates in Congress. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., is speaking at a Ploughshares event this morning, and Council for a Livable World’s Alexandra Bell likes what she’s hearing from the next House Armed Services Committee chairman: “.@RepAdamSmith is laying out his plans for dealing with nuclear policy going forward and it’s [fire emoji]. Reduce needless spending, support for diplomacy, no mini-nukes. It’s gonna be a whole new ballgame in 2019.”

More laser money, please. The U.S. military will request more money to develop lasers, microwave beams, and other directed-energy defenses to fight off missiles and drone swarms, the Pentagon’s top weapons engineer said Tuesday. “You’re going to see, in upcoming budgets for missile defense, a renewed emphasis on laser scaling [meaning scaling up the power of lasers] across several technologies,” Michael Griffin, defense undersecretary for research and engineering, said at an event hosted by the Center for Strategic International Studies. “In units of ones or twos, we can roll out tens of kilowatts.
That is within a factor of two or three of being useful on a battlefield, airplane or ship” — for example, to take out enemy drone swarms, he said. “In my opinion, we are no more than a few years away from having laser weapons of military utility.” Read on, here.

New court filings reveal China’s efforts to bribe UN officials, and sway the world order. That’s from Yahoo News, reporting on the case of Patrick Ho, a former Hong Kong official arrested last year on charges related to bribing UN officials. “Records related to the case — including documents submitted by Ho’s own attorney — now connect Ho’s alleged payments to promotion of a major Beijing foreign policy push called the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature venture advancing investment and infrastructure projects around the world. Belt and Road isn’t about only inking business deals; it offers a sweeping vision of a China-centric political and economic global order, one in which countries depend on China, not the West, for prosperity.” Read on, here.

The suicide rate among active-duty service members more than doubled between 2001 and 2016. Seven years ago, the Pentagon set up a nine-person office to “respond to the burgeoning suicide rate among active duty personnel and overhaul the way the military had historically addressed the problem,” as Mother Jones puts it. But that office has struggled to find its place and gain traction in the bureaucracy. Today, it is under the Office of Personnel and Readiness, whose top four civilian posts include three that are temporarily filled by acting directors because they are among the half of senior federal jobs that remain unfilled halfway through the Trump administration.
Bottom line: According to the most recent public figures, the suicide rate among active-duty service members “is now at 21.1 percent per 100,000 troops, two-and-a-half percentage points higher than it was in 2011, the year DSPO was founded.” Read Mother Jones’ deep dive into the troubled history of the office, here.

And finally today: The U.S. Army is working to develop a new remote-controlled land mine. The effort began two years ago; the central idea is that the munitions would only detonate when an American soldier tells them to. The New York Times runs down what we know about the program, 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.