Today's D Brief: Oil production to rise; US mulls more Ukraine aid; Troops’ food insecurity; More space tourism; And a bit more.
In a rare international effort to slow inflation, the U.S. is linking up with China, India, Japan, Korea, and the UK for what the New York Times calls “a coordinated release of oil reserves.” The idea is to reduce the global price of oil, which is surging after nearly two years of economic pain from the COVID-19 pandemic. For the White House, which surely has next year’s midterm elections in mind, this multinational agreement means releasing some 50 million barrels of oil from America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve over the next several months.
“This culminates weeks of consultations with countries around the world, and we are already seeing the effect of this work on oil prices,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday, adding, “Over the last several weeks as reports of this work became public, oil prices are down nearly 10 percent.”
FWIW: “Global consumption is likely to average 100 million barrels a day in the final three months of the year, up 4.9% from the same period a year ago,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
BTW: The U.S. is both the world’s top oil producer and consumer, with 11.3 million barrels produced daily, and some 17 million consumed on average in that same interval, according to metrics published this summer by BP (via Forbes).
What about the Saudis and the Russians? The former appear to be maxed out (though they don’t admit as much); and, according to Reuters, “Russian producers such as Gazprom Neft said they have struggled to produce more.”
Elsewhere, Turkey’s president is trying to slow inflation, but he seems to be making things worse, the Wall Street Journal reports separately after the Turkish lira has lost a third of its value in three weeks and is now trading at an all-time low.
Back stateside, inflation is deepening food insecurity for many troops. With the cost of food rising, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has rolled out a “toolkit” to help service leaders determine whether their troops and families are under stress, Defense One’s Elizabeth Howe reports.
Around 160,000 active-duty military members face food insecurity, a recent Feeding America report said. And the Farm Bureau calculated that a Thanksgiving meal for ten now costs around 14 percent more than it did in 2020. Read more at Defense One, here.
From Defense One
Ukraine Wants More Exercises, Training with US // Patrick Tucker: Russian military buildup is “atypical,” Ukrainian officials say.
Inflation Deepens Food Insecurity for Military Families // Elizabeth Howe: SecDef Austin rolls out tools for leaders, orders up plan to fix the problem.
China May Steal Encrypted Data Now to Decrypt In Years to Come, Report Warns // Brandi Vincent: Quantum computers promise to render today's encryption largely obsolete. A Booz Allen report says it's time to start managing the risks.
Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson and Bradley Peniston. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1971, the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing sent a delegate to the United Nations for the first time, and China was granted a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. This new global recognition came four months after U.S. President Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to Beijing, and just weeks after representatives from the nationalist government in Taiwan were formally removed from the UN under the recently-passed Resolution 2758.
Tensions rise as Russian buildup continues near Ukraine. “The frozen conflict between Russia and Ukraine has entered a dangerous new phase, according to Ukrainian officials. More Russian troops and arms have been sent to the Ukrainian border, and strategic bomber flights in the region are up as well,” reports Defense One’s Patrick Tucker. “Last week, Ukrainian defense officials went to Washington to ask for more military help. On Saturday at the Halifax Security Forum here, they said they are also looking to train and exercise more with U.S. forces.”
Latest: U.S. officials are considering what new help to give, including Stinger missiles and U.S.-bought Mi-17 Russian helicopters, CNN reports.
President Joe Biden visited troops at Fort Bragg on Monday night for an early “Friendsgiving” celebration, where he thanked the military for spending holidays in harm's way away from family, Defense One’s Jacqueline Feldscher reports. (See a photo via Jeff Mordock of the Washington Times, here.)
“The thing that's amazing to me is how proud I am to be your commander-in-chief,” Biden said at Bragg before donning a presidential apron and serving stuffing to troops. “You are the most incredible group of women and men—warriors—that we've ever seen,” he added.
BTW: Fort Bragg actually has a “Warrior Restaurant” that most older soldiers would call a “dining facility.”
While on Bragg, Biden also visited with special operators and enablers to “convey his and the nation’s gratitude for their continued service and sacrifice,” according to the White House.
By the numbers: The Defense Logistics Agency is shipping some 175 tons of holiday food, including turkeys, to bases around the world, officials said. That includes 5,706 whole turkeys, 59,666 pounds of roasted turkeys, 99,187 pounds of beef, 51,994 pounds of ham, 43,767 pounds of shrimp, and more.
Read more: “Even with all troops out of Afghanistan, the amount of food sent out to the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Korea, Japan, Qatar, Philippines, Guam, and Singapore was comparable to previous years,” Defense One’s Elizabeth Howe reports.
Lastly today: More space tourism is on the way. Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin just announced the names of six new passengers on its next flight to space, scheduled for December 9.
Retired NFL defensive end Michael Strahan is on the manifest, as is Laura Churchley, who is the oldest daughter of the first American in space, Alan Shepard.
The four paid seats will be filled by “space industry executive and philanthropist Dylan Taylor, investor Evan Dick, Bess Ventures founder Lane Bess, and Cameron Bess,” Blue Origin said in its statement Tuesday. Read more about each passenger, here.