The D Brief: ‘Super-typhoon’ hits western Pacific; Sex-assault reports rise; Biden calls MAGA a threat; Afghan-refugee mission, renamed; And just a bit more...
The most powerful storm of the year, so far, has killed one person in the Philippines, unleashed flooding in Taiwan, and is poised to strike Japan and South Korea over the weekend. Check out animated imagery of Typhoon Hinnamnor, here.
Kadena Air Base on Okinawa is battening down for 75-mph winds and seven to eight inches of rain on Sunday. U.S. personnel on the island will stay tuned to the air base’s weather station for Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness guidance.
In South Korea, the coming impact is less certain. But the Washington Post notes that heavy rains could be “devastating” thanks to “major flooding just three weeks ago that killed at least 11 and left the ground saturated and vulnerable to further flooding if additional intense rainfall occurs.”
Hinnamnor has weakened since Wednesday, when its 155-mph winds earned Category 5 super-typhoon status.
Yet warming oceans are likely to keep it strong longer than typhoons of the past. “Sea surface temperatures are unusually warm throughout the far northwest Pacific—about 30-31 degrees Celsius (86-88 degrees Fahrenheit) east of central China, which is as much as 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above average—providing unusually strong support for any typhoon passing through the area,” writes Yale Climate Connections.
Meanwhile, in the Atlantic, “the month of August 2022 passed without a single hurricane, the first time that has happened since 1997,” NASA Earth Observatory reports.
ICYMI: 10 inches of sea-level rise are now unavoidable, from Greenland’s ice-melt alone. That’s more than most models predicted; it’s the conclusion of scientists who actually measured the shrinking glaciers that cover the world’s largest island, as laid out in an Aug. 29 paper in the journal Nature.
One of the paper’s co-authors writes that global climate action might keep Greenland from shedding even more meltwater. “But fossil fuels and emissions must be curtailed now, because time is short and the water rises—faster than forecast.” Read on, here.
- Climate Change Isn’t a Threat Multiplier. It’s the Main Threat.
- ‘We Need to Own the Heat The Way We Now Own Night,’ Pentagon Climate Leader Says
- A Success in Norfolk Should Also Be a Warning
From Defense One
Military Sexual Assaults Surged in 2021, Report Shows // Jennifer Hlad: Pentagon’s annual report also reveals that fewer people trust the military system for dealing with such assaults.
Marine Hone Future Concepts with Dune Buggies, Liaison Officers, and Many Radios // Caitlin M. Kenney: The giant RIMPAC exercise helped the Corps test their newest type of agile unit within a multinational force.
The Army Wants Smarter Sensors To Ease Soldiers’ ‘Cognitive Burden’ // Lauren C. Williams: New intelligence and electronic-warfare tools aim to help commanders get data faster.
Welcome to this Friday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Bradley Peniston and Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. And check out other Defense One newsletters here. On this day in 1945, representatives of Imperial Japan signed documents of unconditional surrender aboard the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
The Pentagon released its annual report on sexual assault in the military Thursday, and the numbers are not good. An estimated 35,875 active-duty service members experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact in fiscal 2021—with 8,866 of those instances officially reported, and 167 reports coming from combat areas.
- About half of the 8,866 reports would be classified as “abusive sexual contact,” while 11 percent were reports of rape.
- Just 267 accused attackers were convicted of any charge at trial in fiscal 2021, while 608 received nonjudicial punishments.
The Army had the highest rate of reported sexual assaults, at 7.1 per thousand soldiers. The Marine Corps had the next highest rate, at 6.1 per thousand Marines. The Navy had 5.2 per thousand while the Air Force had 4.6 per thousand.
The 35,875 estimate is based on a massive anonymous survey that’s normally performed every two years, though the 2020 version never happened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey found that:
- About 67% of active-duty women and 84% of active-duty men who experienced unwanted sexual contact did not report it to military authorities.
- Of those who did report, 67% of women and about half of men said they experienced “a behavior in line with retaliation,” while 30% of women and 21% of men experienced behavior that meets legal criteria for retaliation.
- Female Marines and male sailors were most likely to have experienced unwanted sexual contact, while airmen and guardians were least likely.
- Only about 64% of men and 40% of women trust the military to insure their trust following a sexual assault, down from 84% of men and 69% of women in 2018.
The numbers represent the highest prevalence rate of sexual assault for women in the military since the Defense Department started keeping track, in 2006, and the second-highest prevalance rate for men, Elizabeth Foster, executive director of force resiliency for the Pentagon, told reporters Thursday.
“These numbers are tragic and extremely disappointing,” Foster said. “On an individual level, it is devastating to conceptualize that these numbers mean that over 35,000 service members’ lives and careers were irrevocably changed by these crimes.”
New name for Afghan refugee mission. “Operation Allies Welcome,” which has helped about 86,000 Afghans resettle in the U.S. in the last year, will officially end next month, CNN reports. It will be replaced by a program called “Operation Enduring Welcome,” which will focus on helping reunite Afghan families and processing applicants to the refugee admissions and special immigrant visa programs. There were more than 74,000 Special Immigrant Visa applications in the pipeline as of July, CNN writes, citing a State Department spokesperson.
“This commitment does not have an end date—the commitment to resettle our Afghan allies,” a senior Biden administration official said.
Related: The SIV program, slow and overloaded as it is, only covers those who helped U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It should be streamlined and expanded to cover those who help elsewhere, argues a Special Forces officer who has served with many such people. Read that, here.
Lastly today: Former Marine gets longest Jan. 6 sentence yet. Thomas Webster will serve 10 years in prison for assaulting a Washington, D.C., police officer during the attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Trump, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
Citing the Jan. 6 riot, President Biden calls extreme right-wing a threat to democracy. “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic,” he said Thursday in a nationally televised speech.
Meanwhile, in Mar-a-Lago, FBI agents snapped a photo guaranteed to send chills through anyone who ever filled out an SF-86: documents with the red-and-yellow markings of Secret and Top Secret, seized from Trump’s Florida house and laid out on his carpet.
Enjoy your long weekend, and we’ll see you on Tuesday.