Daily SA: Criminals exploit border for gray zone warfare – Forward Observer

Daily SA: Criminals exploit border for gray zone warfare

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Monday, 25 October 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa


  • Criminals exploit border for gray zone warfare
  • Chinese batteries put military at risk
  • DNI: Risk of conflict over water access
  • Scientific community “under foreign influence”

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BORDER: Recent Customs and Border Protection numbers indicate nearly two million apprehensions during fiscal year 2021. Organized “caravans” continue transiting from South and Central America to the U.S. border with little intervention. Sen. Portman (R-OH) said, “Congress has appropriated funding for the border wall and enhanced technology to ensure border security and the Biden administration is required to use the funds consistent with their appropriated purpose.” (Analyst Comment: Sen. Portman also said the lack of border control is to blame for increased fentanyl shipments by transnational criminal networks. Previously we’ve discussed how gray zone warfare includes the use of migrants to overwhelm border officials, which happened over the weekend in Mexico. Chinese nationals are known to work alongside the cartels in at least the production and trafficking of narcotics for funds generation and societal destabilization. – D.M.)

Map from a 2020 DEA report on transnational criminal ties to fentanyl production. Source: DEA

DEPENDENCE: In a report from the Hudson Institute, they warn that the dependency on China for batteries becomes a critical risk for powering unmanned military systems. “The demand for electricity will only grow,” according to senior fellow Heather Penney at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, “and batteries are crucial for how the U.S. will conduct war in the future.” In a conflict, our dependence on China would result in issues that range from computer network failures to the crippling of weapons systems. (AC: The United States must establish a supply chain that can operate independently of China during wartime. It seems improbable that the United States will do this any time soon, especially as the supply chain continues to face its issues, risking extreme damage to the economy. -T.W.)

FLASHPOINTS: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence warns that after 2030, many countries will experience a “growing risk of conflict over water and migration.” The report reads that climate will also stimulate risks to national security because “intensifying physical effects will exacerbate geopolitical flashpoints, particularly after 2030, and key countries and regions will face increasing risks of instability and need for humanitarian assistance.” (AC: The report mentions large-scale solar geoengineering, which will likely cause conflict because of land disputes and energy rights. Risks will be more imminent in developing countries that don’t have access to basic amenities. -T.W.)

INFLUENCE: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found U.S. research “may be subject to undue foreign influence.” The National Science Foundation and other grant-making agencies lack reporting rules for non-financial conflicts of interest, accounting for $50 billion in federal research funds. Updated conflicts of interest guidance from the Office of Science and Technology Policy is under review, but is not expected until at least November with a years-long implementation schedule. (AC: Foreign theft of U.S. research and intellectual property remains a blind-spot for the government to address. In 2020 alone, thousands of Chinese scientists fled the U.S. for lying about ties to the People’s Liberation Army. The government later dropped charges against 5 suspected spies, for procedural issues and not a lack of evidence. The GAO notes only certain agencies have taken their recommendations and implemented new policies to deter and discover spies in research positions. – D.M.)

IRS: Proposed expansions to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) include an additional $80 billion in funding to hire 85,000 new auditors and administrative staff. The current legislative language raised the transaction cap from $600 to $10,000, but critics note the rules would include individuals who spend approximately $200 per week or $28 per day. Current inflationary levels mean basic expenses like utilities, fuel, or groceries alone will subject taxpayers to increased IRS monitoring. (AC: Additional scrutiny by auditors is meant to increase tax collection for the human infrastructure bill spending programs. Crypto transactions are likely to be included as the IRS believes billions in untaxed wealth are hidden in blockchain currencies. The increase in personnel could spur a return to an activist IRS, targeting political movements like the Tea Party under Lois Lerner. – D.M.)


HURRICANE SEASON: Nothing significant to report.

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