Good morning. Here’s your Situational Awareness for Tuesday, 07 September 2021. You can receive this briefing by email by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- Situational Awareness
- Garland vows federal action in Texas
- Substrates hobble chip production
- Pandemic relief ending for millions
- Container orders blowout expectations
- Cybersecurity standards from Congress
- Defense bill looks to Pacific
TEXAS: Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on Texas’ SB8, the Justice Department is seeking to intervene. Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “While the Justice Department urgently explores all options to challenge Texas SB8 in order to protect the constitutional rights of women and other persons, including access to an abortion, we will continue to protect those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services.” The Justice Department’s enforcement decision will use local U.S. Attorneys and FBI field offices in Texas to an unknown end. (Analyst Comment: The FACES Act doesn’t directly address the Texas bill, but does set up another Supreme Court showdown as the States’ ability to implement law continues to face challenges. The continued protests and potential federal overreach have a deleterious effect on institutional faith and legitimacy of both state and national governance. – D.M.)
CHIPS: Semiconductor demand continues to outstrip supply by a wide margin. Despite international efforts to increase production, midstream suppliers and component manufacturing are taking a hit. Substrates, the “glue” connecting chips to boards, are in short supply. Intel Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger expects the chip crunch to last into 2023 as the chip industry seeks to boost capacity. (AC: The elephant in the room for semiconductor manufacturing is China invading Taiwan and seizing TSMC. The Taiwanese manufacturer is investing $100 billion in reshoring operations to the U.S. and Europe as disruption to their domestic facility would substantially degrade global technology manufacturing. – D.M.)
BENEFITS EXPIRY: More than 2.7 million people lost COVID unemployment benefits over the weekend, which gave unemployed individuals up to $300 per week. Economists say that this will test the strength of the economic recovery as the COVID Delta variant continues to run rampant. There are now 8 million people who have no unemployment compensation whatsoever, with an unemployment rate of 5.2% for the month ended August. The current job market has 10 million openings. (AC: Of the 2.7 million individuals losing the $300 federal aid, many are still receiving benefits from state programs. -T.W.)
CONTAINERS: Shipping carriers have doubled their orders for shipping container ships so far in 2021. There have never been as many containers ordered in such a short period of time. The White House recently appointed John Porcari as “port envoy” to the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, which aims to address congestion at U.S. ports. The increasing supply chain constraints are creating an environment for extraordinary measures to be enacted, such as dedicating an entire task force to address shipping concerns. The entire order of 619 container ships will not be completed in full for years, so the immediate issues striking the supply chain will continue to impair the global economy for some time. – T.W.
CYBER: Tech companies and energy providers asked the government to update its cybersecurity reporting requirements. Currently, the reporting is voluntary with confidentiality concerns for agencies receiving information. The SolarWinds breach was only discovered because a company went public with the information. The changes will mandate reporting within 72 hours and the draft legislation is expected to be part of September’s appropriations negotiations. (AC: When Colonial reported their breach to the FBI, no other federal agency was made aware as the information and response remained siloed. This bill is designed to speed up the federal response to cyber incidents, as the frequency and intensity increases. Germany is suffering cyber attacks currently, aimed at upending their ongoing elections. – D.M.)
DEFENSE: The House version of the National Defense Authorization act includes an additional $25 billion, primarily directed toward buying new Navy vessels and restoring ships scheduled for retirement. Other bipartisan measures include requiring women to register for the draft and a return of cost-to-date reporting for military weapons programs. The final committee reconciliation is expected to proceed without major substantive changes. (AC: Other amendments include diversifying the Pentagon’s rare earth metals procurement and expanding domestic production of weapons components. The changes indicate the Congress and Pentagon are posturing for high-end conflict with significantly disrupted supply chains and personnel numbers, likely in the Pacific. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: Disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the south-central Gulf of Mexico are expected to bring storms to the southeastern U.S., but the likelihood of the storms organizing further remains low. Hurricane Larry continues movement across the Atlantic, generating large swells for the U.S. coast by midweek. According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Larry is not projected to make landfall in the U.S.
In today’s Early Warning, Dustin examines Chinese exploitation of American corporate interests and Max details the Far Left’s activity over the weekend. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe