Daily SA: Looming government shutdown signals U.S. decline – Forward Observer

Daily SA: Looming government shutdown signals U.S. decline

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Thursday, 30 September 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Looming government shutdown signals U.S. decline
  • Port of Los Angeles director sees no relief
  • Senate wants scuttlebutt on Navy’s Ghost Fleet
  • Semi truck orders take big hit; 250,000 awaiting parts

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

SHUTDOWN: The House is expected to hold a vote today to prevent a government shutdown. The Senate will vote on similar stop-gap measures designed to fund the government until mid-December. Little negotiating progress between Far Left Democrats and moderates was made this week as Senators Manchin (D-WV) and Sinema (D-AZ) refuse to vote for the $3.5 trillion “human infrastructure” spending bill. Democratic infighting may lead to emergency resolutions for surface transportation funding, which will expire at 12:01 am on 1 October and would result in the immediate furlough of several thousand Federal Highway Administration employees. (AC: Beyond the financial impacts of Congressional brinkmanship, the continued inability to fulfill basic governance functions is a strong indicator of a declining United States. The weakness of leadership and internal social divisions will continue to provide malign actors the opportunity to supplant U.S. leadership abroad. – D.M.)

LOS ANGELES: The Port of Los Angeles reports sustained backlogs or shortages in container availability, labor, trucks, and berthing space. “Disruptions continue at every node in the supply chain,” said the port’s director. In response, the Port of LA is conducting 24-hour operations in an attempt to alleviate congestion, but the whole industry doesn’t operate around the clock, limiting the expanded operation’s effectiveness. “If the warehouses are not operating extended hours or truck drivers don’t have the opportunity to get enough turns in their day, then the benefit of it may be somewhat limited,” said one logistics executive.  (AC: Labor remains the largest complaint by companies as there’s more work than people at the ports. Analysts expect this trend to continue for at least the next 12 months, reducing or delaying the availability of many consumer products. – D.M.)

GHOST FLEET: The Senate Armed Services Committee is requesting updates from the Pentagon on ground-based missile systems repurposed for maritime duty. The unmanned surface vessel Ranger conducted a test in early September, but lawmakers want to know about the Pentagon’s future testing plans. The unmanned projects are called the “Ghost Fleet,” often utilizing recently decommissioned vessels for nonstandard weapons applications. Other ground-based missile systems were adapted by the Army and Marine Corps as early as 2017, but many of the projects remain classified. (AC: The Navy faces sharp scrutiny after assessments of their battle damage repair plans were found lacking in a June 2021 report from the Government Accountability Office. The rapid improvement and implementation of these ground-based platforms for sea duty are highly likely designed to address future conflict with China in the Pacific. – D.M.)

USV Ranger, loaded with a modified ground-based SM-6 missile launcher. Credit: U.S. Navy

TRUCKING: According to ACT Research, semi-truck orders are projected to decline roughly 15% or 43,000 units for 2022. Industry researchers cite ongoing shortages of semiconductors, supply chain constraints, and concerns over the delta variant as the main factors in order reductions. “There are significant inventories of already produced vehicles where essential parts are lacking,” Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum said. An estimated 250,000 class 8 trucks are “red-tagged” or waiting on parts before delivery to customers. (AC: A sustained shortage of semi-trucks will further impact the logistics sector, already strained from a shortage of common parts throughout 2021. – D.M.)

HAZARDS WARNING

HURRICANE SEASON: Hurricane Sam is maintaining its course toward the mid-Atlantic with no U.S. landfall expected. According to the National Hurricane Center, this weekend, life-threatening swells and rip currents are expected on the East Coast. Tropical Storm Victor formed overnight and is working slowly across the Atlantic, and should turn north this weekend.

In today’s Early Warning, we break down Ray Dalio’s take on debt, civil war, and China. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe

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