Daily SA: White House pushing for military medical mandate discharges – Forward Observer

Daily SA: White House pushing for military medical mandate discharges

Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 23 September 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • White House pushing for military medical mandate discharges
  • Cyber attacks on Ag are spreading
  • Port of Los Angeles remains backlogged
  • Senate to triple size of missile fleet

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SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

MANDATES: An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act would require servicemembers separated from the military for refusing the COVID-19 vaccine receive no less than an “honorable” discharge. In response, the White House said it “strongly opposes” the amendment along with an effort to establish an exemption for “administrative, medical or religious reasons, including on the basis of possessing an antibody test result demonstrating previous COVID-19 infection.” The Pentagon considers the mandates to be “lawful orders” with support from the Biden administration. “To enable a uniformed force to fight with discipline, commanders must have the ability to give orders and take appropriate disciplinary measures,” the White House said in a statement. (Analyst Comment: This is likely to increase the retirement rate for many servicemembers and indicates a continued purge of ideologically noncompliant troops. Facing a “dishonorable” or “other than honorable” discharge for mandate refusal can have substantially negative impacts on troops’ lives following separation from the military. – D.M.)

CYBER ATTACK: Minnesota-based Crystal Valley Co-op suffered a cyber attack over the weekend which knocked out their payment processors and website. The co-op hasn’t revealed the source of the attack, but it does share similarities to the recent NEW Co-op attack in Iowa. In designing their ransomware architecture, the BlackMatter ransomware group said, “we can withstand the offensive cyber capabilities of the United States.” Security analysts recommend secure access service edge (SASE) for “end-to-end threat protection” and control over as much IT infrastructure as possible to reduce the likelihood of a ransomware attack. (AC: CISA says agriculture remains a critical infrastructure area, but hasn’t updated the industry-specific cybersecurity plan since 2015. The chief agricultural exports from Iowa and Minnesota are soybeans, corn, and hogs. Harvest season for corn and soybeans is underway in the two states, meaning technological disruptions could temporarily limit the flow of goods and have a delayed impact on food suppliers and exporters. – D.M.)

SHIPPING: The Port of Los Angeles continues to face backlogs as more than 70 vessels await berthing. Shortages of dock workers and drivers to move cargo are the primary causes for delays as traffic increased 50% from pre-pandemic levels. Port of LA Director Gene Seroka said, “The American’s buying strength is so strong and epic, that we can’t absorb all this cargo into the domestic supply chain.” (AC: Peak shipping season is here and congestion at U.S. ports is likely to increase as consumers want goods manufactured in Asia for holiday shopping. The surge in products is causing delays for less in-demand items as supply-chain capacity remains stressed. Expect continued shortages of products and delays in overseas orders through the end of 2021. – D.M.)

DEFENSE: The Senate Armed Services Committee wants the Missile Defense Agency to triple production of the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI). The NGI program is designed to replace the current Ground-based Interceptor fleet, in use since the Clinton administration. Modernization efforts are designed to counter North Korean and Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Defense officials previously testified their degree of uncertainty in defeating over-the-horizon threats from China and Russia given their advanced implementation of hypersonic delivery vehicles, which the NGI is not designed to defeat. (AC: Defeating ICBMs remains strategically important, but the practice is quietly being supplanted by multi-domain counter-hypersonic platforms. Coincidentally, the Hill published an Op-ed this morning supporting this change from industry analysts, indicating a push from the Defense contracting world for increased spending on interdiction platforms. This indicates lawmakers are not so quietly preparing for high-end conflict, which could impact the continental U.S. – D.M.)

HAZARDS WARNING

HURRICANE SEASON: Tropical Depression Eighteen should reach the Caribbean by Monday. According to the National Hurricane Center, its ultimate track remains uncertain but the storm is expected to develop into a tropical storm or hurricane as it enters the warmer waters of the region. 

In today’s Early Warning, we cover challenges to the domestic food supply chain. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe

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