Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Thursday, 13 January 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
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- Bomb-making surges in U.S.
- Excess deaths rise 40% in U.S.
- Russia talks fall apart on Ukraine
- EU trains for supply chain cyber attack
- Hazards Warning
UPGRADE TO EARLY WARNING AND GET THESE BRIEFINGS:
- In Focus: Six hyperinflationary scenarios for the US
- Economic Warning INTSUM
BOMB-MAKING SURGE IN US: Renewed emphasis is being placed on the rise of improvised bomb incidents and domestic counterterrorism efforts. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) teamed up last year in Operation Flashpoint to get the approximately 250,000 stores that sell explosive precursor chemicals to report suspicious activity, following a reported 71% increase of bomb incidents from 2019 to 2020. The United States Bomb Data Center (USBDC) cited 428 such incidents in 2020. (Analyst Comment: Trending data from previous USBDC explosive incident reports going back to 2014 indicate a correlation to bomb incidents to presidential elections. Law enforcement agencies are looking to get ahead of the election cycle as the domestic population becomes more polarized. – D.F.)
40% SPIKE IN NON-COVID EXCESS DEATHS DURING FY 2021: Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows an average 40% increase in deaths among people aged 18-49 for the period Oct 2020 through Oct 2021. The surge in excess non-COVID deaths varies across different states, with Nevada showing a 65% increase while New Hampshire showed no increase and zero COVID deaths for this age group. The excess deaths are not directly attributed to COVID, although the CDC says that COVID could have played an indirect role in drug overdoses, suicides, and other morbidities. For those under the age of 18, mortality decreased by 3.3%. (AC: There are no concrete answers as to the increase in non-COVID excess deaths. Both sides of the COVID debate claim the statistics support their agenda, but according to insurance actuaries, a 40% spike in deaths in the working-age population is an anomaly not seen in the last 100 years. – M.M.)
RUSSIA TALKS FALL APART: Talks between the Russians, NATO, and the U.S. resulted in no concessions on either side. Instead, Russian foreign ministers are proposing the deployment of “military infrastructure” to Cuba and Venezuela. Moscow doesn’t “see the need” for more diplomatic talks with the West. The U.S. prepared sanctions on Russia but hasn’t specified what those will be. (AC: Russia likely had no interest in making concessions on Ukraine. The diplomatic talks occurred while Russian military forces continue to consolidate near the Ukrainian border. Some observers are clinging to the idea that the ground must be frozen for an invasion, but this is not the case as ground forces will have protection from stand-off rockets, artillery, and electronic warfare units. – D.M.)
EU TRAINS FOR SUPPLY CHAIN CYBERATTACK: The European Union (EU) is running simulations of large-scale cyberattacks on supply chains for the next couple of weeks due to concerns of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Key training objectives are to evaluate the coordination of public communication and diplomatic response. These objectives target an identified weakness in the EU response framework for coordinating a joint response to a major disaster. Training scenarios will be modeled after previous cyber-incidents, such as the SolarWinds attack. (AC: With limited progress in Russian talks with the United States and NATO, there is urgency to shore up perceived weakness within the EU cybersecurity framework ahead of an incident with Russia. While results are pending, global supply chains have demonstrated fragility limited factors such as surging demand and Covid challenges. These weak links in the supply chain do not provide confidence in resiliency if it were to be attacked by Russia’s cyber capabilities – D.F.)
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