DailySA: Defense Department continues anti-extremist hunt – Forward Observer

DailySA: Defense Department continues anti-extremist hunt

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Wednesday, 05 January 2022. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa

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TODAY’S BRIEFING:

  • Defense Department continues anti-extremist hunt
  • Staffing shortages undermine critical U.S. cyber defenses
  • China locks down second city in pursuit of zero-COVID policy
  • U.S. wants Taiwan in State Partnership Program 
  • Silicon Valley, Washington call for podcast censorship
  • Hazards Warning

UPGRADE TO EARLY WARNING AND GET THESE BRIEFINGS:

  • Russia-NATO SITREP: NATO EXTRAORDINARY MEETING, UKRAINE SUSPECTS RUSSIAN BATTLE STRATEGY, SENATE DEMS COULD APPROVE NORDSTREAM 2
  • Indo-Pacific SITREP: CHINA HEATS UP BORDER WITH INDIA, DEVELOPS NEW HYPERSONIC GUIDANCE CAPABILITY, MYANMAR CIVIL WAR
  • LIC Summary/ INTSUM

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

DEFENSE DEPT CONTINUES ANTI-EXTREMIST HUNT: Political activists are calling Secretary of Defense Austin’s new guidelines on identifying and removing extremists from the military inadequate. The new guidance prohibits “liking” posts on social media and attending events where violence is “likely.”  The Pentagon’s own extremism working group said, “The available data generally shows that cases of prohibited extremist activity among service members was rare.” The working group’s final report is due in June 2022 and will include updates on “information-collection systems and data” and “behavioral pathways to extremist activity.” Lawmakers like Rep. Brown (D-MD) and Rep. Crow (D-CO) called the Pentagon’s Constitutional concerns “a joke.” (Analyst Comment: Far Left politicians appear to want a politically homogeneous military. Their “rejection” of Constitutional protections indicates their loyalty lies with maintaining political power rather than any oath of office. As America’s Low Intensity Conflict continues, a biased military could impact disaster responses, stifle opposing political ideals, and further unconstitutional behavior by the dominant political ideology. – D.M.) 

CISA’S LIMITED REACH TO DEFEND: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) hasn’t filled critical advisor positions in state, local, and tribal governments to improve their joint-interoperability and extended reach to fight the growing cybersecurity threat domestically. CISA states that it needs these members to be closer to the front-line clear picture of the different attack vectors impacting different states and regions. Key positions to meet this program have yet to be filled as CISA competes for talent with private sector companies providing larger salaries and benefits packages. (AC: CISA has limited reach to defend against ransomware in critical industries. Even success stories highlight problems with recovery timelines, with recoveries from attacks on food production companies taking weeks. CISA is likely to provide limited effectiveness during a state-sponsored cyberattack on industry and infrastructure. Despite the new federal focus on cybersecurity, improvements seem limited to decreased response and recovery times. – D.F.)

CHINA LOCKS DOWN SECOND CITY OVER COVID FEARS: China locked down the city of Yuzhou in Henan province on Tuesday after three cases of asymptomatic COVID-19 were discovered. The city of almost 1.2 million people joins Xi’an’s 13 million residents in the latest round of COVID restrictions. Authorities in Yuzhou announced the new lockdown late on Monday evening. Residents must remain inside, and communities have been placed under guard with sentries posted at gates. Public transportation was also suspended, and all road and vehicular traffic not related to the epidemic response is prohibited. (AC: China continues its zero-COVID policies ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympics. Continued draconian lockdowns will soon impact businesses and drive down economic growth. Beijing appears to be comfortable with this threat, likely believing the increased tourism related to the Olympics will offset the economic damage. – M.M.)

U.S. WANTS TAIWAN TO JOIN STATE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM: The recently approved National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) tasks the Pentagon with integrating training Taiwan’s military with National Guard units. Taiwan’s most likely partner will be the Hawaiian Guard, but units from Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington are up for consideration. The Pentagon’s assessment is due no later than 15 February and will determine the viability of training Taiwan’s reserve and active forces. Taiwan’s newly formed All-Out Defense Mobilization Agency is likely to be a key training partner, which will include civilian mobilization against Chinese invasion. (AC: Taiwan and Ukraine enacted new laws to establish domestic resistance forces, augmented by civilians. The Chinese are highly likely to view Taiwan’s membership in the training program as an escalation. While the report is due during the Beijing Olympics, it is unlikely any additional U.S. forces will begin training with Taiwan before 2023 due to budgeting and training calendar development. – D.M.)

PODCAST CENSORSHIP: Podcasting platforms have come under more scrutiny since claims of falsehoods regarding the 2020 election were purported to be spread. According to Google, social media platforms have made efforts to moderate content on their platforms, while long-form audio content is claimed to be more difficult to limit. (AC: Tech censorship advocates are looking for ways to limit opposing views on platforms that have been more welcoming to alternative views. With election season drawing closer, expect increased effort to moderate and censor platforms not favorable to the mainstream view. Facebook and Alphabet spend millions lobbying Congress to update the Communications and Decency Act. Their efforts could lead to a licensing requirement, similar to terrestrial radio broadcasting. – D.F.

HAZARDS/WX

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