DailySA: Drought crisis persists across American West – Forward Observer

DailySA: Drought crisis persists across American West

Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Friday, 17 December 2021. You can receive this daily briefing by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa


  • Homeland Security increases Cyber focus
  • School shooting worries among social media trend
  • Pentagon begins separations for vaccine refusals


  • Russia-NATO SITREP: Russia teams up with China in the Baltics
  • Indo-Pacific SITREP: China conducts live-fire naval and airborne exercises
  • Domestic SITREP: Weather, Food and Trucking Update
  • Far Left Activity Rollup & Outlook
  • Upcoming Event Calendar


DROUGHT CRISIS & WATER CUTBACKS: California, Arizona, and Nevada signed an agreement to cut back on water use from the Colorado River due to historically low levels at Lake Mead. The agreement comes as many western states are still experiencing drought conditions across the entire state. Recent long range forecasts from the National Weather Service show that winter precipitation is unlikely to bring enough rain and snow to solve the drought crisis. (AC: For more information, see today’s Weather, Food, and Trucking update in the Early Warning report. – M.S.)

CHINA & RUSSIA SWIFT ALTERNATIVE: Russia and China have agreed to create an alternative to the U.S.-backed Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system. SWIFT is the global messaging system that financial institutions use to clear payments. Proposed U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia and Belarus would remove their access to the SWIFT system, and China remains vulnerable to removal from SWIFT, as well. Both Russia and China have been developing their own alternatives to the SWIFT system, in order to undermine U.S. financial dominance. According to Russian officials, China and Russia must “intensify efforts to form an independent financial infrastructure to service trade operations between Russia and China.” (AC: Part of China’s strategy towards economic, financial, and monetary dominance is to create global alternatives to U.S. financial infrastructure. China has to build worldwide credit and financial networks so the digital yuan can achieve global adoption and compete with the U.S. dollar. Deepening economic and military cooperation between Russia and China signals a commitment to undermine U.S. financial dominance, and quicken the decoupling of the U.S. and Chinese economies. – M.S.)

DHS INCREASES CYBERSECURITY FOCUS: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced multiple initiatives to focus on the cybersecurity threats to the homeland. DHS launched the Cybersecurity Talent Management System (CTMS) to “more effectively recruit, develop, and retain our Nation’s top cybersecurity professionals”. Additionally, DHS announced a bounty program called “Hack DHS” which is designed to incentivize participants to find potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities within certain DHS systems. A DHS statement referred to a high-level meeting as being rooted in the “analysis of the evolving threat environment” which includes both government and key industry partners. (AC: Cyber is not only a mainstay of gray zone warfare, but also a strategic area for multi-domain conflict. The United States will face increased cyber exploitation on both fronts. DHS faces an uphill battle against foreign cyber exploitation, due to a series of missteps in software development and procurement. For instance, DHS spent $5.7 billion on its EINSTEIN firewall, which has repeatedly failed to detect and mitigate cyber threats like the one resulting in the 2020 Solar Winds hack. – M.S.)

SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS SPREAD SCHOOL SHOOTING CONCERNS: The social media company Tik Tok announced that they are working with law enforcement regarding growing concerns among schools about warnings of shooting and bomb threats at schools across the country from their platform. The statement on Tik Tok’s Twitter account mentioned that they “have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via Tik Tok”, however, they also stated their involvement for handling “rumored threats” with utmost seriousness. The Associated Press reported that school officials in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stated there will be an increased police presence due to the threats. (AC: This example highlights growing concern about how trend influences through social media platforms such as Tik Tok can lead susceptible members of a society to commit dangerous acts. Tik Tok trends have previously led to vandalism and theft at schools earlier this year. – D.F.)

DOD SEPARATING VAX REFUSALS The Department of Defense is slowly releasing numbers on troop separations for vaccine refusal. Across all branches, around 8,000 service members are facing separation with the majority coming from the Navy and Army. No service is reporting a successful religious exemption filing to date. The relatively low number of refusals beat initial Pentagon estimates of a 1.5-3% reduction in the force. (AC: State and National Guard units continue to defy Pentagon orders with their own state orders. Texas and Oklahoma are suing the Biden administration for mandates impacting Guard units. Continued power struggles between the Pentagon and States is an indication of the declining legitimacy and authority of the national government. – D.M.)


In today’s Early Warning, Dustin looks at expanded Russian and Chinese military cooperation, Max looks at Chinese live fire exercises in the South China Sea, and Mike explains how winter weather and transportation will continue to disrupt the food supply chain. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe

Mike Shelby is a former Intelligence NCO and contractor. He's now the CEO of Forward Observer.

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