Good morning. Here’s your Early Warning for Thursday, 15 March 2018. (All times Eastern.)
Advanced Early Warning: With Larry Kudlow joining the White House as the top economic advisor, the Trump administration is readying to punish China for decades worth of unfair trade practices. Right now, the administration is preparing a package of tariffs that will affect at least $30 billion of Chinese imports. This and other measures are aimed to bumping China off its requirement that U.S. manufacturers operating in China transfer technologies to partnered Chinese firms. The Trump administration is set to announce the move later this month. Historically, China has responded in kind, so a trade war should be on the radar. Yet China knows how unfair its trade practices towards the U.S. have been, so the Trump plan may actually succeed in pushing China off some of those exploitative requirements.
In addition to receiving his daily intelligence briefing, the president is meeting with the Prime Minister of Ireland, then with members of the American Petroleum Institute, then with Bill Gates.
There is no schedule published for outgoing SECSTATE Rex Tillerson, who will continue to serve until 31 March. Several top State Department officials will be accompanying meetings with Irish officials visiting the Capitol today.
SECDEF James Mattis is traveling again today, and other prominent DOD officials are either in Congressional hearings or have no public events scheduled.
Aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70) is engaged in anti-submarine warfare exercises in the South China Sea this week, and the Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is operating in the Persian Gulf. Conflict requiring a Carrier Strike Group does not appear imminent.
The House and Senate are in session today and we’ll be covering a number of hearings. (1) House Armed Services Committee hearing on Security Challenges in Europe/Competition with Russia. (2) House Armed Services Committee hearing on National Security Space Programs. We’ll generate reporting for subscribers on these hearings, if necessary.
For the first time in three years, the U.S. economy has recorded three straight months of decline retail sales. Declining retail sales has led the Atlanta Federal Reserve to downgrade its first-quarter economic growth expectations, which is now below 2 percent. Until late last month, the Fed had been predicting 3-5 percent growth for the first quarter.
Due Out for Subscribers
— SASC: Cyber Posture of the Services (Strategic)
— HASC: Security Challenges in Europe/Competition with Russia (Strategic)
— HASC: National Security Space Programs (Strategic)
Yesterday’s Significant Reporting
HASC: National Security Challenges and U.S. Military Activities in Africa
Daily Observation: Declining population in ‘peak earning years’ spells financial trouble
REVIEW: How Democracies Die / Forward Observer Radio Version
U.S. Defense Intelligence chief says North Korea ‘hardest intelligence collection target’
Prior to Russian elections, Putin says country has thwarted hundreds of foreign spies
U.S. may need to reconsider number of Mexican consulates over state subversion of immigration laws
“When we say civil defense, we mean all civil activities in society, including medical care, including shelters of course, including private companies, everything. Local communities and all their obligations. It’s a total mobilization of the country and planning for how to put all forces in society in the direction of solving, in the worst case, a military attack.” – Swedish Defense Commission chief speaking on his national mobilization plan to fight off a Russian invasion