Global SITREP for Wednesday, 17 April 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Wednesday, 17 April 2024.

  1. U.S., CHINA BATTLE FOR SPACE INFLUENCE IN LATIN AMERICA: China is set to host the first-ever “China-Latin American and the Caribbean Space Cooperation Forum” in Wuhan next week. The conference will focus on Chinese space cooperation with Latin and the Caribbean for “social and economic development,” among other reasons.
  • Meanwhile, U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administration Bill Nelson will be in Mexico next week to discuss space cooperation with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM). The meeting will focus on the use of satellites “to address climate change.”
  • The U.S. Space Force signed an agreement last week to add a Brazilian liaison officer to U.S. Space Command to strengthen military cooperation between the two countries.

Why It MattersThe United States and China are competing for space infrastructure development in Latin America for at least three reasons. First, Latin America is prone to hurricanes and other natural disasters, so improving satellite communications and early warning systems are vital and of extreme interest in the region. Second, Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum, a member of the ruling leftist Morena Party and likely successor to the current president, has promised nationwide satellite internet coverage as part of her campaign. If the project is approved, China and the United States are likely to compete for its development, and we can expect other Latin American countries to develop similar projects. Third, Latin America’s higher altitudes, proximity to the equator, and eastward launch path over the Pacific Ocean make it an attractive location for space infrastructure. Lastly, space infrastructure means better jobs, economic development, and technology education for relatively poorer Latin American countries. – M.S.

  1. RCN HEAD: I NEED A SUB, AND I NEED IT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE: In an interview with the United States Naval Institute, Vice Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, revealed that he is running a “military off the shelf” program to triple the size of Canada’s submarine program because he “need[s] a submarine and I need it as quickly as possible.”
  • The “Military Off the Shelf” program involves buying new-production, already-operational submarines as they are specifically to avoid design delays.
  • Japan, Korea, Spain, France, Sweden, and Germany are bidding for the contract.
  • Canadian shipyards are maxed out building surface ships but are getting faster with each hull built, according to the Admiral.

Why It Matters:  Vice Admiral Topshee’s pressure to build up every aspect of Canadian naval power, particularly the agile submarine warfare capability, suggests a rapidly closing window to prepare for war. As China has recently declared itself a “near-Arctic nation,” this will likely involve securing the Arctic to prevent Chinese resource and space exploitation. – J.V.

  • Global Rollup
    • President Biden plans to have the U.S. Trade Representative explore the idea of tripling the current 7.5% tariff on Chinese steel and aluminum.
    • Canada’s Navy is getting its first icebreaker since 1954. Previously, icebreakers belonged to the Canadian Coast Guard because “where there’s ice, there’s not really a security threat. That has changed.” according to Vice Admiral Topshee.
    • The United States and Philippines Coast Guards will participate in the Balikatan exercise for the first time next week. (The USCG can become part of the USN in the event of a war. Participation likely just fills the USCG Pacific presence missions but could also be preparation to fill the frigate/corvette role in the USN. – J.V.)
    • The United States Army deployed its Typhon Weapon System, a Tomahawk-capable missile system, to Luzon, Philippines, this week. The Tomahawk has a public operational range of 1,000 miles, giving the Army the capability to strike Shanghai, Hubei, and China’s entire Southern Theater. (This will continue to test China’s commitment to its “Active Defense” strategy as there will be extremely little warning for these missiles. – J.V.)

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *