Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

I have returned from Korea and will try to get back on my regular weekend schedule on Sunday and my weekday schedule on Monday.

Quotes of the Day:

“Your knowledge is far more important than your degree.”
— Paul Dirac

“The measure of a man is what he does with power.”
— Plato

“Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.”
— Paulo Coelho

1. 'Fruitful cooperation!' Russia calls for North Korean labourers for help in the Donbas


3. The semiconductor chip pendulum is slowly swinging west

4. In the Information Battlespace, Cold War II Has Already Begun

5. The Army Brief: The force is shrinking; Military life palls; Infrastructure warning; and more…

6. Two Americans die in Ukraine, State Department says as war enters sixth month

7. Former US security officials: We did 'everything possible' to bring Russia into international systems

8. Has Russia Reached Its ‘Culminating Point’ in Ukraine?

9. Half of Americans expect a civil war ‘in the next few years’

10. Green Berets in Florida are practically begging for a place to drop off their kids before work

​11. ​Welcome Col. Allison Black: 1st SOW change of command ceremony

​12. ​Rights Abuser China Emerging as Dubious Linchpin of Biden's Lithium-Battery Supply Chain

13. Russian missiles hit Ukraine port; Kyiv says it is still preparing grain exports

​14. ​Putin's Disaster: Ukraine Is Now on the Offensive Trying to Retake a Key City

15. Russia Ukraine War: HIMARS Missiles Destroy Russian Targets - US & Allies Prepare for Long War

1. 'Fruitful cooperation!' Russia calls for North Korean labourers for help in the Donbas

In Korea this week we met with a Korean who is a north Korean analyst whose "rumors" provide accurate more often than not.. He said the rumor coming from north Korea is that these construction laborers will be north Korean special purpose forces sent to Ukraine to help fight Putin's war.

'Fruitful cooperation!' Russia calls for North Korean labourers for help in the Donbas

Express · by Jack Walters · July 22, 2022

Putin is 'too healthy' says CIA director amid illness rumours

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The Kremlin's ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matesegora, suggested that North Korean labourers could be used to rebuild the two separatist republics in Eastern Ukraine. He also claimed Pyongyang would likely receive much-needed industrial equipment and wheat from Ukraine as payment.

However, providing such technology to Pyongyang would violate United Nations sanctions which Moscow has previously supported.

According to the Telegraph, Mr Matsegora said: “Highly qualified, hard-working and ready to work in the most difficult conditions, Korean builders will be an asset in the serious task of restoring social, infrastructural and industrial facilities destroyed by the retreating 'Ukronazis'.”

Despite previous sanctions, North Korea is just the third country to officially recognise Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics, after Russia and Syria.

Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People's Republic, welcomed the recognition made by Pyongyang.

'Fruitful cooperation!' Russia calls for North Korean labourers for help in the Donbas (Image: Getty)

Pyongyang would likely receive much-needed industrial equipment and wheat from Ukraine as payment. (Image: Getty)

He said it was “a triumph of diplomacy” and revealed he looks forward to “active and fruitful cooperation” with North Korea.

Mr Matsegora also suggested diplomatic ties could be strengthened.

According to the Telegraph, he told Izvestia there are “wide prospects for bilateral cooperation” between the two breakaway republics and their new Asian ally, with Pyongyang particularly keen to obtain replacements for its Soviet-era manufacturing equipment.

Much of that equipment was originally made in the industrial region of Eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Image: Getty)

The news comes after it was revealed forces from the Kremlin are continuing to target critical national infrastructure.

An intelligence update from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) claimed: “Russian and separatist forces continue to attempt small scale assaults along the Donbas front line.

“Russian forces are likely closing in on Ukraine’s second biggest power plant at Vuhlehirska, 50km north-east of Donetsk.

“Russia is prioritising the capture of critical national infrastructure, such as power plants.”

Much of that equipment was originally made in the industrial region of Eastern Ukraine. (Image: Getty)


Mr Matsegora also suggested diplomatic ties could be strengthened. (Image: Getty)

The MoD added: “However, it is probably also attempting to break through at Vuhlehirska, as part of its efforts to regain momentum on the southern pincer of its advance towards the key cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.”

Express · by Jack Walters · July 22, 2022




Jul 22, 2022 - Press ISW

Karolina Hird, Grace Mappes, Layne Philipson, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan

July 22, 6:30 pm ET

Click here to see ISW's interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.

The United States announced a new $270 million security package for Ukraine, and Ukrainian officials detailed their procedures for keeping track of Western weapons on July 22.[1] The US package includes an additional four high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), 36,000 artillery ammunition rounds, anti-armor systems, and 580 Phoenix Ghost drones.[2] Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksii Danilov reiterated that the Ukrainian government is employing multiple monitoring mechanisms to keep track of weapons deliveries to Ukraine.[3] Ukraine’s Modern Information and Analytical System of the Main Situational Center (COTA) reportedly allows Ukrainian officials to monitor the status of arms deliveries to Ukrainian frontlines and works in tandem with NATO’s LOGFAS logistics and accounting control system.[4] Danilov’s statement is likely a response to an ongoing Russian information operation that seeks to discount Ukraine as a trustworthy recipient of Western military aid.[5]

Key Takeaways

  • The United States announced an additional $270 million security package for Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian officials reiterated that they are employing monitoring mechanisms to track and account for the delivery of Western weapons to Ukrainian frontlines.
  • Russian forces conducted ground attacks east of Siversk and to the east and south of Bakhmut.
  • Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance northwest of Donetsk City.
  • Ukrainian forces conducted limited positional battles north of Kharkiv City.
  • Russian forces conducted localized ground attacks near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border.
  • Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov announced that the newly-formed Chechen “West-Akhmat” battalion will not be immediately deployed into Ukraine and will stay in Chechnya.
  • Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Denis Pushilin signed a cooperation agreement with the occupation head of Kharkiv Oblast, indicating that the Kremlin intends to integrate Kharkiv Oblast into the Russian Federation.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.

  • Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and two supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate Main Effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian Troops in the Cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting Effort 1—Kharkiv City
  • Supporting Effort 2—Southern Axis
  • Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas

Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine

Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)

Russian forces did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks toward Slovyansk and shelled settlements to the southeast and southwest of Izyum on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces shelled Dolyna, Dibrovne, Bohorodychne, Adamivka, Mykilske, Kurulka, Mazanivka, and Krestychne, all to the northwest of Slovyansk, and conducted aerial reconnaissance north of Barvinkove in Velyka Komyshuvakha.[6]

Russian forces continued unsuccessful ground attacks east of Siversk on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces tried and failed to advance westward of Verkhnokamyanka to Verkhnokamyanske and continued to fight southeast of Siversk in Ivano-Darivka.[7] Russian forces also conducted air and artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions in settlements from the northeast to southeast of Siversk.[8]

Russian forces conducted ground attacks toward Bakhmut from positions to the east and continued limited ground assaults south of Bakhmut on July 22. Russian sources claimed that troops of the Wagner Private Military Company (PMC) occupied the southern part of Pokrovske, less than 5 km east of Bakhmut.[9] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops are also attempting to advance towards Bakhmut from the Stryapivka-Soledar area to the northeast and the territory of the Vuhledar Power Plant to the south.[10] Russian forces continued artillery strikes directly on Bakhmut and surrounding settlements to support ongoing ground offensives.[11]

Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack directly northwest of Donetsk City on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian troops repelled a Russian attempt to advance from Vesele to Vodyane, about 10km northwest of the western outskirts of Donetsk City.[12] Russian forces continued to fire at Ukrainian positions along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City line of contact and in the direction of the Zaporizhia Oblast border.[13]

Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum and prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border)

Russian forces did not make any confirmed territorial advances on the Kharkiv Axis on July 22. The Derhachi City Council reported that Ukrainian forces engaged in positional battles near Tsupivka, Dementiivka, Velyki Prokhody, and in the Kozacha Lopan-Zolochiv direction north of Kharkiv City.[14] Russian Telegram channel Rybar claimed that a Russian reconnaissance group conducted a ground assault near Udy, 5 km from the Russian border northwest of Kharkiv City, but ISW cannot currently verify this claim.[15] Russian forces conducted an airstrike on Verkhnii Saltiv, 35 km east of Kharkiv City along the Siverskyi Donets River.[16] Russian forces also continued shelling Kharkiv City and the surrounding settlements.[17]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Russian forces conducted limited unsuccessful offensives in Kherson Oblast on July 22. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance in the Mala Seidemynukha-Andriivka and Davydiv Brid-Bilohirka directions, both near the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border.[18] Russian Telegram Channel Rybar confirmed that Ukrainian forces still maintain a bridgehead on the Inhulets River near Lozove on July 22.[19] Russian forces continued focusing on defending previously occupied positions and preventing Ukrainian offensive actions along the Southern Axis and continued conducting artillery strikes on settlements along the Kherson-Mykolaiv and Kherson-Dnipropetrovsk Oblast borders and settlements on the Zaporizhia Oblast frontline.[20] Russian forces launched missile strikes on civilian infrastructure in Mykolaiv City and Apostolove in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast and airstrikes near Potomkyne and Prechystivka.[21] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported on July 22 that Russian forces are mining roads and the banks of the Inhulets River in the areas bordering Snihurivka and Zelenodolsk, suggesting that Russian forces may be preparing for a possible Ukrainian counteroffensive in the area.[22]

Ukrainian forces are continuing to threaten Russian logistics strongholds along the Southern Axis. Ukraine's Southern Operational Command reported that Ukrainian forces destroyed five Russian strongholds and two Russian ammunition depots in the Zelendolsk and Skadovsk areas of Kherson Oblast on July 22.[23] However, ISW cannot confirm rumors about a Ukrainian encirclement of Russian forces near Vysokopillya as of this publication.[24]

Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) published footage on July 22 of the July 20 Ukrainian strike on Russian military assets at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in occupied Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast.[25] GUR’s footage shows strikes on a Russian BM-21 Grad and anti-air transport among the NPP's water coolers and Russian personnel tents roughly 350 meters from the nearest nuclear cell block.[26] GUR reported that the strikes killed three Russian personnel and wounded 12 others.[27] Images of the strikes’ aftermath show devastation at the former tent site with no damage to the surrounding NPP facilities.[28]

Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russian leaders may be de-emphasizing the rapid deployment of ad hoc proxy units to Ukraine. Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov announced on July 22 that personnel of the Chechen “West-Akhmat” Battalion (the formation of which was announced on June 26) will remain in Chechnya to further develop their skills and defend Chechen land if necessary.[29] Kadyrov had previously stated that this battalion was formed with maximum urgency for deployment into Ukraine, which is consistent with ISW’s observations that the Kremlin likely seeks to deploy non-Russian ethnic minority groupings to support operations in Ukraine in the short term.[30] However, Kadyrov now appears to be de-emphasizing the exigency of deployment, which may indicate that he is facing increasing domestic pressure to stop sending Chechens to fight in Russian operations in Ukraine.[31] Russian and Russian-backed proxy authorities may experience increasing internal pressure to scale down deployments of ad hoc battalions in minority enclaves.[32]

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)

Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Head Denis Pushilin and Russian-backed Kharkiv occupation government head Vitaly Ganchev signed an agreement on July 22 to facilitate the cultural, political, and economic integration of occupied Kharkiv Oblast with Russia.[33] Pushilin claimed that the Russian “liberation” of Kharkiv Oblast, which Pushilin called “southern Russia,” has just begun.[34] Pushilin claimed that Russian cities in Kharkiv Oblast are waiting to return to their “Great Motherland” and that the “Russian city of Kharkiv, which has always been a gubernatorial city of the Russian empire...will also return home [to Russia].”[35] This agreement supports ISW’s assessment that the Kremlin intends to annex Kharkiv Oblast into the Russian Federation. Russian forces may intensify efforts to gain ground in Kharkiv although the likelihood of Russian forces capturing significant territory in Kharkiv Oblast remains limited.

Russian authorities continued measures to foster pro-Russian sentiment and identity among Ukrainian children. Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that Russian occupation authorities in Kherson Oblast are creating youth public organizations and competitions to further pro-Russian military-patriotic indoctrination of Ukrainian children.[36] The Ukrainian Resistance Center also reported that Russian occupation authorities in Kherson imported an additional 250 teachers from Russia under the guise of a business trip in order to work in occupied Ukraine.[37]

Russian occupation authorities continued crackdowns on partisan activity in occupied Kherson Oblast. Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command reported that Russian occupiers in Kherson City are checking private garages for weapons and have increased street patrols and roadblocks.[38]

[36] dot ua/content/rashysty-na-tymchasovo-okupovanykh-terytoriiakh-namahaiutsia-zaluchyty-ukrainsku-molod-do-novostvorenykh-prorosiiskykh-orhanizatsii.html

[37] https://sprotyv.mod dot

[38] dot ua/2022/07/22/rosiyany-nazbyraly-shhe-250-vchyteliv-dlya-vidpravky-na-okupovani-terytoriyi/

3. The semiconductor chip pendulum is slowly swinging west

I hope so. The chip may be the most important strategic resource for the future.

The semiconductor chip pendulum is slowly swinging west

The US had fallen behind Asian production levels but that may be about to change

Financial Times · by Gillian Tett · July 21, 2022

In recent decades, investors have operated on the basis that the global balance of power is shaped by the source — or “prize”, as the writer Daniel Yergin puts it — of oil.

Now, however, a new tagline is percolating: computer chips are the 21st century strategic version of the fossil fuel. Or that, at least, is the message being promoted by Pat Gelsinger, chief executive officer of Intel, America’s biggest chipmaker.

“[The location of] oil has defined geopolitics in the past five decades. But fabs [ie fabrication factories for chips] will shape the next five — this is the new geopolitics,” he recently told a conference in Aspen, lamenting that while America initially created the semiconductor industry, 80 per cent of production currently sits in Asia. Or as Rob Portman, a Republican senator from Ohio echoed at the same event: “Thirty years ago 37 per cent of semiconductors in the world were made in the US . . . today it’s 12 per cent and is going the wrong way.”

Is this just special pleading? Certainly in part. Intel has lost ground to its Asian rivals in recent years and has been furiously lobbying Congress to provide $52bn of funding to back a bill passed last year to boost American-made chip production.

And this week the lobbying paid off: a key Senate committee finally agreed to fund the $52bn plan. This will be signed by President Joe Biden “before the August recess”, Mark Warner, the Democrat senator who chairs the Senate intelligence committee, tells me.

This is still only a “skinny chips” bill, as Warner says; in other words, it omits parts of the original legislation. But skinny or not, dollars will flow. Intel, for example, is about to build two $10bn fabs in Senator Portman’s district of Ohio, and expects to receive a $3bn subsidy for each. Hence why Gelsinger — and Portman — are promoting the chips-are-the-new-oil mantra.

But leaving aside the issues of obvious self-interest, the reality is that this new credo is grounded in fact. That is partly because chips are playing an increasingly crucial role in military hardware. One issue that has hobbled Russia’s ability to replenish its battlefield equipment in recent months, say, is that it has been cut off from chip supply chains by western sanctions. Moreover chips — like oil — are increasingly shaping inflation trends: in recent decades, western disinflation was supported by declines in the cost of Asian-produced chips and cheap manufacturing. But now that dynamic has gone into reverse due to supply chain disruptions.

Then there is growth. Since almost every modern industrial sector needs a reliable supply of chips, the 2021 supply chain disruptions alone are calculated to have reduced American gross domestic product by $240bn that year, Portman says.

And John Cornyn, a Republican senator from Texas, reckons that if America ever lost access to supplies of advanced semiconductor chips in the future “GDP could shrink by 3.2 per cent and we could lose 2.4mn jobs” in a single year. “Over three years, more than $2tn US GDP could be lost, with over 5mn people losing their jobs,” he adds.

Hence the growing alarm in Congress — and America’s C-suite — about the fact that almost all advanced chip production is currently located in Taiwan, which is being threatened by a newly assertive China. Or as Warner says: “The vulnerability of Taiwan has been driven home by the invasion of Ukraine.”

This also explains Warner’s frustration that Europe is already racing ahead to subsidise chip production, essentially copying the bill that the US adopted (but did not fund) last year. Intel, for example, has already received commitments of €6.8bn in subsidies from Germany. “When Brussels and Germany and France move faster than Americans we know we have got problems,” Warner says. Or as Gelsinger adds: “This complex 27-member socialist union . . . is now ahead of the US by a solid six months.”

So will the (belated) funding of the Chips Act become the computing equivalent of America’s shale industry — namely a trigger for more self-sufficiency? Not quickly or easily. It takes at least two years to start a fab. And America lacks the talent base and infrastructure that has enabled Taiwan to dominate. As a result, Morris Chang, founder of Taiwan’s dominant TSMC group, says that production in its US TSMC factories costs 50 per cent more than in Taiwan.

Moreover, while $52bn sounds a big number, China is estimated to be giving three times that — or more — in support to its own sector. And the Chips Act caps subsidies at $3bn per plant (which typically cost around $10bn), but other countries provide up to 50 per cent in help, Gelsinger says. This leaves Warner fretting about a looming “race to the bottom on chip subsidies” between Europe and America — or Asia.

Yet, even if it will be tough to shift the supply chain pattern, nobody should doubt that the pendulum is swinging. Gelsinger is now promoting a target whereby America produces around 30 per cent of all chips in the future and Europe some 20 per cent (compared, he says, with the current 12 and 8 per cent levels, respectively). Under this vision, which is backed by key senators, Asia would account for just 50 per cent of all chip production.

This bold reform may not be achievable; or not anytime soon. But the message for investors is clear: the geopolitical chip wars could soon turn even more interesting. And they should count themselves lucky that western companies do not depend on Russia for chips.

Financial Times · by Gillian Tett · July 21, 2022

4. In the Information Battlespace, Cold War II Has Already Begun

We have to compete using a superior form of political warfare to be successful at influencing the range of target audience in the information environment. 

In the Information Battlespace, Cold War II Has Already Begun

China and Russia are using every tool in the gray zone toolbox to advance their strategic interests at the expense of the liberal world order, and information warfare ranks among their most potent tools.

by James P. Farwell Michael Miklaucic

The National Interest · by James P. Farwell · July 23, 2022

Two words no Western leader wants to say are “cold war.” Nobody wants it, but the facts speak for themselves: we are already deep into a global cold war. China and Russia are using every tool in the gray zone toolbox to advance their strategic interests at the expense of the liberal world order, and information warfare ranks among their most potent tools. We should be fighting back. Our leaders need to understand the power of the information battlespace and fund the capacity to wage it effectively.

This is not the twentieth-century Cold War. During that war, there was very little direct contact below the summit level between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China. Western businesses did not do much business in Russia or China. Travel and people-to-people contact were limited. Today, the West, Russia, and China are enmeshed in integrated global business, communication, and information ecosystems.

Though different in many ways from the Cold War of the last century, today’s cold war is a competition for hearts and minds. Each side is weaponizing information, misinformation, and disinformation for strategic effects. Russia’s influence operations in the 2016 elections in the United States and Europe are well-known. China’s disinformation and dissimulation as to the origins of Covid-19 are notorious. Those are the tip of the iceberg.

A few have begun to recognize the seriousness of the information battlespace. U.S. Marine Corps commandant General David H. Berger says, “Information is the foundation of all human interaction,” in the just-published Marine Corps doctrine on information. This is at least a doctrinal acknowledgment of the importance of the information battlespace. But information warfare is evolving rapidly, as our economic, information, and communication ecosystems evolve.

Take for example the recent disinformation attack detected by American cyber watchdog company Mandiant. A pro-Chinese information warfare squad called Dragonbridge was posting warnings of environmental catastrophe and irreparable damage from rare earth mining in Texas, aiming to stir up local opposition. Why? Because China currently enjoys a near-monopoly on the rare earth materials that so many cutting-edge industries depend on. That gives them political power that they do not want to lose.

Observers like Olivia Solan and Ken Dilanian have pointed out the distinctions between the Russian and Chinese approaches. Russia has employed a strategy of offensive operations to divide and discredit the United States and sow a loss of confidence among Americans in our social and political institutions. China uses disinformation, but its strategic approach is more sophisticated. China is less focused on tearing down competitors and opponents than building up its own standing through “discourse power.” This tactic aims to shape a narrative that characterizes China’s autocratic government as superior to democracies and to gain sympathy for China’s perspectives.

That aligns with China’s doctrine of warfare. While Western notions of warfare focus on armed conflict, Chinese doctrine—well expressed through its Three Warfares (lawfare, psychological warfare, media warfare) and its doctrinal Science of Military Strategy—eschews armed conflict in favor of political, economic, diplomatic, espionage and information tactics to achieve its goals. It employs targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploiting access by private Chinese nationals to new technologies. The People’s Liberation Army has centralized its space, cyber, electronic, and psychological warfare operations under one organization, the Strategic Support Force, to enhance coordination.

Some confuse information operations with soft power. We are not talking about soft power. Soft power is the influence that accrues to countries because of their attraction in terms of economy, culture, politics, or other non-military attributes. Soft power is an important element in the New Cold War, but we are talking about the use of information to achieve strategic effects and objectives at the expense of our rivals. We are talking about non-kinetic warfare that may work side-by-side with kinetic operations or as stand-alone operations.

We are not helpless. The United States and its allies and partners have tremendous information power. But we have to mobilize and fund this power and recruit the talent to leverage our capabilities to achieve concrete tactical and strategic effects. China is said to have as many as 100,000 information or cyber warriors. Even the hyper-dynamic high-tech “marketplace” can’t counter that on its own. To meet the adversary in the information battlespace and to prevail—even just to compete—will require a determined governmental response. Congressional leaders, as well as national security leaders, must quit giving this challenge lip service—a new doctrine isn’t a defense, let alone a winning strategy. Information warfare is real and it is urgent; this will take real resources—people and funding. This will require bringing our vibrant private sector on board. The United States needs to get with it. This is war.

James P. Farwell has advised U.S. Special Operations Command and the Defense Department. He is an associate fellow at King’s Centre for Strategic Communication at King’s College in London, and he is the author of “Information Warfare” (Quantico: Marine Corps University Press, 2020).

Michael Miklaucic is a senior fellow at the National Defense University and the editor-in-chief of its journal PRISM.

Image: Reuters.

The National Interest · by James P. Farwell · July 23, 2022


5. The Army Brief: The force is shrinking; Military life palls; Infrastructure warning; and more…

My beloved Army has some severe challenges.

The Army Brief: The force is shrinking; Military life palls; Infrastructure warning; and more… · by Bradley Peniston

U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT), Massachusetts Army National Guard, conduct combat training exercises during the eXportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) exercise on July 19, 2022 at Ft. Drum, N.Y. U.S. Army / Pfc. Seth Cohen

Get all our news and commentary in your inbox at 6 a.m. ET.



July 22, 2022 07:00 AM ET

By Bradley Peniston

Deputy Editor

July 22, 2022 07:00 AM ET

Welcome to The Army Brief, a weekly look at the news and ideas shaping the service’s future.

The Army is shrinking faster than planned. Just months ago, service leaders filed a 2023 budget request that proposed to shrink the service by 12,000 troops to 473,000. Now they foresee the force declining to 466,000 soldiers by year’s end, Defense One's Elizabeth Howe writes. That’s because of the “most challenging recruiting environment since the All-Volunteer Force was established in 1973,” according to an Army memo released Wednesday. What’s next? The Army is relaxing more policies and reintroducing old incentives as part of its continued efforts to increase recruiting. Read on, here.

Fewer military families would recommend military life. According to a 2021 survey just released by the Military Family Advisory Network, which conducts research on issues affecting military families, just 62.9 percent of military and veteran families would recommend military life, down from 74.5 percent in 2019. “When we’re going through this report and seeing some of the findings and the reality that a lot of families are having a hard time making ends meet, it’s not all that startling to see that there will be a decline here,” said president Shannon Razsadin. “But what I was really surprised by was, you know, that it was as big of a decline as it is.” More, here.

A flood-control project nears its finish. A project to keep rising seas from inundating Norfolk Naval Base will be complete this summer, but it’s a fraction of the work needed to reduce the effects of climate change on U.S. military infrastructure, including Army bases. The Norfolk project will take about 10 years from conception to completion, and it’s past time to get to work on the rest, writes John Conger, a former Pentagon comptroller and assistant defense secretary for installations. Read that, here.

Sign up to get The Army Brief every Friday morning from Caitlin M. Kenney, Defense One’s military services reporter. Bradley Peniston, Defense One's deputy editor, is filling in this week while Caitlin is on assignment. On July 22, 1943, Gen. George Patton and the U.S. 7th Army captured Palermo, Sicily.

6. Two Americans die in Ukraine, State Department says as war enters sixth month

Two Americans die in Ukraine, State Department says as war enters sixth month

NBC News · by Abigail Williams and Rhoda Kwan · July 23, 2022

Two U.S. citizens have died in eastern Ukraine, the State Department confirmed Saturday, with the war in the country about to enter its sixth month.

“We can confirm the recent deaths of two U.S. citizens in the Donbas region of Ukraine,” a spokesperson for the department said. “We are in touch with the families and providing all possible consular assistance.”

The State Department declined to provide any further details about the identity of the citizens or the nature of their deaths. NBC News confirmed one of the U.S. citizens killed was Luke Lucyszyn. The State department did not say what the men were doing in Ukraine.

“Out of respect to the families during this difficult time, we have nothing further to add,” the State Department said.

At least three other U.S. citizens have died since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, two of whom were killed during combat.

Former U.S. Marine Willy Joseph Cancel, 22, was killed in April after agreeing to go to Ukraine as part of his work with a private military contracting company, his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN at the time. Cancel had gone to Ukraine in mid-March and was survived by his wife and their 7-month-old child, she said.

The following month, Stephen Zabielski, 52, of Hernando, Florida, was killed while fighting in the village of Dorozhniank.

Jim Hill of Idaho, who had been living in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, was also killed in March.

The State Department has repeatedly warned U.S. citizens against traveling to Ukraine and said that any U.S. citizens still in Ukraine should leave immediately.

Thousands have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict, according to the United Nations, which said Monday that more than 5,100 civilians had died since late February, more than 340 of whom were children. The true toll of civilian casualties is, however, believed to be much higher, according to the U.N.

Inside Ukraine, heavy fighting has raged in the country’s south since Thursday, Britain's defense ministry said in a briefing Saturday.

Ukrainian forces were continuing an offensive against Russia in the Kherson province to the west of the Dnipro River, the ministry said, adding that “supply lines of the Russian forces west of the river are increasingly at risk.”

The briefing came less than 24 hours after the U.S. pledged an additional $270 million of military support for Ukraine, including drones, ammunition and rocket systems.

The White House is also considering whether to send U.S.-made fighter jets to the country.

New details emerge about Americans missing in Ukraine

June 20, 202201:56

There have been no significant breakthroughs on the front lines since early July, when Russian forces seized the last two Ukrainian-held cities in the eastern province of Luhansk.

An unknown number of Americans, mostly with military backgrounds, have traveled to Ukraine to join the country’s foreign legion and fight alongside Ukrainian soldiers there.

Veterans from several other countries have also been killed and captured by Russian forces and Moscow-backed separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.

British aid worker Paul Urey, 45, who was accused of being a mercenary, died last week, an official in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said last week. The breakaway entity is recognized only by Russia, Syria and North Korea.

Two Britons and a Moroccan man were sentenced to death last month after they were taken prisoner.

Abigail Williams reported from Washington and Rhoda Kwan from Taipei, Taiwan.

NBC News · by Abigail Williams and Rhoda Kwan · July 23, 2022

7. Former US security officials: We did 'everything possible' to bring Russia into international systems

A fundamental Post Cold War World assumption is that by bringing China and Russia into the fold of the international nation state system and the rules based order and economic engagement it would transform their societies into liberal democracies. We have to acknowledge when our assumptions are flawed and 

Former US security officials: We did 'everything possible' to bring Russia into international systems · by Peter Aitken | Fox News


Thousands flee Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine as Russian shelling continues

Fox News correspondent Lucas Tomlinson has the latest as Russian shelling strikes cities across Eastern Ukraine on 'Special Report.'

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Former security officials insist that the United States made every effort to integrate Russia, rejecting claims that America "tried to humiliate" the former Soviet Union.

"I will go out on a limb here and say that I think everybody from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration, to the Obama administration, to the Trump administration did everything possible to try to integrate Russia into the international system," Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice said Friday at the Aspen Security Forum.

"The idea that somehow we tried to humiliate Russia, we tried to impose the kind of Versailles-like -- it just isn't true."

Former President Bill Clinton in April insisted he couldn’t have done anything to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine and denied his administration went out of its way to "isolate, humiliate or ignore" the Russian leader.


"That’s the biggest load of bull you’ll ever hear," he said.

And Rice reiterated Clinton’s sentiment, even as she acknowledged that America had a duty to pay attention more to the international community, which may have come at the cost of Russian cooperation on the world stage.

Stanford Graduate School of Business Global Center for Business and the Economy director Condoleezza Rice during game vs Wake Forest. Stanford, CA. (John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

"Are you really going to say to the newly democratic Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, ultimately later on Romania, the Baltic states - Oh, sorry, you've gone through this democratic revolution, you've broken away from a Soviet Union … but you're still part of the Soviet empire, so just get used to it?" she asked.

"It turns out that the Poles and the Hungarians and others, they would remind us when we were at NATO that this wasn't actually about NATO's role in Afghanistan for them - they were in NATO because Russia would be revanchist one day," she added, referring Russia’s eventual desire to revive the Soviet Union. "So maybe they understood it better than we did."


Rice drew attention specifically to Putin’s nationalist leanings, which she attributed to his isolation and "modern Rasputins" who would fill the Russian leader’s head with notions of "dynastic, messianic duty" to revive the "Russian nation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has attempted to silence non-state media. (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP) (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool Photo via AP)

At the same forum, former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley stressed that Putin had "changed a lot" throughout his decades in power, and ultimately made it impossible for the U.S. to engage with him and integrate Russia to the international institutions.


"I would say what was the problem was the Color Revolutions, which Putin decided were basically a CIA operation operating through NGOs to topple governments and put in place - we would say democratic, he would say democratic governments that were anti-Russian, and that it was a dress rehearsal for what we were going to do with Russia," he said. "And I think at that point we lost him."

Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news. · by Peter Aitken | Fox News

8. Has Russia Reached Its ‘Culminating Point’ in Ukraine?

More analysis is required for this somewhat hopeful assessment . But if Putin has reached his culminating point what will he do next?

Has Russia Reached Its ‘Culminating Point’ in Ukraine? | Russia Matters

This week’s reports that Russia’s invasion seems to be “entering a more aggressive phase” throw into stark relief one recurring theme in analysis of the Ukraine war: the prediction that Russian forces will soon exhaust their capabilities, reaching what the famous Prussian general and military theorist Carl von Clausewitz described as a Kulminationspunkt, or “culminating point,” of attack. In his book “On War,” Clausewitz defined this as a “point at which the forces remaining are just sufficient to maintain a defensive, and to wait for Peace.”

Below is a compilation of such predictions, beginning in March 2022. Some were made that month, and may have rested on a looser definition of culminating point than Clausewitz’s original, predicting that Russian forces would not be able to sustain their offensive on the many fronts of their initial invasion; indeed, by late March, Russia started moving troops away from Kyiv, marking Moscow’s new strategic focus on eastern Ukraine.

However, the predictions continued even as Russian forces made advances in the east, most recently capturing nearly all of the Luhansk region that remained in Ukrainian hands.1 If nothing else, this timeline reaffirms the truism that making predictions can be an ungrateful business, particularly amid the fog of war.

  • March 14: Former commander of U.S. Army Europe retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges: “The Russians, I think, are about 10 days away from what is called the culminating point, when they just no longer have the ammunition nor the manpower to keep up their assault. I think we keep pouring it on, and the Russians culminate.”
  • March 15: Institute of Statecraft senior fellow Julian Lindley-French and Lt. Gen. Hodges: “The race to the culminating point of Ukraine’s tragedy is on! Possible Chinese support notwithstanding the next 10 days or so will prove critical. The Russian war of conquest in Ukraine is now entering a critical phase, a race to reach the culminating point of Russia’s offensive capacity and Ukraine’s defensive capacity.”
  • March 17: CEPA's Steven Horrell: “There's a lot of thinking—you know, this is a question of 10 days to two weeks more now that Ukraine's held out so far that the Russian logistics, that they're reaching their culminating point, and they're going to no longer be able to maintain their offensive.”
  • March 21: Retired Australian Army Maj. Gen. Mick Ryan: “Military doctrine defines culmination as ‘the point at which continuing the attack is no longer possible and the force must consider reverting to a defensive posture or attempting an operational pause.’ This is what appears to have happened in Ukraine.”
  • March 21: Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, former U.S. Army commanding general, Europe: “[A]ll indicators are that Russia has not kept up with their operations. If they don't keep up logistically, the operation stalls. That's where we've come to. It's called, in the military terms, a culminating point of the offense.”
  • March 22: American Enterprise Institute scholar Frederick Kagan: “Our assessment that the Russian campaign has culminated and that conditions of stalemate are emerging rests on our assessments, laid out carefully in many fully documented reports published on our website (not just maps) and increasingly validated by reports from various Western intelligence communities, that the Russians do not have the capability to bring a lot of fresh effective combat power to the fight in a short period of time.”
  • March 22: British Col. Richard Kemp: “The Russian campaign in Ukraine may have reached its culminating point. In short, Russian forces may no longer be able to achieve their strategic objective by offensive operations. If so, it would mark a turning point.”
  • March 23: Robert Johnson, director of the Changing Character of War Program at Oxford University: “In terms of cost-benefit analyses, Putin’s war is no longer worth the military success that might be achieved. It could prove to be a classic example of operational achievements failing to turn into strategic victory. Putin has failed to grasp that for Ukrainians this is now … an existential war and they will resist. Russia cannot now achieve its strategic ends and risks a culminating point of stalemate.”
  • March 30: Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Michael Ryan: “Most military observers and very senior American army generals believe that the Russian army [has] reached a culminating point. A significant aspect of that is the losses that they've sustained.”
  • Late March: Hudson Institute’s Japan Chair Fellow Masashi Murano: “At first, Russia seemed to think it could bring down Kyiv in a short time through blitzkrieg-like operations or, to use [a] more familiar phrase in Asia, a ‘short, sharp war,’ but it seems to have failed to do so. And the Russian military campaign seems to have reached a stalemate or culminating point.”
  • April 19: British Col. Richard Kemp: “Putin’s goal is to achieve a major victory in the Donbas before Russia’s Victory Day parade on May 9th. Yet even this latest, last-ditch effort may ultimately come to a stalemate, with Russian forces reaching their culminating point of attack before achieving their objectives, as occurred around Kyiv.”
  • May 10: Retired U.S. Army Maj. John Spencer: “You have to look for the ‘culmination points’ when a military force takes so many losses that they will not be able to meet their goals. This is what we saw in Kyiv. … This conflict, in a larger sense, won't end for years. Russia will always contest the borders of Ukraine as a sovereign nation. But this war, the battle for Ukraine, will end within weeks or months. That is my opinion. We will see the Russian military in Ukraine reach its culmination point soon.”
  • May 28: Frederick Kagan, Kateryna Stepanenko and George Barros wrote for The Institute for the Study of War: “When the Battle of Severodonetsk ends, regardless of which side holds the city, the Russian offensive at the operational and strategic levels will likely have culminated, giving Ukraine the chance to restart its operational-level counteroffensives to push Russian forces back.”
  • June 7: U.S. Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, former commanding general of the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in Iraq: “Indeed, there's a term, culminating point, whenever you attack. The Russians have apparently, if they have not run out of smart weapons, they don't have a whole lot left. So, what they're using is artillery stores that date back to the Cold War. And the U.S. sanctions are definitely having an impact as far as modernization of anything that they have. So, they will culminate. They don't have the logistics to support indefinitely, and they're going up against a very determined enemy.”
  • June 9: ISW’s George Barros: “[T]he Russians have made very few gains in the Donetsk Oblast, they've almost exclusively focused on the Luhansk front line, which has led to what's likely going to be a culminating point for the Russians in Severodonetsk.”
  • June 18: Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Newton in reference to the capture of American volunteers fighting for Ukraine by Russian forces: “It really does complicate our position there at a time when the conflict is at a really culminating point… Russia is really starting to hold its ground in the east and Ukraine is trying to figure out how it can take the Donbas area. So it’s just really bad timing.”


  1. While Russia said in early July that it had taken control of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai, its Ukrainian governor, said July 17 that two villages are still under Ukrainian control.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the experts quoted. Photo by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs shared under a Creative Commons license.

9. Half of Americans expect a civil war ‘in the next few years’

​Troubling and sad.


“The motivating premises for this survey were that current conditions in the US create both perceived threats and actual threats to its future as a free and democratic society,” they wrote. “The findings bear out both premises.”

Half of Americans expect a civil war ‘in the next few years’

The Hill · by Jared Gans · July 21, 2022

A study released Wednesday found that about half of all Americans expect a civil war to occur “in the next few years.”

Researchers from the University of California-Davis Violence Prevention Research Program and the California Violence Research Center reported that 50.1 percent of survey respondents said they at least somewhat agree that a civil war will happen soon, while 47.8 percent disagreed.

About 14 percent said they “strongly” or “very strongly” agree that a civil war is imminent, while 36 percent said they somewhat agree.

The results come as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection is set to hold its final hearing of the summer on Thursday. The committee will release its report on what led to the Capitol attack, including possibly recommending any charges against individuals involved, later this year.

The researchers said the study’s results may also signal reasons for concern about the future of American democracy.

Two-thirds of respondents said there is a “serious threat” to the country’s democracy, and almost 90 percent said it is “very” or “extremely” important for the United States to remain a democracy.

But more than 40 percent said having a “strong leader” for the country is more important than having a democracy. Almost 1 in 5 said they agreed “strongly” or “very strongly” with that statement.

Almost 20 percent said they agree strongly or very strongly that violence might be justified to protect democracy if elected leaders will not, while more than 15 percent said they agree strongly or very strongly with using violence to save “our American way of life,” which is “disappearing.”

More than 20 percent said using political violence is at least sometimes justified in general.

A quarter of respondents said violence is at least sometimes justified to stop an election from being stolen.

More than 10 percent said violence would be at least sometimes justified to reinstall former President Trump into office this year.

Trump has consistently insisted that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him despite a lack of evidence and has engaged in efforts to overturn the results of the vote at the state and federal levels.

The researchers wrote that their findings are consistent with many of the polls taken on this topic in the past two years.

Vince McMahon announces retirement amid WWE misconduct probe Man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill Black shoppers at another Tops supermarket in Buffalo

“The motivating premises for this survey were that current conditions in the US create both perceived threats and actual threats to its future as a free and democratic society,” they wrote. “The findings bear out both premises.”

A Yahoo News-YouGov poll from last month found that almost half of all Americans believe the country will “cease to be a democracy” in the future.

The recent study was conducted among 8,620 respondents from May 13 to June 2. The results, the researchers said, are “subject to sampling error and bias” due to nonresponses and other factors. Each result was calculated with a 95 percent confidence interval.

The Hill · by Jared Gans · July 21, 2022

10. Green Berets in Florida are practically begging for a place to drop off their kids before work

More troubling news that will impact readiness and recruiting (If this is happening at Eglin it is likely happening at other installations around the country 

Green Berets in Florida are practically begging for a place to drop off their kids before work

The families of Army Special Forces soldiers at Camp Bull Simons, Florida are at their breaking point after years of not having adequate or affordable child development centers.

BY DAVID ROZA | PUBLISHED JUL 22, 2022 11:09 AM · by David Roza · July 22, 2022

The families of Army Special Forces soldiers at a small camp in the Florida panhandle are at their breaking point after years of not having adequate child care within a reasonable distance of their base, according to Special Forces advocates and lawmakers.

To make things worse, families and advocates say that the commanders of Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, which oversees Camp Bull Simons, will not give the camp permission to build a daycare facility on the compound for what advocates consider to be bogus reasons. The situation has caught the attention of members of Congress who are now pushing the secretaries of the Air Force and the Army to explain themselves at a briefing to be held no later than Dec. 1.

“The stories are heart-wrenching, and the impact this is having on both families and readiness is unacceptable,” wrote Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott in a July 12 letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall. “The lack of urgency and failure to understand the depth of the impact this is having on our operators is growing increasingly frustrating for us and our constituents.”

Like many Special Forces Groups, the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) deployed “nonstop” to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom since 2002, according to an Army press release. In 2011, the group moved from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to Camp Bull Simons, which is located on the Florida panhandle about 20 miles north of Eglin Air Force Base. Though Eglin and Bull Simons are two separate facilities, Eglin oversees its smaller cousin, which includes about 50 structures and employs more than 3,000 service members and civilians, according to the Senate report for the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

Most of those service members live in the city of Crestview, which is about 15 to 20 minutes north of Camp Simons and is the “only affordable off-post housing option” for many enlisted troops, according to a white paper written by the CDC Action Group, which advocates for a childcare center at the installation. There are more than 450 children in that area up to four years old who do not have access to a CDC, or child development center, said retired Col. Stu Bradin, president and CEO of the Global SOF Foundation.

Green Berets from the 7th Special Forces Group salute during the National Anthem at the 7th Special Forces Group’s ribbon cutting ceremony and open house, Oct. 14, 2011. The open house concluded a six-year journey for the group who left Fort Bragg, N.C., as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process. (Samuel King, Jr./U.S. Air Force)

Unfortunately for service members at Camp Bull Simons, there is no child development center. The nearest CDC is at Eglin, about 45 minutes south of Crestview, advocates say. The waitlist for that center is years long, and the few families who make it into the center have a hell of a drive to deal with every day — as much as two hours a day there and back — which often means they have to leave work early and run up a huge gas bill along the way. There are also few private childcare centers in Crestview that qualify for the Army’s subsidized childcare program, the white paper read.

“Families are effectively denied the ability to use a CDC given the distance and length of time it takes to reach those on Eglin’s main base,” retired Special Forces officers wrote to Rubio, Scott, and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz in June. Apparently, this has been a concern since the 7th Special Forces Group moved to Camp Simons roughly a decade ago.

“I clearly remember leadership representatives from [Eglin] highlighting the services offered to our families,” retired Col. Robert Connell, a former deputy commander of the 7th Special Forces Group, wrote in the letter. “Critical amongst these was CDC access – a key concern of many that were considering the move.”

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In 2016, Connell was shocked when he learned that CDC access remained a problem, considering that the Air Force guaranteed CDC support no matter where the soldiers lived, he said in the letter. Though Green Beret families have repeatedly raised the issue to Eglin, the base’s “leadership has responded with repeated promises and inadequate solutions,” Connell said. “One recently consisted of building a third CDC on the main base.”

With no other options, Connell turned to Congress in the hopes that legislation can fix the issue, and he seems to have found a sympathetic audience.

“When we fail to deliver for our service members, lethality declines, quality of life drops, morale plummets, and retention rates fall,” Rubio and Scott wrote. “Further, we have recently learned of the alarming decline in recruitment, which is to be expected when the Department of Defense continues to fail our service members and their families.”

Lt. Col. Mark Hanson and Lt. Col. Joe McGill with the 96th Test Wing practice tactical low-level flight in an F-16 Fighting Falcon over rural Southern Alabama, Jan. 6, 2021. (Master Sgt. Tristan McIntire/U.S. Air Force)

The leaders of Eglin say that there’s a good reason why they refuse to allow a CDC to be built at Camp Simons: There’s a bombing range near the installation where the 96th Test Wing experiments with advanced munitions.

“The 96th Test Wing commander has been in consultation with 7th SFG leadership over several years,” Andy Bourland, director of public affairs for the 96th Test Wing, told Task & Purpose. “There are several options that have been and are currently being considered. However, we do not believe that putting a CDC on an active bombing range at Eglin Air Force Base is an acceptable risk that commanders are willing to accept.”

Indeed, there is a bombing range near Camp Simons, but one of the retired Special Forces officers, Col. Stu Bradin, said the range is rarely used. He also pointed out that Camp Simons already has a barracks, a chapel and a shopette where soldiers regularly gather with their families. He and other advocates argue that Eglin’s claims of safety concerns due to the bombing range have no meat to them, and members of Congress seem to share those concerns. The Senate Armed Service Committee’s report on the 2023 NDAA directs the secretaries of the Army and the Air Force “to provide a briefing not later than December 1, 2022” on the process for requesting and approving military construction; a review “of what constitutes public safety in relation to training range space” at Camp Simons; copies of whatever paperwork allows the Air Force to build barracks at the camp despite it being near an active bombing range; a description of the risks to children and a review of how the services are working towards a solution.

“While the committee shares the public safety concern, no evidence has been provided to the committee showing that such a concern exists and how the Air Force applies said concern equally to all public activities surrounding the range,” senators wrote in their report. Bradin was even more direct in his assessment.

“It is complete bullshit about not allowing anything in the ‘range’ area,” he said. “The Air Force has no risk mitigation and that is why Congress wants to hear their briefing.”

The Army seemed to take a similar stance in a January briefing Bradin provided to Task & Purpose.

“There are no hazard areas overlapping Camp Bull Simons,” wrote an Air Force employee summarizing the Army’s position in the briefing. “In over 10 years, CBS has never had to evacuate.”

Members of the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conduct casualty evacuation training on Camp Bull Simons, Fla., Feb. 25, 2021. (Spc. Aaron Schaeper/U.S. Army)

The Air Force has proposed solutions to the lack of a CDC at Camp Simons, including a “Wellplex” campus in Crestview which the Air Force said in a January briefing will include a “KinderCare Education Center” for 250 children and which they believe could be opened by spring, 2023. Another solution is to partner with nearby private child care facilities.

“We believe that the civilian options being considered nearby are acceptable and can easily accommodate the number of children that would require the services of a CDC to support the 7th Special Forces Group,” Bourland, the spokesperson for the 96th Test Wing, told Task & Purpose.

But advocates and lawmakers have raised concerns about whether those options are viable.

“While we are grateful for the temporary solution of partnering with two private childcare facilities in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties, one of these facilities will not be operational for some time,” read their letter to service secretaries. “The other is nearly an hour drive, each way, from the 7th SFG compound.” Neither facility can meet the community’s demand, they wrote.

It’s a tough spot for families at Camp Simons, as evidenced by the more than 500 service members and family members who showed up to a video teleconference held by the CDC Action Group earlier this year.

“I have met with and heard hundreds of stories about these younger enlisted having to make financial and career decisions due to a lack of a CDC,” Bradin said in the June letter to Rubio, Scott and Gaetz.

One woman who knows the frustration felt by people stationed at Camp Simons best is Molly Tobin, a family advocate for the 7th SFG. As the leader of the soldier/family readiness group for the unit’s 3rd Battalion and as a Special Forces spouse, Tobin has helped care for families for the past five years, and she said one of the most “dreaded” concerns families face when assigned to the unit is childcare.

“As a critical resource for the families, childcare is a subject that is met with frustration and sadness as we are unable to confirm that it will be provided for these families who sacrifice so much with a career consisting of a high [operational tempo] and long hours,” she said in the letter to Rubio, Scott and Gaetz. “Securing childcare for our [special operations forces] families is a responsibility that cannot be ignored or delayed any further as it is directly tied to the mental and emotional health of our service members.”

The latest on Task & Purpose

Want to write for Task & Purpose? Click here. Or check out the latest stories on our homepage. · by David Roza · July 22, 2022

11. Welcome Col. Allison Black: 1st SOW change of command ceremony

Welcome Col. Allison Black: 1st SOW change of command ceremony

Photo By Staff Sgt. Miranda Mahoney | U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command,...... read more

Photo By Staff Sgt. Miranda Mahoney | U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, passes the 1st Special Operations Wing guidon to U.S. Air Force Col. Allison Black during the 1st SOW change of command ceremony at Hurlburt Field, Florida, July 21, 2022. As the 1st SOW commander, Black will be responsible for preparing Air Force special operations forces for missions worldwide in support of U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and allied special forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miranda Mahoney) | View Image Page



1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

When U.S. Air Force Col. Allison Black arrived for her first assignment at Hurlburt Field in 2000, becoming the base commander wasn’t on her radar.

Twenty-two years and several notable assignments later, Black officially assumed command of the 1st Special Operations Wing during a ceremony held in the Freedom Hangar at Hurlburt Field, Florida, July 21, 2022.

“I arrived here with the lofty goal of becoming an AC-130H Spectre Navigator,” Black said. “Never did I imagine that I would one day earn [this] privilege.”

The change of command ceremony saw Col. Jocelyn Schermerhorn pass the guidon after serving at the helm of the 1st SOW since June 2020. Lt. Gen. James Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, presided over the ceremony.

“There’s not an officer on the planet who has been built to command the 1st SOW more fully than Col. Allison Black,” Slife said.

“Her assignment as the vice commander of the 24th Special Operations Wing with our Special Tactics Airmen, and leading joint special operations forces as the Joint Task Force Indo-Pacific commander prepared her to lead this wing into the future.”

With 30 years of service, Black began her career as an enlisted Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist. In 1998, she completed Officer Training School and continued on to earn her wings through Joint Specialized Undergraduate Navigator Training in January 2000.

A Master Navigator, Black has more than 3,400 flight hours in the AC-130H Spectre Gunship and the U-28A Draco.

“Deploying extensively in the years after 9/11, first in the Gunship and later in the U-28, Allison accumulated 3,500 hours of flight time with an astounding 2,000 of them in combat,” Slife noted. “In my generation, I was a pretty credible combat pilot. I have 283 hours of combat time. Allison has over 2,000 hours of combat flying time.”

Prior to assuming command of the 1st SOW, Black served as vice commander of the 24 SOW at Hurlburt Field.

During the ceremony, Black noted that experiences both stateside and downrange, including positions with SERE, Special Tactics, and on staff with AFSOC, Air Staff and U.S. Special Operations Command prepared her for the challenges she will face in her new role.

“Each day I will work hard, leave it all out on the field and wake up to do it all over again,” Black said. “I’m not perfect, but I will show up and strive to be the leader you all deserve to be led by.”

With its motto of “Any Time, Any Place,” the 1st SOW’s mission is to provide airpower to conduct special operations missions worldwide. Operations under the wing involve air support, precision aerospace firepower, specialized aerospace mobility, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations and agile combat support, among others.

The 1st SOW is one of five active-duty special operations wings under AFSOC, and includes four groups and 26 squadrons.

“The weight of this role is not lost on me and I stand before you knowing we are going to have some incredible days with unforgettable missions,” Black said.

Along with serving as the wing commander, Black is also responsible for overseeing more than 40 tenant units at Hurlburt Field.

“I know we will have some moments that may shake us to our core, but I’m confident that this team – together – we are the required firepower to penetrate the hardest of targets,” Black said.


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12. Rights Abuser China Emerging as Dubious Linchpin of Biden's Lithium-Battery Supply Chain

Rights Abuser China Emerging as Dubious Linchpin of Biden's Lithium-Battery Supply Chain

By Steve Miller, RealClearInvestigations

July 20, 2022

A Chinese-dominated mining company has procured millions of dollars in American subsidies to extract lithium in the United States – but, given a dearth of U.S. processing capacity, the mineral is likely to be sent to China with no guarantee that the end product would return as batteries to power President Biden's envisioned green economy.

Critics say the scenario would increase U.S. energy dependence on a hostile power – one accused of using forced labor in the manufacture of both lithium batteries and solar panels – and undercuts the Biden administration's emphasis on domestic sourcing of green energy.

"We need the finished product here," said Glenn Miller, a retired professor of environmental science at the University of Nevada, Reno, who has spent decades in mining chemistry. “I would hope there is an advantage to taking that lithium and shipping it 200 miles south to process it [rather] than shipping it around the world. We should all be troubled by China’s control of [minerals]. Why can’t we do this?”

President Biden's recent fist-bumping visit to Saudi Arabia dismayed human rights and renewable energy advocates. Another concern: Human rights abuser China's role in lithium batteries.


While the United States has ample supplies of lithium, it currently falls short on the capacity to process it into a usable form, meaning that the $7 billion in taxpayer money invested in the nation’s battery supply chain will have to include a foreign component. That is almost certain to include China, which produces 79% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries

Lithium has taken the spotlight in Biden’s energy plan, since it is a key element needed to produce batteries for electric vehicles and solar panel storage. The administration acknowledges the lithium processing challenge – tacitly – in a June 2021 report produced by the U.S. Department of Energy. “The nation would benefit greatly from development and growth of cost-competitive domestic materials processing for lithium-battery materials,” the report reads.

Department of Energy spokesman David Mayorga did not respond to a list of questions on domestic lithium.

The White House in March issued an order invoking the Defense Production Act, a 1950’s-era law meant to prioritize production of materials in the name of national security. The action allows the federal government to direct taxpayer funds to private companies to extract more lithium in the U.S. – including foreign-based interests.

Prominent in the initiative is Canadian-based Lithium Americas, a publicly traded group whose largest shareholder is Chinese-owned lithium mining giant Ganfeng Lithium, which is currently under investigation in China for alleged insider trading.

The mining company says it could produce a quarter of the world’s demand.

Lithium Americas

Lithium Americas is seeking to mine lithium from Thacker Pass, an 18,000-acre wilderness area on the Nevada-Oregon border. If the mining is approved, Thacker Pass would join a mine at Silver Peak outside of Tonopah, Nevada, as one of the only active lithium mines in the U.S. The company projects it will yield 80,000 tons of lithium a year, which would make it one of the largest lithium mines in the world, producing a quarter of the world’s demand.

Lithium Americas’ local company, Lithium Nevada, has been approved to receive Nevada tax abatements worth $8.5 million. And the parent company has applied for a loan through the Department of Energy.

But there is no promise from recipients of tax breaks and grants that the end product will benefit the U.S. In a statement to RCI, Lithium Americas’ CEO Jonathan Evans downplayed the company’s China connection and skirted the question of whether the mined lithium will go to U.S. partners for processing.

“While Lithium Americas is partnered with Ganfeng Lithium at Cauchari Olaroz in Argentina, [Lithium Americas] owns 100% of Thacker Pass and has 100% of the offtake uncommitted,” Evans said in the statement. “We remain devoted to producing a domestic supply of essential lithium from our Thacker Pass project focused on selling to U.S. focused customers to strengthen the domestic battery supply chain.”

Daniel Simmons, former Energy Department official: "If there aren't enough facilities here in the United States, the Chinese will likely process it and turn it into batteries."

Daniel Simmons, a former assistant secretary who focused on renewables at the Energy Department during the Trump administration, said: "Every mining company that I have talked to wants to see the lithium they produce processed and turned into batteries in the United States. But if there aren't enough facilities here in the United States, the Chinese will likely process it and turn it into batteries." 

The U.S.’ share of worldwide production has dropped from 27% in 1996 to 1% in 2020 while other countries have increased their mining of lithium since the mid-1990s, when the mineral was used primarily for construction materials, glass, and strengthening aluminum and magnesium.

The growth in worldwide lithium production coincides with the increase in production of electric vehicles. In 2015, less than 30% of lithium demand was for batteries, according to a report from McKinsey & Company, a consultancy. By 2030, McKinsey projects, 95% of produced lithium will be for batteries.

The U.S. last year produced 2,500 tons of lithium – a far cry from the 80,000 tons anticipated at Thacker Pass – and it exported 1,900 of those tons.

The destination of lithium exported last year by the U.S. has not yet been compiled and 2020’s numbers are skewed by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019 – predating the Biden renewable goals – Germany and Japan were the largest recipients of U.S.-mined lithium. Little U.S. lithium went to China in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

China-bound? All of it is unlikely to be processed domestically, experts say.

Lithium Americas

Despite the high strategic priority placed on lithium by the Biden administration, Beijing’s continued push for mineral dominance in the world means that “China will continue to dominate lithium chemical production for the foreseeable future,” according to a projection from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, a London-based price-reporting agency.

Reliance on Chinese processing of lithium would again put the Biden administration in the politically uncomfortable position of overlooking humanitarian abuses and trade violations by China.

Worker at a lithium battery factory in China, 2015. Business has only gotten better.


Forced labor has been found in so-called green industries in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, a region home to solar panel manufacturing and some of the country’s major lithium processing plants.

Last week, seven Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking why three large Chinese solar firms were left off a list of companies whose products are banned over violations of forced labor rules. Under the Uighur Forced Labor Prevention Act that took effect on June 21, all goods manufactured in Xinjiang are presumed to have been made with forced labor and should be blocked from entry into the United States. 

In another recent instance irritating environmental and human rights advocates who are usually in Biden's camp, the President last week fist-bumped Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tied to the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while on a visit to coax greater oil production from the kingdom and stem soaring U.S. gas prices at the pump. At home, the climate change-focused administration has imposed or proposed policies intended to hinder fossil fuel producers.

U.S. reliance on foreign interests for usable lithium, as well as for solar panels, echoes the situation in Europe, where several countries looked to Russian energy sources over the years before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That led Germany and Italy to recently announce plans to revamp coal use to supply their energy needs.

There are other ramifications to Biden’s willingness to cut against the traditional Democratic Party grain in energy policy. Mining and solar plant development are disrupting federal lands claimed by Native American tribes as culturally significant. And the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the Oregon-based Burns Paiute Tribe have sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to halt the Thacker Pass project. They claim the area is a religious and cultural outpost. Lithium Americas had been in talks with the land bureau to build a mine on the land since at least 2017, according to a RealClearInvestigations review of court filings.  

Native American communities lean to Democrats and in 2020 gave Biden an estimated 60% percent of their vote, but that support is now counterbalanced by the National Mining Association, a longtime coal-mining advocacy group, which has backed off its favoritism of Republican candidates.

The mining association’s political action committee has for the past decade donated to Republican candidates at a 9-1 pace over Democrats, but this year the ratio dropped to 3-1 as mining companies have warmed to the administration's move away from coal and into lithium. 

Rich Nolan, president of the mining association, did not respond to an interview request. 

Gary McKinney, a spokesman for the People of Red Mountain, a Native American group challenging the Thacker Pass mine, sees a familiar ulterior motive at play. “You can’t fix the climate crisis through dirty mining," he said. "This is all about money, not the environment.”


Friday, July 22, 2022, 1:45 p.m.

An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the federal funding Lithium Americas is seeking through the Department of Energy. It is a loan, not a grant.

This and all other original articles created by RealClearInvestigations may be republished for free with attribution. (These terms do not apply to outside articles linked on the site.)

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13. Russian missiles hit Ukraine port; Kyiv says it is still preparing grain exports

Russian missiles hit Ukraine port; Kyiv says it is still preparing grain exports

Reuters · by Natalia Zinets

  • Summary
  • Two missiles hit area of grain pumping station, Ukraine says
  • Ukraine continues to prepare for grain exports, minister says
  • Moscow, Kyiv had signed grain export deal on Friday
  • Agreement had sought to avert major food crisis

KYIV, July 23 (Reuters) - Russian missiles hit Ukraine's southern port of Odesa on Saturday, the Ukrainian military said, threatening a deal signed just a day earlier to unblock grain exports from Black Sea ports and ease global food shortages caused by the war.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the strike blatant "barbarism" showing Moscow could not be trusted to implement the deal. However, public broadcaster Suspilne quoted the Ukrainian military as saying the missiles had not caused significant damage and a government minister said preparations continued to restart grain exports from Black Sea ports.

The deal signed on Friday by Moscow and Kyiv and mediated by the United Nations and Turkey was hailed as a breakthrough after nearly five months of punishing fighting since Russia invaded its neighbour. It is seen as crucial to curbing soaring global food prices by allowing grain exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports including Odesa.

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The strikes on Odesa drew strong condemnation from the United Nations, the European Union, the United States, Britain, Germany and Italy. On Friday, U.N. officials said they hoped the agreement would be operational in a few weeks. read more

Turkey's defence minister said Russian officials told Ankara that Moscow had "nothing to do" with the strikes on Odesa. Neither Russian defence ministry statements nor the military's evening summary mentioned any missile strike in Odesa. The ministry did not reply to a Reuters request for comment.

Two Russian Kalibr missiles hit the area of a pumping station at the port, while two others were shot down by air defence forces, according to Ukraine's military. Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ignat said the missiles were fired from warships in the Black Sea near Crimea.

Suspilne quoted Ukraine's southern military command as saying the port's grain storage area was not hit.

"Unfortunately there are wounded. The port's infrastructure was damaged," said Odesa region governor Maksym Marchenko.

But Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook that "we continue technical preparations for the launch of exports of agricultural products from our ports".


The strike appeared to violate the terms of Friday's deal, which would allow safe passage in and out of Ukrainian ports.

"If anyone in the world could have said before this that some kind of dialogue with Russia, some kind of agreements, would be necessary, look at what is happening," Zelenskiy said in a late-night video.

He vowed to do everything possible to acquire air defense systems able to shoot down missiles like those that hit Odesa.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that "this attack casts serious doubt on the credibility of Russia’s commitment to yesterday’s deal."

"Russia bears responsibility for deepening the global food crisis and must stop its aggression," he added.


Firefighters work at a site of a Russian missile strike in a sea port of Odesa, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine July 23, 2022. Press service of the Joint Forces of the South Defence/Handout via REUTERS

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "unequivocally condemned" the strikes, a spokesperson said, adding that full implementation of the deal was imperative.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusai Akar said in a statement: "The Russians told us that they had absolutely nothing to do with this attack ... The fact that such an incident took place right after the agreement we made yesterday really worried us."

Ukraine has mined waters near its ports as part of its war defences, but under the deal pilots will guide ships along safe channels. read more

A Joint Coordination Center (JCC) staffed by members of all four parties to the agreement will then monitor ships transitting the Black Sea to Turkey's Bosphorus Strait and off to world markets. All sides agreed on Friday there would be no attacks on these entities.


Ukraine foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook that "the Russian missile is (Russian President) Vladimir Putin's spit in the face" of Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Moscow has denied responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions for slowing its food and fertiliser exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its ports.

A blockade of Ukrainian ports by Russia's Black Sea fleet since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion has trapped tens of millions of tonnes of grain and stranded many ships.

This has worsened global supply chain bottlenecks. Along with Western sanctions on Russia, it has stoked food and energy price inflation. Russia and Ukraine are major global wheat suppliers and a global food crisis has pushed some 47 million people into "acute hunger," according to the World Food Programme.

The deal would restore grain shipments from the three reopened ports to pre-war levels of 5 million tonnes a month, U.N. officials said. read more

Zelenskiy said it would make around $10 billion worth of grain available for sale with roughly 20 million tonnes of last year's harvest to be exported.

Also on Saturday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that two Americans were killed recently in Ukraine's Donbas region but declined to provide details.

Three people were killed when 13 Russian missiles hit a military airfield and railway infrastructure in Ukraine's central region of Kirovohrad, the regional governor said.

Ukraine struck a bridge in the occupied Black Sea region of Kherson, targeting a Russian supply route, a Ukrainian official said. The deputy head of the Russian-installed regional authority said the bridge had been hit but was still operating, Russia's TASS news agency said. read more

Zelenskiy said late on Saturday that Ukrainian forces were moving "step by step" into the eastern Kherson region, which was taken over by Russia at the start of the war.

Putin calls the war a "special military operation" and has said it is aimed at demilitarising Ukraine and rooting out dangerous nationalists. Kyiv and the West call this a baseless pretext for an aggressive land grab.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kyiv, Tom Balmforth in London and Reuters bureaux; Writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Frances Kerry, Louise Heavens, Grant McCool and David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters · by Natalia Zinets

14. Putin's Disaster: Ukraine Is Now on the Offensive Trying to Retake a Key City

Putin's Disaster: Ukraine Is Now on the Offensive Trying to Retake a Key City · by ByStavros Atlamazoglou · July 23, 2022

On day 149 of the Russian invasion of Ukrainethe Russian military is still looking for a breakthrough in the Donbas as the Ukrainian forces are getting ready to retake a major city.

The Tables Are Turning in the South

In its daily estimate of the war, the British Ministry of Defense focused on the situation in the south, where the Ukrainian military is preparing for a push toward Kherson.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southern axis of advance began a few days after the Russian forces launched their renewed offensive in the Donbas in early May. Since then, the Ukrainians have slowly but steadily gained ground in the direction of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Now, it seems, the Ukrainians are poised to pounce.

“In the last 48 hours, heavy fighting has been taking place as Ukrainian forces have continued their offensive against Russian forces in Kherson Oblast, west of the River Dnipro,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

“Russia is likely attempting to slow the Ukrainian attack using artillery fire along the natural barrier of the Ingulets River, a tributary of the Dnipro. Simultaneously, the supply lines of the Russian force west of the Dnipro are increasingly at risk,” the British Ministry of Defense added.

Over the past few weeks, Ukrainians have been expertly using the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and other Multiple Launcher Rocket Systems (MLRS) they have received from the U.S. and NATO (about 25 such weapon systems have been delivered or will be delivered to Ukraine) to strike at Russian ammunition depots, logistical targets, and command and control hubs.

More recently, the Ukrainians have been using the HIMARS to target the Antonivsky Bridge, the only road that links Kherson with the rest of Russian-occupied Ukraine in the east. Should the Ukrainians destroy the bridge, the Russian forces in Kherson would be trapped.

“Additional Ukrainian strikes have caused further damage to the key Antonivsky Bridge, though Russia has conducted temporary repairs. As of 22 July 2022, it was almost certainly open to some traffic. It has not been possible to verify claims by Ukrainian officials that Russia is preparing to construct an alternative, military pontoon bridge across the Dnipro,” the British Ministry of Defense stated.

“The Russian army prioritises maintaining its military bridging capability, but any attempt to construct a crossing of the Dnipro would be a very high risk operation. If the Dnipro crossings were denied, and Russian forces in occupied Kherson cut off, it would be a significant military and political setback for Russia,” the British Military Intelligence assessed.

Russian Casualties

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense claimed that as of Saturday, Ukrainian forces have killed approximately 39,240 Russian troops (and wounded approximately thrice that number), destroyed 221 fighter, attack, and transport jets, 188 attack and transport helicopters, 1,708 tanks, 864 artillery pieces, 3,929 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 253 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 15 boats and cutters, 2,820 vehicles and fuel tanks, 113 anti-aircraft batteries, 714 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 72 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 167 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP. · by ByStavros Atlamazoglou · July 23, 2022

​15. Russia Ukraine War: HIMARS Missiles Destroy Russian Targets - US & Allies Prepare for Long War

Video at the link:

Russia Ukraine War: HIMARS Missiles Destroy Russian Targets - US & Allies Prepare for Long War

Ministers from within a group of 50 countries expressed a collective resolve to continue support to Ukraine in the form of weapons, technology and ammunition. · by Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven

Video Above: Pentagon Sends Critical MLRS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems to Ukraine

By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

NATO and the US are revving up for a long-term war in Ukraine as ministers from within a group of 50 countries expressed a collective resolve to continue support to Ukraine in the form of weapons, technology and ammunition. Following the fourth “Ukraine Defense Contact Group” meeting held virtually, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was clear that international consensus regarding support to Ukraine remained as strong as ever, as the war continues to evolve into a high-casualty, protracted fight.

Austin explained that this means that the US and its allies will not only fast-track urgently needed weapons in the short term but will also focus upon sustainment and necessary long-term planning to maintain the effort.

“We're not working just to provide security assistance in the short term. One key theme of today's discussion was ensuring that Ukraine can sustain the fight to defend itself and its citizens. So we're even more focused on Ukraine's near-term needs -- as we're even more focused on Ukraine's near-term needs, “We're also looking ahead to provide Ukraine with the capabilities that it will need for deterrence and self-defense over the longer term,” Austin said.

FILE - A Donetsk People's Republic militia's multiple rocket launcher fires from its position not far from Panteleimonivka, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, May 28, 2022. Day after day, Russia is pounding the Donbas region of Ukraine with relentless artillery and air raids, making slow but steady progress to seize the industrial heartland of its neighbor. With the conflict now in its fourth month, it’s a high-stakes campaign that could dictate the course of the entire war.

AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov, file

Following the deliberate Russian shift to the Eastern Donbas region in April, fighting has been both intense and protracted, with advances measured in “literally hundreds of meters.” Describing the ongoing fighting as a “high cost war or attrition” and “artillery fight,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley described small Russian gains as very costly and moving very slow

“So for 90 days, the Russian advances have amounted to maybe six to 10 miles, something of that range. It's not very much. It's very intense, a lot of violence, tens of thousands of artillery rounds every 24-hour period, lots of casualties on both sides, lots of destruction of -- of villages and -- and -- and so on. But in terms of actual ground gain, very, very little by the Russians, relative to all of Ukraine,” Milley said. “The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every inch of territory that they gain.”

In addition to slow moving direct or head-on progress in urban and rural areas of Eastern Ukraine, Russian forces are also vulnerable behind their own battle lines due to advanced Ukrainian tactics, countermeasures and ambushes.

“Russians are challenged not only to their front, with the Ukrainian conventional forces, but they're also challenged in their rear areas. Their rear areas are not secure, for sure, and the Ukrainians have very effective resistance networks set up,” Milley said.

This may mean hit-and-run types of dispersed ambush tactics like those they have used with great effectiveness before, Ukrainian special operations raids and reconnaissance missions or successful long-range rocket strikes. Given the importance of logistics when it comes to sustaining any kind of advance, Ukrainians would likely benefit greatly if Russian supply lines were vulnerable or subject to regular attack.

US and NATO-supplied missiles are also having a massive impact when it comes to added ability for the Ukrainians to degrade Russian advances.

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High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems - HIMARS

While they undoubtedly arrived later than some Ukrainians may have hoped for, US and NATO-provided High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems are inflicting substantial damage upon Russian targets in the ongoing war in Ukraine, as the weapons open up new tactical possibilities.

“The Ukrainians are effectively employing these HIMARS, with strikes against Russian command and control nodes, their logistical networks, their field artillery near defense sites and many other targets,” Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters following the fourth multinational meeting of the “Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 65th Field Artillery Brigade, and soldiers from the Kuwait Land Forces fire their High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (U.S.) and BM-30 Smerch rocket systems (Kuwait) during a joint live-fire exercise, Jan. 8, 2019, near Camp Buehring, Kuwait. The U.S. and Kuwaiti forces train together frequently to maintain a high level of combat readiness and to maintain effective communication between the two forces.

U.S. Army photo by Sgt. James Lefty Larimer

Longer range ground fired rockets, such as HIMARS, have been desperately needed because they have the range to target Russian supply lines, troop installation and, perhaps of greatest importance, mobile Russian rocket and missile launchers. Since there is no air superiority, and conventional artillery can typically only travel 30km, longer-range rockets such as HIMARS perhaps offer the only possible way to stop indiscriminate Russian rocket and missile attacks on civilian areas. With an ability to travel as far as 80km, or much more in some cases, HIMARS can target and destroy otherwise out of reach targets.

“These strikes are steadily degrading the Russian ability to supply their troops, command and control of their forces, and carry out their illegal war of aggression,” Milley added.

So far, roughly 12 of the more than 20 HIMARS systems committed to Ukraine by the US and its allies have arrived, and Ukrainians are responding quickly to allied provided training on the systems. .


U.S. Army photo

“The fact that the Ukrainians were able to quickly deploy these systems speaks highly of their ability, their ingenuity, their artillery ability, their gunner capability, their determination, and their will to fight,” Milley said.

Of equal or greater significance, Milley said the US and its allies have transferred hundreds of GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) to Ukraine. These weapons, in use since roughly 2007, are land-fired, GPS-guided precision rockets able to pinpoint and destroy specific targets at ranges out to 80km.

This not only enables range but also brings precision into the equation, something which could help target and destroy Russian supply lines, ammunition depots, equipment storages or even forces themselves. A stand-off range of this kind is critical for the Ukrainians to be able to blunt, stop or just slow down Russian advances on the ground or long-range missile and rocket attacks. An ability to attack with precision at 80km enables Ukrainian forces to attack from beyond striking range of most standard Russian artillery, something of particular relevance in a conflict of fires such as this one.

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven - the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President - Center for Military Modernization · by Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven

De Oppresso Liber,

David Maxwell

Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Senior Fellow, Global Peace Foundation

Senior Advisor, Center for Asia Pacific Strategy

Editor, Small Wars Journal

Twitter: @davidmaxwell161


Phone: 202-573-8647


David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email:
Web Site:
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
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FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

If you do not read anything else in the 2017 National Security Strategy read this on page 14:

"A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation."

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