17 December 2020 Military News
- Top US General Presses Taliban, Afghan Leaders to Reduce Violence VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- The top U.S. military commander met this week with leaders of the Afghan Taliban insurgency and Afghanistan's government to urge a reduction in violence across the war-torn South Asian country.
- Taliban delegation visiting Pakistan for talks with top officials Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Members of Taliban's Qatar-based political bureau have met with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to discuss recent developments in Afghanistan's ongoing peace process.
- Dushanbe Reinforces Border After Tajik Militants Appear In Video Fighting In Afghanistan RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- Tajikistan has deployed additional troops along its southern border with Afghanistan after Afghan authorities claimed a group of militants from Tajikistan played a major role in the Taliban's capture of an Afghan district last month.
- Pentagon Can Not Track Lost Weapons, Billions in Aid to Afghanistan - SIGAR Report Sputnik 17 Dec 2020 -- The US Defense Department has lost track of billions of dollars worth of military equipment supplied to the Afghan armed forces, has no effective mechanism for getting it back and expects the losses to continue, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report.
- Top U.S. Commander Meets Taliban, Afghan Officials To Prod On Peace Efforts RFE/RL Gandhara 17 Dec 2020 -- The United States' top general met earlier this week with Taliban officials in Qatar before heading to Afghanistan for senior meetings in an effort to kick-start stalled Afghan peace talks and reduce violence as efforts continue to end a nearly 20-year-long conflict, AP reported on December 17.
- Preparing for a sustainable and inclusive peace in Afghanistan UK FCDO 17 Dec 2020 -- Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Afghanistan
- Afghanistan: Dedicated support required for 'bigger year' ahead UN News 17 Dec 2020 -- Although Afghanistan is coming to the end of a monumental year, authorities will still require international support as they assume greater responsibility for national security while battling COVID-19 and other challenges, UN Special Representative Deborah Lyons told a virtual meeting of the Security Council on Thursday.
Defense Policy / Programs
- Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Release Maritime Strategy USMC News 17 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard released a new tri-Service maritime strategy December 17, entitled Advantage at Sea.
- New US Maritime Strategy Targets Russia, China Moves to Control Sea Lanes Sputnik 17 Dec 2020 -- The United States plans to target "aggressive moves" by China and Russia to dominate key international waterways in a maritime strategy jointly announced by the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard in a report on Thursday.
- USS John S. McCain Joins French, Japanese Navies for Multinational Exercise US Navy 17 Dec 2020 -- Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) joined the French Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) for integrated exercises in the Philippine Sea throughout the week.
- French Submarine Deployment to Western Pacific Presents Rare Training Opportunity for Guam-Based Boat US Navy 17 Dec 2020 -- The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Asheville (SSN 758) had the rare opportunity to train with French crew this month, conducting a series of at-sea submarine exercises with the Rubis-class nuclear powered submarine (SSN) FS Émeraude.
- 5 U.S. soldiers, 2 civilians in S.Korea test positive for COVID-19 People's Daily 17 Dec 2020 -- Five more U.S. soldiers and two individuals in South Korea tested positive for COVID-19, the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) said Thursday.
- DOD, DHS Collaborating on Innovative Cybersecurity Solutions DoD News 17 Dec 2020 -- Last month, the Defense Department, Defense Innovation Unit and the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a range of cybersecurity initiatives.
- National Guard Supports Vaccination Efforts for Michigan DoD News 17 Dec 2020 -- The Michigan National Guard received a request from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to support community health care organizations with logistical and medical assets for COVID-19 vaccinations across the state. Guard leadership has analyzed its medical assets and logistical requirements and plans to augment health care providers across the state, where requested, in the administration of the vaccine.
- DOD Logistics Leader Ready to Ship Vaccine to Overseas Locations, Navy Fleet DoD News 17 Dec 2020 -- With the first COVID-19 vaccine already in the arms of some health care workers, the Defense Logistics Agency is ready to ship doses for Defense Department employees outside the continental U.S. and the deployed U.S. Navy Fleet.
- Hurricane Hunters hunt first winter storm of the season US Air Force 17 Dec 2020 -- Hurricane season might be over, but that does not mean the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron "Hurricane Hunters" are through providing pertinent weather reconnaissance services to those potentially impacted by severe weather.
- Travis AFB launches small unarmed aircraft initiative, first on Air Force installation US Air Force 17 Dec 2020 -- The 60th Security Forces Squadron, in collaboration with Easy Aerial, a leading provider of autonomous drone-based monitoring solutions, launched the first automated drone-based perimeter security system for the Air Force, Dec. 11.
- Navy-Marine Corps Intelligence Partnership Supports Triton Unmanned Maritime Patrol, Reconnaissance Efforts US Navy 17 Dec 2020 -- The Nimitz Operational Intelligence Center at the Office of Naval Intelligence has partnered with the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity to bolster maritime patrol and reconnaissance.
- AFRICOM commander visits key Africa nations to strengthen partnerships, security AFRICOM 17 Dec 2020 -- U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander, U.S. Africa Command, completed a four-day trip to Kenya and Djibouti to conduct strategic engagements with partner nation leadership, assess operations and security of U.S. force locations, and demonstrate continued commitment to working with African partners.
- First Team's Ironhorse Brigade hits ground running supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve Army News 17 Dec 2020 -- It's only been a little more than a month since the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division cased their colors here and headed to Europe in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, but the troopers of the Ironhorse Brigade have hit the ground running, bringing with them their 'Always Attack' attitude.
- Defense Officials Discuss Special Operations, Irregular Warfare Initiatives DoD News 17 Dec 2020 -- This year, the Defense Department released a declassified summary of its Irregular Warfare Annex to the 2018 National Defense Strategy. The annex details how the department seeks to institutionalize and operationalize this form of warfare amid the ongoing recalibration of its focus on peer and near-peer adversaries.
- Chief of Space Operations Emphasizes the Importance of Partnerships DoD News 17 Dec 2020 -- Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. "Jay" Raymond spoke today at TechCrunch's Space 2020 virtual event.
- NATO agrees 2021 civil and military budgets NATO 17 Dec 2020 -- NATO Allies have agreed the civil and military budgets for 2021. At a meeting of the North Atlantic Council on Wednesday (16 December 2020), Allies agreed a civil budget of €258.9 million and a military budget of €1.61 billion for 2021.
- Putin: US went in for new arms race, forced Russia to develop weapons Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says it was the United States that started a new arms race, forcing Russia to develop hypersonic weapons in response.
- UK Space Directorate Expresses Concern About Alleged Anti-Satellite Missile Test by Russia Sputnik 17 Dec 2020 -- The head of the UK Space Directorate, Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth, on Thursday accused Russia of conducting a new space test of anti-satellite weapons and expressed concern in this regard, following a similar statement by the US Air Force Space Command.
- US cooks up mistrust on China by accusing China of 'missing maritime security meeting' Global Times 17 Dec 2020 -- The US should rethink the reason why China didn't appear at a meeting based on the China-US Military Maritime Consultative Agreement (MMCA) rather than rudely accuse China of not honoring agreements, said Chinese military and diplomatic experts, after the US commander of the Indo-Pacific Command criticized China for missing the meeting on Wednesday.
- PLA Nansha Garrison adopts new-type camouflage combat uniforms PLA Daily 17 Dec 2020 -- The PLA Navy's Nansha Garrison has recently begun to try on the new-type camouflage combat uniforms specially designed for the troops in the tropical areas, which is another major improvement on the combat equipment of troops stationed on the Nansha Islands following the provision of new combat boots.
- Big boost to Make in India: Defence Acquisition Council headed by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh approves proposals to procure equipment worth Rs 27,000 cr from domestic industry India PIB 17 Dec 2020 -- The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) in its meeting, today held under the Chairmanship of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh approved Capital Acquisition proposals of various Weapons/Platforms/Equipment/Systems required by the Indian Army, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force at an approximate overall cost of Rs. 28,000 Cr.
- 35TH EDITION OF INDIA - INDONESIA COORDINATED PATROL India PIB 17 Dec 2020 -- The 35th edition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Indonesian Navy is being conducted from 17 to 18 December 2020.
- Turkey not to turn back on S-400 deal with Russia despite US sanctions Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says his country is resolved to buy advanced S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia, and Ankara will take reciprocal steps after evaluating the sanctions imposed by the United States over the purchase deal.
- Turkey Cannot be Sanctioned for S-400 Purchase Since Deal Predates CAATSA Law, FM Says Sputnik 17 Dec 2020 -- Earlier this month, the US Senate passed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), which included economic measures against Ankara for the acquisition of Russian S-400 missile defence systems.
- Secretary Pompeo's Call with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu US Dept. of State 17 Dec 2020
- Russia 'Used Bulgarian Airspace' To Deliver Military Equipment To Serbia RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- Russian aircraft have repeatedly used the airspace of NATO-member Bulgaria to deliver military equipment to Serbia, a joint investigation by RFE/RL's Bulgarian and Balkan services shows.
- 17 December 2020 - Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General United Nations 17 Dec 2020
- The Joint Forces Command of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen: Terrorist Houthi Militia Launches Ballistic Missile (Thursday) Morning from (Sana'a), Falls Short in (Sa'dah) SPA 17 Dec 2020 -- Statement by the Official Spokesman of the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen Brigadier General Turki Al-Malki
- Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's opening remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic Faisal Mekdad, Moscow, December 17, 2020 Russia Ministry of Foreign Affairs 17 Dec 2020
- Turkey's Erdogan urges Iraq not to let its soil be launchpad for Kurdish militant attacks Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asks Iraq to prevent its soil from being used by militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as a launchpad for attacks against the Turkish soil.
- Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of capturing troops despite truce Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Armenia has accused Azerbaijan's military of capturing dozens of its troops, calling it a provocative move violating a ceasefire agreement that ended six weeks of fierce fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region last month.
- Analysis: Nagorno-Karabakh War Transforms The Legacy Of Azerbaijani President Aliyev RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- Azerbaijan's victory in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh has transformed President Ilham Aliyev's political stature -- boosting his popularity to levels he never experienced during his 17 years of authoritarian rule.
- Sudan says army officers ambushed by Ethiopian forces, militia Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Sudan's military says several of its officers have been ambushed by Ethiopian "forces and militias" during a security patrol of the border region.
- UN releases emergency funding for civilians in Ethiopia's Tigray, as Africa's battle against COVID-19 intensifies UN News 17 Dec 2020 -- The UN has released $36.6 million for civilians caught up in the conflict that has roiled Ethiopia's Tigray region since early last month, in order to secure water, sanitation and lifesaving medical supplies.
- UN Sends Millions in Humanitarian Aid to Ethiopia VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- The United Nations said Thursday that it had mobilized $35.6 million to aid those affected by the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region.
- US Recognizing Morocco's Claims 'Made Visible the Question of Western Sahara' - Polisario Diplomat Sputnik 17 Dec 2020 -- Sputnik recently spoke with Omeima Abdeslam, the Polisario Front representative to Switzerland, about how US President Donald Trump's declaration could impact the territory and Polisario's struggle against occupying Moroccan forces that resumed last month after a 29-year period of peace.
- Inter-Communal Clashes Kill 7 in South Sudan VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- Seven people were killed and several others injured during several days of inter-communal clashes this week in the Tonj North County of Warrap state in South Sudan.
- Boko Haram Releases Hundreds of Kidnapped Nigerian Schoolboys VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- Three hundred and forty-four boys were released Thursday after being abducted last week by Boko Haram from their school in Nigeria, according to the governor of Katsina state.
- The United States Condemns the Kidnapping of Students in Kankara, Nigeria US Dept. of State 17 Dec 2020
- Funding needed to halt 'life threatening crisis' facing refugees in Kenya UN News 17 Dec 2020 -- Amidst a "critical shortage" of resources, hundreds of thousands of refugees in Kenya will lack food unless new funds are swiftly received, the UN's food relief agency warned on Thursday.
- Cameroonian Soldiers Accused of Killing Women, Children Appear in Court VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- A few civilians were at a military tribunal in Yaounde on Thursday to witness the trial of three soldiers accused in the February 14 Ngarr-buh massacre of women and children.
- Trump Administration, Biden Voice New Alarm About Latest Cyberattack VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- U.S. President Donald Trump's administration and President-elect Joe Biden both voiced new alarm Thursday about a wide intrusion into computer systems around the world that officials suspect was carried out by Russia.
- Biden Calls Cyberattack A 'Great Concern,' Promises To Impose 'Substantial Costs' On Perpetrators RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- President-elect Joe Biden on December 17 called a recent, large-scale, and ongoing cyberattack against U.S. government agencies and companies a "great concern," and promised to impose "substantial costs" on the perpetrators.
- U.S. Confirms Cyberattack Hit Government Networks, Says It's Ongoing RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- The U.S. government has confirmed that a recent cyberattack affected its networks and said the attack was "significant and ongoing."
- New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act US Dept. of Justice 17 Dec 2020 -- A New Jersey man who controlled two U.S.-based companies pleaded guilty today for paying a total of $100,000 in bribes to a Korean government official in order to obtain and retain contracts with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), a state-owned and state-controlled agency within the Republic of Korea's Ministry of National Defense.
- Six Men Indicted in Alleged Plot to Kidnap Michigan Governor VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- Six men were charged Thursday with conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in an alleged plot by right-wing extremists who were angry over her coronavirus containment policies.
- Vladimir Putin's annual news conference President of Russia 17 Dec 2020 -- The President of Russia held his annual news conference.
- Putin's Press Conference: What He Said And Didn't Quite Say RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- At his year-end press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated long-standing complaints about the West and avoided direct answers to several questions, steering clear of even uttering the name of poisoned Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny.
- Putin Uses Annual Press Event To Deny Russian Role In Navalny Poisoning, Allege U.S. Conspiracies RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed a fresh investigative report pointing to involvement by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in the poisoning of Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny and alleged, without evidence, that the Russian opposition leader was working for U.S. intelligence.
- Russia's Putin Denies Involvement in Poisoning of Opposition Leader VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed an international media investigation that alleges his government was behind the poisoning of a leading Kremlin critic last August— maintaining that opposition politician Alexey Navalny was working in tandem with the United States as part of a "trick" to tarnish Russia's image.
- Russian Billionaire 'Continues To Control Companies' In Violation Of Sanctions RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- European officials have concluded that Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska continues to control aluminum producer Rusal in violation of a U.S. sanctions agreement, Bloomberg News reported, citing unidentified officials.
- Moscow Court Upholds Scientist's Detention To Await 'High Treason' Trial RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- A court in Moscow on December 17 upheld pretrial detention for a Russian physicist specializing in hypersonic aircraft who was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of high treason.
- U.S. Senator Confident Nord Stream 2 Will Be Stopped As Russia Hurries To Complete Pipeline RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has expressed confidence that new U.S. sanctions will prevent the completion of a controversial Russian natural gas pipeline to Europe even as the Kremlin hurries to finish the undersea project.
- Russia To Miss Olympics, World Cup After Doping Ban Halved RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld doping sanctions that will prevent Russian athletes from competing at major sporting events under the country's flag, but halved the period of the ban to two from four years.
- Russia's Four-year Ban from World Athletic Events Cut to Two Years VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- The four-year ban on Russia competing in international athletic competition because of its state-sponsored doping program was cut to two years Thursday by a court in Switzerland. The country will still be banned from next year's delayed Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Winter Olympics in China.
- Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 17, 2020 PRC MofA 17 Dec 2020
- Hong Kong Search Data Indicate Unease, Migration Plans Among Middle Class Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2020 -- Google search engine results have indicated a sharp rise in the number of searches for emigration-related topics from Hong Kong since China first mooted the draconian national security law for the city, which took effect from July 1.
- 'Beijing's Plan to Export Revolution Hasn't Changed': Ching Cheong Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2020 -- Veteran political journalist Ching Cheong, who moved to Hong Kong after serving three years of a five-year sentence in a mainland Chinese prison on national security charges, is now living through a city-wide crackdown on peaceful dissent under a draconian national security law imposed by Beijing. He told RFA that the newly established Bauhinia Party, which has close ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is part of a broader strategy to control every aspect of life in the former British colony by eventually replacing its people:
- Chang'e-5 completes lunar trip, more space missions planned Global Times 17 Dec 2020 -- On the freezing grassland in Siziwang Banner, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, a Chinese national flag was placed right next to the re-entry capsule of Chang'e-5 lunar probe, whose epic predawn landing on Thursday provided the perfect climax to China's latest moon missions—an epic moon sample return mission.
- Xi congratulates complete success of Chang'e-5 mission Global Times 17 Dec 2020 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday congratulated the complete success of the Chang'e-5 mission that brings back the country's first samples collected from the moon.
- Xi congratulates complete success of Chang'e-5 mission PLA Daily 17 Dec 2020 -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday congratulated the complete success of the Chang'e-5 mission that brings back the country's first samples collected from the moon.
- Chang'e-5 lands in North China, concludes epic lunar round trip Global Times 17 Dec 2020 -- Carrying around 2 kilograms of lunar samples, China's Chang'e-5 safely landed at its designated landing area in Siziwang Banner, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region around 2 am Thursday, bringing the craft's epic round trip between Earth and its celestial neighbor located some 380,000 kilometers away to a perfect conclusion.
- Chang'e 5's reentry capsule lands with moon samples People's Daily 17 Dec 2020 -- China's most sophisticated and challenging space adventure – the Chang'e 5 robotic lunar mission – ended successfully early Thursday morning with its load of rocks and dust from the moon landing on the grasslands in northern China.
- China's spacecraft brings home moon samples PLA Daily 17 Dec 2020 -- The return capsule of China's Chang'e-5 probe touched down on Earth in the early hours of Thursday, bringing back the country's first samples collected from the moon, as well as the world's freshest lunar samples in over 40 years.
- North Korea Executes Fishing Fleet Captain for Listening to RFA Radio Free Asia 17 Dec 2020 -- Authorities in North Korea executed the owner of a fishing fleet in front of 100 boat captains and fisheries executives for secretly listening to broadcasts by Radio Free Asia and other forbidden media outlets while at sea, sources in the country told RFA.
- Coal Output Increases in DPRK KCNA 17 Dec 2020 -- The coal industrial sector of the DPRK is increasing the production through the on-going 80-day campaign.
- EU Officially Slaps More Economic Sanctions On Belarus Over Crackdown RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- The European Union on December 17 imposed a third round of economic sanctions on dozens of Belarusian individuals and entities over their suspected involvement in a crackdown on ongoing pro-democracy protests.
- Arrested Pashtun Leader Faces Anti-State Charges In Pakistan RFE/RL Gandhara 17 Dec 2020 -- Ali Wazir, a lawmaker and leader of a civil rights movement campaigning for Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun minority, has appeared before a judge following his arrest in the northwestern city of Peshawar on anti-state charges.
- Senate Sources Say Trump Pick For Ukraine Ambassador Unlikely To Get Vote RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- The Senate has not yet scheduled a vote and is therefore unlikely to green-light the Trump administration's choice of a retired Army lieutenant general to be the next U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, according to Senate and other sources.
- Hezbollah files lawsuit against ex-Lebanese justice minister over Beirut blast allegations Press TV 17 Dec 2020 -- Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has lodged a lawsuit against former justice minister Ashraf Rifi for "slander and incitement of sectarian strife" after he alleged that the popular group was responsible for a devastating explosion at Beirut's port in August.
- Uzbek President Orders Cut In Gas Exports As Winter Shortage Threatens RFE/RL 17 Dec 2020 -- Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev has ordered his government to cut natural-gas exports to ensure the availability of gas at home in Central Asia's most populous nation this winter.
- Ten Years Later, Arab Spring Left Many with Unfulfilled Promises VOA 17 Dec 2020 -- A decade ago, Arab Spring revolutions shook Middle East regimes, toppling a number of long-standing leaders once considered impervious to change. But analysts say the movement failed to attain popular aspirations for greater political influence. Now, 10 years later, no new political order has emerged.
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