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January 21, 2023
Threat Journal is a weekly supplement to the
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WEEKLY THREAT AND ALERT ROUNDUP
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Pallets of ammunition, bound for Ukraine, are secured inside a commercial aircraft during a security assistance mission at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Jan. 13, 2023. The United States has committed more than $24.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russian aggression. - ALLOW IMAGES

U.S. and NATO Announce Massive Weapons
Package for Ukraine

January 21, 2023
 
What You Need To Know

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley this week hosted the eighth meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to discuss efforts to provide support to Ukraine in maintaining its sovereignty. The meeting was attended by military leaders from more than 50 countries.

The U.S. and partner nations from around the world are currently rushing billions of dollars in weapons and other materials to Ukraine in an effort to quickly bolster forces ahead of an anticipated major Russian offensive.

The combined Western assistance agreed to at this meeting includes a broad array of military hardware. The primary elements of the package are additional air defense systems to guard against ongoing missile and drone strikes, as well as armored infantry fighting vehicles and transports crucial to maneuver warfare.

To this end, a new tranche of war funding was announced this week by the Pentagon. Included in the $2.5bn package are 59 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, 90 Stryker Armored Fighting Vehicles, 53 MRAPS, 350 Humvees, an assortment of more than 20,000 artillery rounds, and a whole lot more.

Commenting on the size of the assistance package during a news conference Friday, General Milley stated the following:

"This package, combined with our previous one, includes combined arms maneuver capabilities with supporting artillery equivalent to at least two combined arms maneuver brigades or six mech infantry battalions, 10 motorized infantry battalions, and four artillery battalions, along with a lot of other equipment."

No German Tanks Just Yet

Beyond Britain's commitment of 14 Challenger 2 tanks, members of the contact group failed to agree on supplying coveted German battle tanks to Ukraine. This week, German officials indicated they will not send their Leopard tanks to Ukraine, or allow any other country with the German-made tanks in their inventory to do so, unless the US also agrees to send its M1 Abrams tanks to battlefield. The Pentagon has previously stated the 60-ton Abrams are off the table given the logistical costs of their maintenance. The Abrams also uses jet fuel, as opposed to the more widely available diesel fuel, compounding the logistics challenge.

CIA Director Back In Kyiv

CIA Director William Burns quietly traveled to Kyiv last week to privately brief Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other intelligence officials on U.S. intelligence regarding Russian military intentions in the coming months.

Director Burns and the CIA are widely credited with providing critical intelligence to Ukraine just prior to Russia's invasion last February. He made similar trips to Kyiv in October and November of last year.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.


AlertsUSA.com

SMS ALERTS FROM THIS WEEK
NOT DETAILED IN THIS NEWSLETTER ISSUE

1/20 - M6.8 earthquake, 203 km NNE of Santiago del Estero, Argentina. Monitoring for damage reports. Add'l alerts as warranted.

1/20 - Atlanta activists call for nationwide “night of rage” against police 1/20/2023 flwg the death of a man who shot and injured a GA state trooper. More via email.

1/18 - US Embassy France warns of nationwide strike on 1/19 impacting a range public & private services incl flights, int'l and local rail service and more. See email.

1/18 - Shallow M7.2 earthquake, Molucca Sea, 218 km NNW of Ternate, Indonesia. TSUNAMI THREAT: Hazardous tsunami possible for coasts within 300 km of the epicenter.

1/16 - Mass casualty shooting during Martin Luther King Day celebration, Ellis Park, Fort Pierce, FL. At least 6 injured. Large police response. Shooters at large.

 
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WEF: Catastrophic Cyber Event Within Two Years

January 21, 2023
What You Need To Know

One of the many interesting revelations to come out of the World Economic Forum gathering this week in Davos, Switzerland is a new report entitled Global Cybersecurity Outlook 2023. Prepared in collaboration with the professional services company Accenture, the report presents the collective insights from surveys, workshops and interviews with over 300 cybersecurity experts and C-suite executives.

According to the report, more than 93% of cybersecurity experts and 86% of business leaders participating in the study believe a "far-reaching, catastrophic cyber event is likely in the next two years. Further complicating matters is a significant shortage of skilled talent and experts in the field.

The report also notes that the scope of potential targets for cyberattacks is increasing. Government agencies and major corporations are no longer the prime targets, but any organization that handles consumer data, regardless of size.

T-Mobile Hack

So as to highlight the growing threat, this week the telecom giant T-Mobile revealed hackers gained access to a database of personal information belonging to 37 million customers. According to an SEC filing, the company states the data theft began on November 25th, was discovered on January 5th, and shut down within a day.

This is the eighth time since 2018 that T-Mobile has publicly acknowledged being hacked.

Terrorist Screening Database / No Fly List Exposed

Sometimes... datasecurity breaches take place because of good old human error, such as last week's discovery of an unsecured server run by the regional U.S. airline CommuteAir. On this server was a simple text file named “NoFly.csv. This file, left exposed on the public internet, contained the identities of hundreds of thousands of individuals from the U.S. government’s Terrorist Screening Database and “No Fly List.” According to the news site Daily Dot which broke the story, many entries on the list appeared to be of Arabic or Middle Eastern descent, with a scattering of Hispanic and Anglican-sounding names mixed in.

In a statement to the Daily Dot, TSA said that it was “aware of a potential cybersecurity incident with CommuteAir, and that they are investigating in coordination with their federal partners.”

For those readers unfamiliar with CommuteAir, the company flies exclusively for and under the livery of United Express, a part of the global United Airlines network.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.


Ukraine Gov: Spring is coming... - ALLOW IMAGES

Ukraine War Update+

January 20, 2023
What You Need To Know

According to the Institute for the Study of War:

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov continues to frame Chechen fighters’ involvement in the war in Ukraine on distinctly religious grounds, thereby building out his reputation and the reputation of his power base.

The Wagner Group appears to be struggling to present itself as an effective parallel military structure, thus increasingly proving to be a parasitic paramilitary entity. US intelligence confirmed the rivalry between the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Wagner Group on January 20.

Prigozhin’s quest for legal recognition of Wagner Group may also trigger some factionalization within the Russian government—whether he intentionally sets out to do so or not.

The Kremlin is likely intensifying its efforts to present Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as an existential war to set informational conditions for a protracted war in Ukraine.

Prominent Russian milbloggers claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin replaced Russian Commander of the Airborne Forces, Colonel General Mikhail Teplinsky, with First Deputy Head of the Russian General Staff Academy, Lieutenant General Oleg Makarevich, on January 20.

The Kremlin continues to promote information operations threatening escalation over Western military assistance to Ukraine.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence:

In recent days, the heaviest fighting has focused in three sectors. In the northeast, near Kremina, Ukraine has likely made small gains and successfully defended against a Russian counter-attack.

Around the Donetsk Oblast, in Bakhmut sector, Russian and Wagner proxy forces have likely been reconstituting in the town of Soledar, after capturing it earlier in the week.

In the south, in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, both sides have massed significant forces, which have conducted artillery exchanges and skirmishes, but have avoided any large-scale offensive effort.

Overall, the conflict is in a state of deadlock. However, there is a realistic possibility of local Russian advances around Bakhmut.

Ukraine conflict map as of January 21, 2023. - ALLOW IMAGES

North Korea Policy & Extended Deterrence  - ALLOW IMAGES

Commentary / Analysis / Research

January 21, 2023

North Korea Policy & Extended Deterrence

From Covid-19 to the war in Ukraine, recent shifts in the global strategic landscape have presented new challenges for the U.S.-ROK (Republic of Korea) alliance while reinforcing its importance as a foundation for regional peace and stability.

Within this rapidly changing environment, North Korea has found new incentives and opportunities to accelerate its missile testing and nuclear weapons development.

To manage these challenges, the United States and South Korea need to reexamine traditional approaches to North Korea policy and take steps to increase the credibility of U.S. extended deterrence.

~ READ MORE HERE (Center for Strategic & Int'l Studies) ~

TikTok Must be Banned in US and Free World

The United States recently banned TikTok from all federal government devices over growing security concerns. That is a good start.

TikTok, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned at the beginning of December, is controlled by the Chinese government, which is a national security concern.

Wray said that China's government can control the app's recommendation algorithm, "which allows them to manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations."

President Joe Biden reversed Trump's attempt at banning TikTok, signing an executive order in June 2021 that revoked Trump's proposed ban. Instead, the Biden administration has sought to work out the security concerns with ByteDance through a negotiated deal with the Chinese company that would reportedly allow TikTok to continue operating in the US without any change of ownership.

~ READ MORE HERE (Gatestone Institute) ~

Bolster U.S. Air Bases Against Chinese and Russian Attacks

China's and Russia's increasingly aggressive actions toward neighboring countries have shifted the attitudes of defense policymakers about both aggressors over the past two decades. Not only is there a growing consensus that China and Russia represent significant threats to U.S. interests, but there are also growing calls for actions to counter the threats.

For the past several years, the RAND Corporation has analyzed cost-effective mitigations to air base attacks, including both Agile Combat Employment (ACE) and alternative solutions.

In this Perspective, the authors synthesize past RAND research on Chinese and Russian missile threats to U.S. overseas air bases and how the U.S. Air Force can cost-effectively counter these threats.

~ READ MORE HERE (Rand) ~


Fleet and Marine Tracker Map as of January 17, 2023.  - ALLOW IMAGES
 
USNI Fleet and Marine Tracker
January 17, 2023

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of January 17, 2023 based on U.S. Navy, public data provided by the U.S. Naval Institute, and open source reporting.


A special tactics airman provides security while an Alaska Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter lands behind him during an arctic training exercise at Camp Mad Bull, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 10, 2023. - ALLOW IMAGES.
 
World News Roundup
January 21, 2023

AMERICAS

U.S. airline accidentally exposes ‘No Fly List’ on unsecured server
US quietly shipping ammo to Ukraine from massive stockpile in Israel
Stryker combat vehicles will be headed to ukraine from U.S
New name selected for Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon
Peru’s president calls for dialogue after dozens injured in nationwide protests
Peru protesters march in capital demanding president leave office
Thousands march on Peru's capital as unrest spreads, building set ablaze
Search for missing activists intensifies in western Mexico
Two Navy commanders fired in one day

EUROPE

Germany says 'Nein' on tanks at allies' big Ramstein meeting
Poland ready to send Ukraine tanks even if Germany opposes it -deputy FM
How Germany's ‘Doctor No’ disrupted allied unity
U.S.: Russian casualties in Ukraine have hit an eye-watering 188,000
Navy SEAL deserter killed during intense Ukraine battle
Pro-Ukrainian activists in Serbia file criminal complaint against Wagner group
Cambodia, Japan teach land mine removal to Ukrainians
15 Armenian soldiers die in fire at military base
Russia gets its oil into the EU through Bulgaria
Germany expects further Iran sanctions at EU foreign ministers meeting
Zelensky says he doesn’t know who makes decisions in Russia
Kremlin rubbishes bizarre Zelensky claim about Putin

MIDDLE EAST / AFRICA

Kenyan security forces kill 10 suspected al Shabaab fighters
Gabon's FM dies after heart attack at cabinet meeting
Trio of suicide drones strike US base in Syria, wounding 2
Zimbabwe: Amnesty International warns of deadly elections
Abducted Burkina women flee jihadist gunmen through bush
UN peacekeepers find mass graves in eastern Congo
Lebanon MPs sit in as 11th vote for president fails
Nigerian Navy personnel tied to cases of crude oil theft
Former French President Hollande calls Wagner group 'neo-colonials'

ASIA

China braces for new COVID wave w/Lunar New Year without restrictions
Russian oil is getting mixed in Singapore and then re-exported, sources say
At least 8 injured as blast derails train in Balochistan’s Bolan
Anti-terror measures, more patrolling in Delhi ahead of Republic Day
South Korea slum fire: Hundreds evacuated in Seoul
Myanmar military bombs village, killing seven, sources say
More bodies found in Tibet avalanche, death toll rises to 20
Japan PM Kishida vows to downgrade COVID-19 categorization in spring
Armenia and Azerbaijan stalled in negotiations over "corridor"
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will resign


Peak Prosperity with Dr. Chris Martenson.

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Travel Security Resources

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The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to research on the security situation at your destination prior to departure.

Active USGOV Travel Notices
Worldwide Caution


Active USGOV Travel Advisories
Alphabetical Country List
Dynamic Map



Other USGOV Travel Resources
Traveler's Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)
Travelers with Special Considerations
Travel to High-Risk Areas
Faith-Based Travel Information
Information for Women Travelers
Cruise Ship Passengers
Students Abroad
Your Health Abroad
Driving and Road Safety Abroad

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The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

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Take Advantage of These Resources

Our social media channels provide a steady steam of important news and resources between issues of Threat Journal with little or no overlap of content. Combined with the AlertsUSA service for instant mobile notification of the really bad developments, you have an unmatched set of tools to keep yourself fully up to speed on the nation's threat environment. With times getting worse by the day, we urge you to utilize these resources.


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