Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness briefing for Monday, 09 August 2021. You can receive this daily intel brief by signing up at https://forwardobserver.com/daily-sa
- Civilian Cyber Corps proposed
- Yellen warns on debt ceiling
- Army & Navy deploy lasers
- Eviction moratorium: an early end?
- Judicial nominees key timing
CYBER CORPS: During her keynote speech at BlackHat, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly said she was looking into “creating a Cyber Corps, akin to the Peace Corps” in order to bolster national cybersecurity and defense. While she didn’t provide details, she did say that CISA has awarded grants to nonprofit organizations working with underrepresented groups in order to identify cyber talent. (Analyst Comment: The cybersecurity industry continues to report shortages of talent, both in private sector organizations and in the federal government. Considering the volume of cyber actors employed by China, the creation of a U.S. Cyber Corps — the civilian equivalent to the military’s U.S. Cyber Command — is not a stretch. I’ll have more details on cybersecurity and the state of supply chain intrusions in today’s InFocus. – M.S.)
DEBT LIMIT: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued another letter to Congress asking to increase the debt ceiling. “In recent years Congress has addressed the debt limit through regular order, with broad bipartisan support,” she pointed out. Yellen further noted the bicameral body came together three times during President Trump’s administration. Senate Minority Leader McConnell (R-KY) said, “They [Democrats] won’t get our help with the debt limit increase that these reckless plans will require. I could not be more clear. They have the ability. They control the White House, they control the House, they control the Senate.” (AC: The political strategy appears to be to stall major legislation, threaten a government shutdown or debt default and use the leverage to pass everything through reconciliation with nine working days to do it, post-recess. – D.M.)
LASERS: The U.S. Army and Navy are beginning to field lasers for the tactical environment. The Army is outfitting some Strykers with 50-kilowatt systems as part of the Directed Energy Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense (DEM-SHORAD) program to defeat UAV swarms. The USS Little Rock is equipped with a 150-kilowatt laser designed to destroy targets with directed energy or optical dazzling. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) named one of the use cases for lasers on ships as “potential combat situations against adversaries, such as China, that are armed with large numbers of missiles, including advanced models, and large numbers of UAVs.” (AC: The CRS report also noted the Navy is investing in solid-state lasers over railguns and other experimental technologies, primarily for improving survivability. – D.M.)
EVICTIONS: The eviction moratorium extension is not expected to last until its 03 October expiration date. Legal experts warned the political theatrics, incessant media coverage, and lawsuits filed by property owners mean a federal court is likely to intervene quickly. George Mason Law professor Ilya Somin said the legal argument for the moratorium would give the Centers for Disease Control “virtually unlimited power to suppress any activity at any time.” (AC: Expect renewed protests if the eviction moratorium is overturned before its sunset. The Treasury Department’s latest numbers report $3 billion of rent relief spent out of $46.5 billion allocated, indicating a severe disconnect between political messaging and true rental housing risks to tenants. – D.M.)
JUDGES: President Biden’s judicial appointees are being confirmed at the fastest pace in 40 years. Nine of the 33 nominees have been confirmed so far with 14 more awaiting floor votes. “They represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong,” President Biden said. The total number of Biden judges, however, is not expected to surpass the 234 Trump appointees. (AC: Given the number of lawsuits threatened by states, parents groups and others over pandemic restrictions, this may provide Biden and the broader progressive agenda judicial overwatch. -D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: Two systems moved across the Atlantic over the weekend. The more westerly storm has a high likelihood of development, with flooding and high winds expected throughout affected areas. The second storm has a lower chance of consolidating and at present little risk, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In today’s Early Warning briefing, Mike takes a look at the future of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, and Dustin goes over a Congressional update on a failing system to detect weapons of mass destruction. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe