Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness briefing for Tuesday, 10 August 2021. You can receive this daily intel brief by signing up at

  • Situational Awareness
  • Tyson announces potential for disruption
  • USDA issues new rules against swine fever
  • SECDEF: Vaccine to be mandatory
  • U.S. arms sales to Taiwan ahead of massive exercise
  • Dems roll out $3.5 trillion 2022 budget


You can watch today’s Daily SA briefing on YouTube (click the box above).

CHICKEN: After weeks of warning that higher prices were coming, Tyson Foods finally announced price hikes in September, and that input costs are rising faster than they can hike their prices. Tyson CEO Donnie King also announced mandatory vaccinations for Tyson employees, as the company already struggles with fully staffing its processing plants. “There could possibly be some short-term impacts from this but we believe this will be offset with longer-term benefits,” King said. Tyson supplies about 15% of the total U.S. chicken market. – M.S.
SWINE FEVER: The USDA is set to implement new rules on dogs entering the United States from foreign countries in order to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever. The USDA has warned of cases outside of Africa, including a major outbreak in China in 2018, and more recently in Germany. China culled about 40% of its pork supply in 2018-2019 in order to stop the spread. Earlier this year, the USDA held a contingency planning meeting in the event of a U.S. outbreak. – M.S.
TROOPS: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin sent a letter to troops on Monday, making COVID vaccination mandatory by mid-September or when the FDA issues full approval. “I have every confidence that Service leadership and your commanders will implement this new vaccination program with professionalism, skill, and compassion,” Secretary Austin said. The rules will apply to all Department of Defense employees, including civilians and contractors. SECDEF said he “will not hesitate to act sooner” if he feels the need. (AC: Some Army units have already made vaccines basically mandatory by putting soldiers on non-deployable status if they weren’t vaccinated, which means they’re at risk of being chaptered out of the service. There’s a substantial part of the volunteer force who are “vaccine hesitant,” and a handful have expressed to me that they’re not sure if they’ll continue their careers once vaccines become mandatory. It’s unclear how the military will respond to troops who refuse to take the vaccine, but it could become a point of contention within the ranks. – M.S.)
TAIWAN: The Defense Security and Cooperation Agency cleared the sale of 40x 155mm Paladin self-propelled howitzers and 1,698 GPS guidance kits to Taiwan. The sale totals around $750 million and supports the Defense Department’s strategy to harden Taiwan in traditional and unconventional capabilities. According to Taiwan, the capability expansion allows them “to maintain a rock-solid self-defense and regional peace and stability.” China’s foreign ministry denounced the sale and said the actions undermine China’s sovereignty. (AC: Pointing to the significance of this sale, Taiwan is receiving nearly triple the funding Ukraine received in military assistance in 2020. The Biden administration suspended military assistance to Ukraine in June, in an attempt to de-escalate regional tensions. Taiwan and the U.S. are scheduled to hold the largest regional wargames in 40 years as China kicks off a five-day military exercise in the South China Sea this week. – D.M.)
BUDGET: Democrats announced a $3.5 trillion 2022 spending bill yesterday. The bill is focused on addressing climate change and is structured to use the reconciliation process for passage. The instructions to Democrats is to enact the “Build Back Better” agenda by funding several progressive items like a Civilian Climate Corps, rural clean energy, all-electric federal vehicle fleet, and lawful permanent status for immigrants, among other initiatives. (AC: This is functionally the “Green New Deal” and was called as significant as the 1930’s legislative programs for reshaping American life. Changes to migration and energy use are consistent with Republican concerns for reshaping the electorate and subordinating ourselves economically to China. – D.M.)
HURRICANE SEASON: Tropical Cyclone Six has a 90% chance of forming a depression or storm in the next 48 hours. It continues moving west-northwest at 17 mph, and is currently anticipated to hit Florida over the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In today’s Early Warning briefing, Mike look at how crypto could upend the nation-state, and Dustin goes over a Congressional update on U.S. competitiveness with China. Upgrade your Situational Awareness to Early Warning here: