Putin Doesn’t Rule Out Official Invasion of Eastern Ukraine
- 3 pro-Russian insurgents were killed and 13 were wounded while they attacked a military base in Mariupol, a coastal town in southeastern Ukraine. WSJ | Ukrainian Ministry of Interior [in Ukrainian].
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a press conference that he was ready to (officially and reluctantly) send troops to Eastern Ukraine if what he considers as the illegitimate government in Kiev continues its so far fumbling attempts to counter pro-Russian rebels with force. Putin brushes off talks of covert Russian meddling in Ukraine as “nonsense.” Financial Times | Video of press conference.
- Defense One: The science of unmasking Russian forces in Ukraine.
- Atlantic Council: How Much of Ukraine is Putin Thinking to Invade?
- Only a minority of Swedes would like their country to join NATO, but their number has risen significantly, from 17% of respondents a year ago to 29% in a recent survey, reports The Local.
Probing the US Defense Supply Chain
- The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is surveying the industry to find out more about weaknesses in the defense supply chain. This effort is managed by Brett Lambert who led the Pentagon’s industrial policy office until last year.
US Government Can’t Properly Assess Non Competed Contracts
- The Government Accountability Office was tasked to assess the characteristics of sole-source contracts issued by the federal government where multiple contracts actions are justified in a swoop, in what’s called class justifications. The GAO narrowed their study to the DoD, by far the biggest issuer of non-competed contracts, but their findings were limited since the “universe of contracts justified and approved on a class basis is unknown because the information is not tracked in the [FPDS] procurement database.” Still, they find, in line with the Pentagon’s own assessment, that:
“much of the noncompetitive contracts are for weapon systems and specialized equipment that may have been originally competed, but now require sole-source contracts because the programs have moved past the stage in their program lifecycle where competition is economically viable.”
China’s Space Aspirations
- President and CMC chairman Xi Jinping urged the PLA to integrate air and space capabilities, in what local (officially sanctioned) analysts characterize as playing catch up with the US.
Restoring Connectivity in Theater
- DARPA will host an industry day on April 28 in Arlington, VA, to discuss the Tactical Undersea Network Architectures (TUNA) program, whose purpose is to “temporarily restore connectivity for existing tactical data networks in a contested environment using small diameter optical fiber and buoy relay nodes.”
Cyber Risk: Globalized and Interconnected
- The Atlantic Council think tank and Zurich Insurance Group released a report [PDF] on cyber risks, which they see as systemic, drawing a parallel with the sub-prime financial crisis. More in the video below: