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Department of Defense

October 29, 2021

DOD confirms over 400 Americans still trapped in Afghanistan

The Department of Defense confirmed that 439 Americans remain in Afghanistan following the U.S.’s military withdrawal in August.

The latest figure comes after Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) found inconsistent or “confusing” numbers that the Biden administration has provided since the withdrawal.

“One of the many confusing things about this whole thing is that we really don’t know how many Americans are left in Afghanistan,” Inhofe said. “The administration’s number of U.S. citizens left in Afghanistan keeps changing. We all understand that. It’s very confusing.”

Last week, the State Department said that 363 Americans remain in Afghanistan, which was an increase over the estimate of roughly 100 the administration put forth in September.

Colin Kahl, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, provided a breakdown of the new, accurate figure.

“In terms of how many American citizens we estimate are currently in Afghanistan, the Department of State is in contact with 196 American citizens who are ready to depart –and arrangements are being made for them to do so, either via air or over ground – and another 243 American citizens have been contacted and are not ready to depart, either because they want to stay in Afghanistan or aren’t ready,” Kahl said.

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Pentagon confirms nearly 450 Americans trapped in Afghanistan

October 27, 2021

Pentagon calls China’s weapons test ‘very concerning’

China recently tested a hypersonic weapon system as part of its aggressive advancement in space and military technologies, a move that a top Pentagon official calls “very concerning.”

“What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system, and it is very concerning,” said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Milley said classified information prevented him from expanding on the details. He said the US is also working on hypersonic weapons.

“I think I saw in some of the newspapers, they used the term Sputnik moment,” Milley said. “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. So it’s a very significant technological event that occurred, or test that occurred, by the Chinese. And it has all of our attention.”

The Soviet Union stunned the world with their launching of a Sputnick satellite in 1957. The move sparked fear that the US was falling behind technologically.

China refuted reports about its test, saying it was testing technology for a reusable space vehicle for peaceful purposes.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Milley’s comments conveyed concern regarding China’s military advancements.

“They continue to pursue capabilities that increase tensions in the region,” Psaki said. “And we continue to have concerns about that. And I think that was reflected in his comments.”

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Gen. Milley calls Chinese weapon test ‘very concerning

October 22, 2021

Report: climate change poses a threat to national security

The White House released reports on Thursday detailing the threats that climate change poses to national security.

The reports come from the departments of Homeland Security and Defense and the National Security Council.

According to the New York Times, there are three critical points within the documents.

Global tensions will rise as countries argue about how to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; climate change will exacerbate cross-border flash points and amplify strategic competition in the Arctic; and the effects of climate change will be felt most acutely in developing countries that are least equipped to adapt.

The report from the Pentagon examines how it would incorporate threats from climate change into its planning. According to the report, the military would spend a significant portion of its next budget on climate analysis.

“The Department intends to prioritize funding DOD Components in support of exercises, war games, analyses, and studies of climate change impacts on DOD missions, operations, and global stability,” the report read. “In coordination with allies and partners, DOD will work to prevent, mitigate, account for, and respond to defense and security risks associated with climate change.”

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Climate Change Poses a Widening Threat to National Security

October 11, 2021

Pentagon official resigns, calls US’s cybersecurity ‘kindergarten level’ compared to China

A senior Pentagon official said he resigned over the stark difference between US’s and China’s AI capabilities.

Nicolas Chaillan, a former cybersecurity official, quit on Sep. 2. He told the Financial Times that China’s AI had far surpassed that of the US.

“We have no competing fighting chance against China in fifteen to twenty years. Right now, it’s already a done deal; it is already over in my opinion,” Chaillan said.

The Air Force veteran went on to say that some of the government departments’ cybersecurity defenses were at “kindergarten level.”

Recently, there have been several hacking attempts and ransomware attacks, notably the SolarWinds hack in April 2020. Cybercriminals gained access to the digital activities and emails of US Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and Department of Defense employees.

Chaillan told the FT that he planned to give Congressional testimony over the threat posed by China.

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A Pentagon official said he resigned because US cybersecurity is no match for China, calling it ‘kindergarten level’

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