Today’s D Brief: Biden in Glasgow for climate talks; US-French make amends; New Marine tat policy; And a bit more. | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


U.S. President Joe Biden is in Glasgow for international talks on climate change at what’s known as the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change—or COP26, which began Sunday and draws to a close on Tuesday. More than 50 members of Congress will be attending, but there’s no one from the Pentagon at COP26, as Defense One’s Jacqueline Feldscher reported Wednesday. 

However, the Defense Department is adding a new climate-policy czar “in the next few weeks,” the military’s policy chief said Friday at an event hosted by New America.

“If we’re going to say that this is a national priority and it’s a priority for the department, then it needs to be a priority for my organization too,” said Colin Kahl, the defense undersecretary for policy. “You can also expect that in our bilateral and multilateral defense engagements, that climate will be on the table in a way it hasn’t previously been before.” Defense One’s Feldscher has more from Kahl’s Friday messaging, here.

FWIW: G20 nations are responsible for 80% of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.

As for what to expect from Biden’s team at COP26, they think they’ve got a plan to cut America’s greenhouse gas emissions in half (from 2005 levels) by 2030, and they’re encouraging every other nation to work toward their own similar goal. 

“Glasgow is the beginning of this decade race,” Special Climate Envoy John Kerry told reporters Sunday. “This is, you know, the first time we’ve gathered since Paris, with the goal of really revamping ambition in a broad way.” Read over how the White House plans to reach zero emissions by 2050, which would create a new 300,000-person “Civilian Climate Corps,” via its policy fact sheet, here.


From Defense One

Pentagon Will Add a Climate-Policy Czar // Jacqueline Feldscher: New post is intended to champion climate considerations inside and beyond the Department, Kahl says.

New White House Cyber Director Wants to Fight Like Cobra Kai // Patrick Tucker: Chris Inglis says the government needs to hit would-be attackers where it hurts.

Defense Business Brief // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense Business Brief: CEOs on supply chain, vax mandates; F-35 engine funds?; Aerojet merger delay; and more…

As COVID Hits Defense Factories, Some Workers Push Back on Vaccine Mandate // Marcus Weisgerber: Some Republican lawmakers say the requirement will compromise national security.

Vulnerabilities Grow as Utilities Link Control Systems to the Internet // Patience Wait: The Biden administration and utility companies are trying to reduce the risks, but at least 15 well-equipped groups are hunting for ways in.

Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1911, what’s considered to be the world’s first aerial bombing occurred when an Italian pilot flying a Etrich Taube monoplane dropped grenades on Ottoman troops in Libya during the Italo-Turkish war.


The leaders of Germany, the UK, France, and the U.S. called for a return to Iranian nuclear talks that were abandoned under POTUS45. “We are convinced that it is possible to quickly reach and implement an understanding on return to full compliance and to ensure for the long term that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes,” the four announced in a statement Saturday.
Now what? “It really depends on whether Iran is serious” about returning to the negotiating table, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN on Sunday. “All of our countries—working, by the way, with Russia and China—believe strongly that that would be the best path forward, but we do not yet know whether Iran is willing to come back and to engage in a meaningful way and get back into compliance. If it isn’t, if it won’t, then we are looking together at all of the options necessary to deal with this problem.”
The U.S. added new sanctions against alleged (but well-documented) drone makers in Iran on Friday. Two of them are Revolutionary Guard Corps one-star generals, and the others seem to have worked for a company called Mado, which The Daily Beast’s Adam Rawnsley has been tracking in-depth for several months—as he tweeted in a thread Friday.
Related reading: “Officials: Iran behind drone attack on US base in Syria,” via the Associated Press, exactly one week ago. 

AFRICOM’s Army Gen. Stephen Townsend visited Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Niger last week, along with Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Liz Sherwood-Randall, and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict Chris Maier. The three wrapped up their five-day trip on Friday.
On the Niger leg, they met with President Mohamed Bazoum in Niamey. They also spoke with French Ambassador to Niger, Alexandre Garcia, and France’s Barkhane Force Commander, Maj. Gen. Laurent Michon, for the purposes of “improv[ing] U.S.-French counterterrorism cooperation in the region,” as suggested by an earlier White House statement and confirmed in a Friday joint statement from the presidents of France and the U.S. ahead of this weekend’s G20 meeting in Rome.
Several pledges resulted from that Washington-Paris makeup statement, including: 

  • The promise of a “Clean Energy Partnership” (by the end of the year); 
  • An agreement to steer cutting-edge technology controls and standards toward “our shared democratic values”; 
  • A promise to work more closely “on space issues”; 
  • A pledge to “continue close consultations on nuclear and arms control matters, particularly within NATO”; 
  • Support for Paris’s vision of “stronger European military capabilities and more committed European partners”; 
  • An agreement to eventually form a “U.S.-France defense trade strategic dialogue” for national security exports; 
  • Keeping an eye on China while maintaining “robust collaboration in the Indo-Pacific”; 
  • Bilateral commitment to eventually achieving “the enduring defeat of ISIS”;
  • And, as the New York Times teased last week, a vow to increase U.S. and French cooperation in Africa.

With the U.S. now gone, some former Afghan soldiers and spies have switched sides over to ISIS, the Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov reported Sunday from Kabul.
Background: “Hundreds of thousands of former Afghan republic intelligence officers, soldiers and police personnel are unemployed and afraid for their lives despite pledges of amnesty from the Taliban,” Trofimov writes. “Only a fraction of them, mostly in the National Directorate of Security, have returned to work under Taliban supervision. Like nearly all other Afghan government employees, they haven’t been paid for months.”
What to do about it? Get the economy back on track, one Taliban commander told the Journal. Read on, here.
Related reading: “Last evacuees leave Ramstein Air Base, more than two months after first Afghans arrived,” via Stars and Stripes reporting Sunday. 

Lastly today: After a 15-year hiatus, U.S. Marines can have sleeve tattoos once again, the Jarhead-watchers at Task & Purpose reported late last week. One of your D Brief-ers heard reports of long lines and barber-shop-like number systems at tattoo parlors just outside one of the biggest Marine bases in Okinawa this weekend, and having covered the implementation of the sleeve tattoo ban in Jacksonville, N.C., can probably assume the ink is flowing there as well.
Why now? To increase recruitment and retention, Marine Corps Times reported. “The Corps said the new policy upholds the traditions of the Corps while better aligning with current societal trends,” MCT’s Philip Athey writes.
But also: The new policy “greatly expands the definition of prohibited ‘extremist tattoos,’” T&P’s Jeff Schogol writes. More, here.

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