National Defense Briefs - June 30, 2015

by W. THOMAS SMITH, JR. June 30, 2015

National Defense Briefs

National Defense Briefs is a series aimed at informing readers with timely military and homeland-security news updates, trends, definitions, and short commentaries. FSM highlights the "National Defense Briefs" that matter.

  • As of this writing [June 30, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern], ISIS has reportedly launched a surprise attack on Tal Abyad, a Syrian border-town which has recently been under the control of Kurdish forces. The attack, wherein ISIS forces entered the town from the east, today, was followed by a series of "fierce gunbattles." According to CBS News, "[U.S.-backed] Kurdish forces drove ISIS fighters out of Tal Abyad earlier this month, depriving the extremist group of a key point for bringing supplies and foreign fighters into Syria."

  • Tuesday morning's drive by ISIS to seize Tal Abyad comes on the heels of last week's multiple terrorist attacks on three continents, demonstrating ISIS's global reach and commitment. CNN's Peter Bergen reports, "What we saw unfold on Friday is what we can expect going forward in the world of jihadist terrorism; relatively frequent small-scale attacks in the West inspired by ISIS; large-scale attacks by trained fighters in the Arab world, and attacks against Shia targets around the Middle East that are designed to inflame Sunni-Shia tensions."

  • Lt. Col. (P) Bill Connor is a U.S. Army Reserve Infantry officer (Ranger) and the former senior U.S. military advisor in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Speaking with Connor this morning [June 30], he says, "The recent three simultaneous ISIS attacks, carried out on three different continents - France in Europe, Tunisia in Africa, and Syria in Asia - shows the reach of ISIS and the coordination and communications ability of the organization. ISIS has been successful at 'information operations' not only in recruiting supporters and operatives from throughout the world, but in carrying out their plan for psychological warfare against the West. We can expect a substantial attempt to commit a simultaneous attack the U.S. on a date of significance. We need to be vigilant this weekend."

  • As we have reported, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (also ISIS), the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the Islamic State (IS). Many Arab-speaking people refer to ISIS as Daesh, an acronym for Al Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham (the Arabic translation of the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham).

  • A shortage of U.S. Navy amphibious ships and recent Defense cuts are forcing U.S. Marines to consider deploying on foreign ships, "raising bipartisan security concerns about the leverage this could give other countries," according to reports. The U.S. Naval Institute reports, "The Marine Corps is experimenting with the interoperability of its Marine Air Ground Task Forces with various non-traditional platforms, including rarely-used 1980s logistics ships and foreign navies' amphibious ships, to help get its land-based units back out to sea."

  • The U.S. Navy is testing an unmanned vessel that would be able to seek and destroy enemy diesel submarines. If fielded, the new Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (or ACTUV)would serve as a low-cost, manpower-reducing, tactically effective platform that would bolster America's Naval defenses in the face of a global proliferation of relatively inexpensive diesel submarines.

W. Thomas Smith Jr. - a former U.S. Marine rifleman - is a military analyst and partner with NATIONAL DEFENSE CONSULTANTS, LLC. Visit him at

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