Interfor International - Weekly Security Matters Digest - December 21

Interfor International – Weekly Security & Covid Digest – December 21

Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest – December 21, 2021

Global Security Matters

  • Citing increased military influence from China, the US ordered an arms embargo against Cambodia.  The embargo aims to ensure Cambodia’s military cannot use arms for defense without prior review by US government officials.  
  • As a Russian troop buildup continues along the Ukrainian border, Ukraine issued strong demands for a security pact with NATO.  The proposal is unlikely to be approved by the US amid calls for NATO to deny membership to Ukraine and other former Soviet bloc countries.  
  • French President Emmanuel Macron recently visited Hungary and met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.  Macron emphasized working together as France prepares to assume the EU presidency.  Orban stressed autonomy in three areas including defense, nuclear energy, and agriculture.  
  • The Defense Intelligence Agency is expected to lead an effort on the part of the Department of Defense to gather open-source intelligence through social media and other online materials.  The move highlights a growing emphasis on open-source intelligence in military operations.  

Covid-19 Updates

Total Deaths: 5,359,838 (806,335 in United States) 

At least one dose administered: 58.3% globally (United States: 73% of population)

  • The omicron variant accounts for 73 percent of new Covid cases in US. The first omicron-related death in the United States was reported in Texas, of an individual who had previously had Covid but was unvaccinated.
  • President Biden will announce new steps to confront the Covid-19 surge: deploying 1,000 military medical professionals and hundreds of federal vaccinators, setting up federal testing sites, buying 500 million rapid tests and more. 
  • Severe restrictions have resumed in Europe, in an attempt to stop the Covid surge. The Netherlands announced a shut-down, ordering the closure until at least January 14.
  • The EU approved the Novavax Indian-made Covid vaccine as a fifth option, paving the way for its use in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Moderna said its booster is effective against omicron in tests, increasing neutralizing antibody levels against omicron 37-fold, compared to pre-boost levels.
  • Pfizer predicts that Covid could become an endemic disease by 2024, having a constant presence in our lives and leading to regional outbreaks every year, much like the flu.