10 April 2020

Satellite Imagery Shows Chinese Navy In Pakistan

H I Sutton

Open-source defense analysts trawl through oceans of publicly available material in search of things of military significance. An eagle eyed watcher recently spotted something interesting in commercial satellite imagery. Twitter user d-atis shared an image analysis showing Chinese forces exercising in Karachi, Pakistan.

The satellite captured a Pakistani Navy hovercraft approaching Manora beach. This is a convenient location, right next to a a major Marines base known as PNS Qasim. From other sources we know that the hovercraft was carrying both Pakistani and Chinese marines. The troops ran down the ramp and across the beach side by side, a formation designed for the cameras. In combat conditions the troops would probably not be deployed in this manner.

The joint exercise was not just for the cameras however. It underscores the close defense relationship which extends into industry. China is a major arms supplier to Pakistan, and has been helping better establish local shipbuilding. The exercise in question, Sea Guardian 2020, took place in January.

China deployed an air defense destroyer, a frigate and a replenishment ship. The satellite imagery shows that the Chinese ships docked near the container terminal rather than in the Pakistani Navy base.

The Chinese destroyer was the Type-052D Luyang-III class ship Yinchuan (175). The 7,500 ton ship carries HHQ-9 long range surface to air missiles and cruise missiles. It has large phased array radars similar to U.S. Navy AEGIS destroyers. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has 8 Type-052Ds and is building more.

Narendra Modi’s Sisyphean Quest for Global Coronavirus Cooperation


On March 13, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted an intriguing offer. “I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight Coronavirus,” he said, using the acronym for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. “We could discuss, via video conferencing, ways to keep our citizens healthy. Together, we can set an example to the world, and contribute to a healthier planet.”

It was a striking proposal. Most national leaders haven’t made pitches for regional or more broadly global responses to the pandemic, mainly because they’re too preoccupied with the complex emergency it poses at home. Yet here was Modi doing just that—even as his country confronts a coronavirus challenge that medical experts there warn could produce a “national disaster” in a matter of weeks.

The Indian leader is trying to do two heavy lifts at once: positioning India as a leader in crafting global responses to the coronavirus even while attempting to combat it at home.

Colin Gray and the Revival of Classical Geopolitics

By Francis P. Sempa

Colin S. Gray, who died in late February after a long battle with cancer, was one of the great strategic thinkers of our time. He authored more than 30 books and 300 articles, founded the National Institute for Public Policy, served as a defense advisor to American Presidents and British Prime Ministers, and taught international relations and strategic studies at the University of Reading in England.

His greatest contribution to Anglo-American strategic thought was to revive interest in, and apply and update to the contemporary analysis of international politics, the ideas and concepts of the great classical geopolitical thinkers, such as Britain’s Halford Mackinder, and America’s Alfred Thayer Mahan and Nicholas Spykman.

He began that process in 1977, with the publication of The Geopolitics of the Nuclear Era: Heartland, Rimlands, and the Technological Revolution. The date of publication is important. In 1977, the new U.S. President Jimmy Carter told the world that the United States had lost its “inordinate fear of communism,” at a time when the Soviet Union was engaged in a massive military (conventional and nuclear) build-up and was on the geopolitical offensive around the world in the wake of America’s defeat in the Vietnam War. The only member of Carter’s national security team who understood classical geopolitics was Zbigniew Brzezinski (who later wrote several books on the subject, including Game Plan and The Grand Chessboard), but Carter listened more to the dovish Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, at least until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Keeping to the Conditions of the U.S.-Taliban Agreement

By Carter Malkasian 

Editor's Note: The U.S.-Taliban negotiations offer the possibility of a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, but many of the agreement's specifics remain elusive. Carter Malkasian, a former senior adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, identifies several risks related to conditionality and intra-Afghan negotiations, and lays out the resulting complications for U.S. policy.

Daniel Byman

On Feb. 29, representatives of the United States and the Taliban signed a conditional peace agreement. The event followed an unprecedented week of dramatically reduced violence throughout Afghanistan. This is just the beginning. A peace process is likely to span years with renewed outbreaks of violence before all U.S. military forces can go home. Even now, a month has passed since the agreement with little progress toward its goals. Success depends on the United States sticking to its guns and enforcing the conditions it has placed on the Taliban—both those in writing and those that have been passed verbally.

What Will Iran Do As the US Negotiates a Withdrawal from Afghanistan?

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Tehran is eager to deepen its influence on Kabul, the Taliban, and other Afghan actors.

Iran is watching closely as U.S. and Taliban negotiate an end to America’s operations in Afghanistan. If the expected withdrawal of significant U.S. forces destabilizes Afghanistan, how much influence will Tehran assert its influence over its neighbor to the east?

Iran has worked to increase its soft power resonance in Afghanistan, through foreign direct investment and the development of infrastructure linked to communications and transportation. It’s also spent years building ties to key stakeholders in that country, including groups with ethnic, cultural, and religious ties to Iran, as well as the Taliban. But Tehran has failed to achieve the same level of political influence that it wields in the countries to its West, such as Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. In other words, Iranian influence on political and military affairs in Afghanistan has never reached its full potential—something Tehran is eager to correct. 

Iran’s experience working with Afghan proxies goes back decades to the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, where Afghan fighters fought on Iran’s behalf against Saddam Hussein’s forces. In the present era, Iran has cultivated a range of militias and Shia foreign fighters, including the Liwa Fatemiyoun, who could be redeployed to Afghanistan to help provide security and guard Iranian interests. The IRGC-QF could select the most elite members of the Liwa Fatemiyoun and use them for specialized terrorist operations in Afghanistan or elsewhere. In Syria, these fighters operated under direct Iranian command and did not take orders from Syrian regime troops. This suggests a familiarity with the Iranian way of war and has implications for a robust command-and-control relationship. In fact, the Fatemiyoun come much closer to being a proper Iranian proxy under Iranian command than most of the regime’s other non-state partners and allies, including even the poster child of Tehran’s non-state strategy, Lebanese Hezbollah. 

At War With a Virus


NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump has labeled himself a wartime president, and many others around the world are using similar language. It’s a description that raises an obvious question: What does the history and nature of war tell us about fighting a virus?

While war should normally be a policy of last resort, not confronting an enemy that is determined to attack and poses an imminent threat can be deadly. Indeed, the enemy morphed from a local outbreak in Wuhan, China, into a global pandemic precisely because the Chinese authorities squandered precious weeks before confronting it. China’s leadership initially covered up the outbreak and allowed millions of people to leave Wuhan even though many carried the virus with them.2

The United States also manifested a widespread initial reluctance to go to war. This comes as little surprise. War as a last resort is one of the tenets of “just war” theory, the body of thinking that emerged in the Middle Ages and was intended to make wars less common and less violent.

The problem, though, is that it takes two to avoid conflict, and the virus was determined to bring it on. Putting off the decision to go on the offensive against COVID-19 – treating a war of necessity as a war of choice – has proved extraordinarily costly in terms of lives lost and economic destruction.

Sun Tzu And The Coronavirus

by Tunku Varadarajan

Ever since she was a doctoral student at Princeton in the second half of the 1970s, Michael Nylan’s passion has been the early history of China.

Ms. Nylan is the very latest in a list of translators into English of “The Art of War,” the 2,500-year-old Chinese classic attributed by long-standing tradition to Sun Tzu, or Master Sun, who served the kingdom of Wu in the late 6th century B.C. Like many others in her field, she strikes a skeptical note on the text’s paternity. “However gratifying this tale of attribution,” she says, “it can’t be verified all these years later, and is unlikely to be true.”

Yet whoever was responsible for the text almost certainly compiled it from a variety of sources. No one man wrote “The Art of War.” The first translation into English was not done until 1910, when Lionel Giles, a British sinologist, produced an annotated version. The text acquired intellectual cachet in the United States only in 1963, in a translation by Samuel B. Griffith, a retired officer of the U.S. Marine Corps. As the Vietnam War raged, says Ms. Nylan, American interest was sparked by the fact that Ho Chi Minh regarded the text as his strategic bible—as did Mao Zedong. It came to be felt in Washington that knowing “The Art of War” would help to outsmart a wily foe.

A Look at Strategic Geography for Pacific Defense: Putting the Chinese Military Challenge Into Strategic Context

By Robbin Laird 

The Chinese Communist Regime led by “lifetime” leader Xi Jinping has enhanced its military capabilities as part of it overall rise to regional and then global power.

Notably, it has not led with the use of military power as its key instrument, but has combined manufacturing growth, supply chain dominance (enabled by the Western approach to globalization), investments within the West and the Third World, along with sophisticated means for political influence and information war.

And they have built a significant nuclear force underlying their ability to enhance direct defense of the mainland.

How then best to counter the Chinese challenge?

Clearly, the military aspect of this is contextual and not the sole element of the challenge.

A multi-faceted response by the allies and the United States is clearly necessary to reshape the world in ways that constrain Chinese behavior and protect the interests of the liberal democracies.

We have discussed a wider range response to China in a report which we published three years ago with the help of the late Danny Lam.

The Quest for a Pandemic Pill

By Matthew Hutson
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In 1981, a young man visited Cedars-Sinai hospital, in Los Angeles, with shortness of breath and with curious purplish lesions on his skin. After reviewing biopsies and scans, a twenty-eight-year-old medical resident named David Ho found an odd fungal infection in the patient’s lungs and a rare cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma. These conditions were both associated with immune deficiency, though nothing in the patient’s history explained why he would be in such a state. He was given antibiotics and discharged; not long after, he died. Over a few months, Ho and his colleagues saw five men with similar symptoms. They wrote up the cases and sent them to the Centers for Disease Control—the first report of what became known as aids.

Ho continued to explore the disease. “Some people were very concerned that I was so intrigued by those few cases at the very beginning of my career,” he told me. “ ‘Why would you want to devote your career to an esoteric disease?’ ” Particularly one that seemed mainly to afflict what was considered a fringe population—gay men. But Ho, who had emigrated from Taiwan when he was twelve, speaking no English, had an underdog mentality and would not be dissuaded.

We Were Warned


When the inevitable inquiry into the government's response to COVID-19 happens, it will conclude that signs of a coming crisis were everywhere.

We were warned in 2012, when the Rand Corporation surveyed the international threats arrayed against the United States and concluded that only pandemics posed an existential danger, in that they were “capable of destroying America’s way of life.”

We were warned in 2015, when Ezra Klein of Vox, after speaking with Bill Gates about his algorithmic model for how a new strain of flu could spread rapidly in today’s globalized world, wrote that “a pandemic disease is the most predictable catastrophe in the history of the human race, if only because it has happened to the human race so many, many times before.” If there was anything humanity could be certain that it needed to prepare for to prevent the deaths of a lot of people in little time, it was this.

Fighting Over Limited Medical Supplies Is No Way to Respond to COVID-19

Kimberly Ann Elliott 

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, countries should be using every available tool to expand production of critical medical supplies and cooperating to avoid complete chaos. But instead, they are increasingly fighting over pieces of a too-small pie and going it alone. With dire, heartbreaking shortages of personal protective equipment for doctors and nurses and ventilators for the desperately ill, some governments have responded by restricting their exports. A few major grain exporters have begun restricting food exports. More inexplicably, some countries continue to collect duties on imports of essential medical supplies, though that is finally starting to change.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Early in the last global crisis, the Great Recession, the heads of state of the countries in the G-20, which had previously been a smaller summit of mostly finance ministers, met for the first time as a group to develop a cooperative response to stimulate the global economy, including pledging to avoid protectionist measures. This time around, the leaders of the G-20 had to meet virtually, given the restrictions in place to try to contain COVID-19, but they notably declined to condemn export restrictions, saying only that measures should be “targeted, proportionate, transparent, and temporary.”

Understanding Djibouti’s Significance for China’s Naval Strategy

A rising China is coming. Economically, Beijing is currently the second-largest economy by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and the largest by purchasing power parity. Such economic growth has been a base for military modernization, with a significant focus on developing maritime capabilities. With long land borders, China has been a land-based power, but recently, it is shifting its attention to developing its navy since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, when then-President Hu Jintao called China to become a “maritime power” – both because a significant portion of trade travels by sea, but also to be able to project power abroad.

For the past few years, island building in the disputed South China Sea has been in the headlines. Since then, both China’s fleet size and capabilities have rapidly grown both in quantity and quality, including its shipbuilding industry. In terms of power projection in the far seas, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had set up its first overseas military base in Djibouti, a tiny country in the Horn of Africa in a break of Beijing’s longstanding policy of not establishing overseas military bases.



The Federal Emergency Management Agency canceled its national preparedness drill last week—a decision that was probably unavoidable, given the coronavirus pandemic, but one that highlights the missed opportunities to truly prepare.

"The preparedness events that have already been held have helped make our nation more resilient," the Department of Homeland Security insisted in its internal email to emergency managers, saying that the drills, which began last year, would be canceled. FEMA informed nine states and over 50 government organizations, military commands and intelligence agencies around the country that the remainder of National Level Exercise (NLE) 2020, a series of domestic exercises planned to culminate in the second week of May, would not take place.

"Obviously FEMA and the rest of the government is seized with dealing with the real world," says a former NORTHCOM commander. But that senior officer (who lacked permission to speak on the record and requested anonymity) laments that NLE 2020 exposes how much the emergency management apparatus diminishes its effectiveness by spending time "fighting the last war."

What If the Coronavirus Recession Gets Worse Than Expected?

by Jonathan Bydlak 

Whenever the government substantially intervenes in the U.S. economy, you can bet there will be commentators worried about inflation.

Nine times out of 10, I’d be inclined to agree. But not now.

That’s because it’s increasingly apparent that we’re headed toward an economic downturn that will be deeper and longer-lasting than many commentators realize or are willing to admit.

The shutdown of large sectors of the U.S. economy has massively reduced our production and supply of goods. Without people working, fewer goods and services can be made. The result is a reduction in output, but also upward pressure on prices as certain goods become harder to find (think toilet paper and cleaning products).

Indeed, the well-known investor Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates has predicted that corporate losses in the United States alone from the coronavirus pandemic will total $4 trillion, and worldwide might top $12 trillion. To say this is unprecedented would be an understatement.

Coronavirus's Biggest Enemy: Capitalism?

by Jarrett Stepman

In times of crisis, Americans don’t look just to the government to save the day.

In certain intellectual circles in the United States it’s become fashionable to decry free markets, laying every economic woe of any American at the feet of “late stage capitalism,” the buzzword used to decry any business practice that seems designed to promote big business over the little guy.

But right now, as our nation struggles to deal with the coronavirus, we’re seeing proof our American companies are stepping up and helping. Businesses, big and small, are trying to do their part to help the U.S. defeat COVID-19. Just consider these examples:

—MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell announced last week that 75% of his company’s production will be converted to making face masks.

Precision Politics: China’s Answer to GPS Comes Online

By Heath Sloane

A model of Chinese BeiDou navigation satellite system is displayed during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, also known as Airshow China 2018, in Zhuhai city, south China’s Guangdong province, Nov. 7, 2018.Credit: AP Photo/Kin Cheung

China’s homegrown global navigation satellite constellation will finally come online next month after two decades in the making. Once online, the 35 satellites in the BeiDou constellation promise unprecedented functionality for China’s civil and military networks.

While the final satellite is yet to be launched into the constellation, previous iterations of BeiDou have been in use since 2000. Already, 70 percent of Chinese smartphones and 300 million users spanning 200 countries and regions connect to the BeiDou system. 6.5 million vehicles now contain BeiDou receivers and provide dynamic monitoring of traffic. As its user base grows across “Belt and Road” member states, the strategic implications and global market share of BeiDou also rise.

Australia has significantly contributed to China’s successful deployment of BeiDou. A satellite tracking facility in Perth and stations in Australia’s Antarctic Territory, both established by China, have considerably improved the system’s capabilities across the Pacific.

The Investment War with China: U.S. Investment in China

By Jean-Marc F. Blanchard

Part one in this series pondered the merits of delisting Chinese stocks on American exchanges and limiting American capital flows into Chinese stocks. Part two of this series examined the three-pronged United States war against Chinese outward foreign direct investment.

The massive footprint of American firms in China has long caused angst. Under U.S. President Donald Trump, the trade deficit has become another factor fueling displeasure with the aforementioned state of affairs. Worries about the security threats posed by high-technology goods imported from China have added impetus to the push for the reshoring of American firms. The COVID-19 epidemic has put into stark relief the risk of relying on goods produced elsewhere. Washington’s action to address the aforementioned anxieties has entailed three features. One is rhetoric against foreign direct investment (FDI) in China. Another is Trump’s tariff war against China. And another ties to products, encompassing adverse steps such as restrictions on the import of “Chinese” goods and positive measures like efforts to support U.S.-based production.

Blue Dot Network: The Belt and Road Alternative

By Mercy A. Kuo

Trans-Pacific View author Mercy Kuo regularly engages subject-matter experts, policy practitioners, and strategic thinkers across the globe for their diverse insights into U.S. Asia policy. This conversation with Matthew P. Goodman – Senior Vice President in charge of Asian economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who served twice at the White House on the National Security Council staff – is the 231st in “The Trans-Pacific View Insight Series”. 

Explain the rationale and role of the Blue Dot Network (BDN).

As my colleagues and I discussed in a recent CSIS piece, the BDN was announced by the United States, Japan, and Australia in November 2019 at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Thailand. Together, the three allies plan to certify infrastructure projects around the world that meet high standards of transparency, sustainability, and developmental impact. The aim is to give private investors – including U.S. pension funds and insurance companies, which together manage trillions of dollars of long-term assets – the confidence to jump in and help address the massive global need for infrastructure, estimated at $94 trillion over the next two decades.

Air University

Air & Space Power Journal, Spring 2020, v. 34, no. 1

First Sergeant: Weak-Tie of the Air Force Leadership Triad 

Air and Space Power with Chinese Characteristics: China’s Military Revolution 

An Argument against Satellite Resiliency: Simplicity in the Face of Modern Satellite Design 

Quiet Giant: The TITAN Cloud and the Future of DOD Artificial Intelligence 

Getting out of Our Tactical Comfort Zone: Leveraging the Joint Planning Process to Prepare 
Airmen for Joint Duty 

On Implementing a Space War-Fighting Construct: A Treatise on Applied Frameworks from Other Domains 

A Culture of Military Spacepower

This Map Shows the Global Spread of Zero-Day Hacking Techniques

SO-CALLED ZERO-DAY EXPLOITS—HACKING techniques that take advantage of secret software flaws—were once the calling card of only the most sophisticated hackers. But today, the global map of zero-day hacking has expanded far beyond the United States, Russia, and China, as more countries than ever buy themselves a spot on it.

The security and intelligence firm FireEye today released a sweeping analysis of how zero-days have been exploited worldwide over the past seven years, drawing in data from other research organizations' reporting as well as Google Project Zero's database of active zero-days. FireEye was able to link the use of 55 of those secret hacking techniques to state-sponsored operations, going so far as to name which country's government it believes to be responsible in each case.

The resulting map and timeline, with a tally of which countries have used the most zero-days over the past decade, are far from comprehensive. Countries like the US almost certainly have used zero-days that remain undetected, FireEye acknowledges, and many others couldn't be pinned with certainty on any particular country. But it does show how the collection of countries using those hacking techniques now includes less expected players like the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

The Pentagon Is Using Zoom. Is it Safe?


Experts say the ubiquitous videoconferencing tools bear some risk of accidentally exposing mundane details, and even inviting a new wave of deep fakes. But the risks can be managed.

Like a lot of organizations that are learning to operate with large swaths of telecommuting employees and contractors, the Defense Department is suddenly finding itself using videoconferencing software by Zoom. But as use of Zoom’s products has skyrocketed, so has awareness of various security vulnerabilities — and of the Chinese subcontractors who wrote large portions of its code. 

Zoom is officially approved for use in unclassified situations by troops, DoD employees, and contractors. 

Are Books Essential?

By Robert Zaretsky

In his book The Burning House: What Would You Take?, Foster Huntington interviewed people across the United States, asking what they would grab if their homes were ablaze. His heartbreaking series of photos reveals objects all of us would think are essential—passports, money, pets, spouses—but also objects all of us, except that individual, would think are nonessential: a parent’s ashes or a Lego helicopter, a fountain pen or a shell necklace.

As the world confronts the fire of the novel coronavirus, not just people but entire nations are drawing different lines between the essential and the nonessential. On this side of the Atlantic, Americans are up in arms over whether gun stores should qualify as essential businesses, remaining open even though most other stores are shuttered. On the other side of the pond, however, the French are mounting the (virtual) barricades over the status of a different kind of business—the sort that sells not bullets but books. 

On March 16, the French government released its list of “commerces de premières nécessité,” or essential businesses that would stay open during the national lockdown. Predictably, banks and pharmacies, supermarkets and gas stations made the cut. No less predictably, boulangeries (butcher shops) and tabacs (tobacconists) also made the list.

America Is an Oil and Gas Superpower (And then Coronavirus and Price Wars Happened)

by Jakob Puckett

America’s energy boom over the last decade has brought about tremendous benefits. Households have saved $2,500 per year in lower all-around energy costs. Even better, America’s status as the world’s largest oil and gas producer has loosened autocratic petrostates’ dangerous grip on oil supplies.

But, as with everything else these days, the coronavirus pandemic is threatening all of that.

The decline in energy demand from an economy on lockdown and a price war by Russia and Saudi Arabia has placed American oil producers on edge. The result? The lowest oil prices in twenty years—and the negative effects from that could last a long time.

Indeed, many producers are on the brink of bankruptcy, as their bonds have entered “junk” territory. Renewable energy projects have stalled, too, as critical materials are stuck in a supply chain bottleneck. In short, it’s hard to overstate the chaos that oil markets are embroiled in, and the immediate future will be harsh for American oil producers. But there are still ways for America to come out on top.

Thomas Modly Has Failed the Navy He’s Supposed to Lead

by David Axe

U.S. President Donald Trump’s acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly embarrassed himself in front of the crew of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on April 5, 2020, attacking the vessel’s popular former commander and drawing protests from rank-and-file sailors.

During a surprise visit to Guam, where Roosevelt is moored while the vessel’s crew struggles to contain an outbreak of the deadly novel-coronavirus, Modly described Capt. Brett Crozier as “naive” and “stupid.”

Modly relieved Crozier of his command on April 2, 2020, after Crozier wrote an internal memo begging the Navy to let him send ashore most of his 4,000 sailors in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The letter quickly leaked to the press.

As Crozier left the carrier, hundreds of his sailors cheered him and chanted his name, a dramatic display of gratitude that several sailors captured on video. In visiting Guam just days later and attacking Crozier, Modly deeply offended many of the sailors whose lives Crozier sacrificed his career to save.

Google Is Helping Governments Create Mass Coronavirus Surveillance

by Chris White

Google is creating instruments helping health officials track people’s movements to help them determine if citizens are complying with social distancing guidelines, according to the company’s website.

The big tech company plans to regularly update the so-called “community mobility reports,” Google noted in a post late Thursday. The reports display the change in people’s visits to public places such as grocery stores, parks, homes and so forth, according to the company.

Google’s tools rely on “aggregated, anonymized sets of data” that the company has collected through Google Maps and other apps throughout the years.

“No personally identifiable information, such as an individual’s location, contacts or movement, will be made available at any point,” Google noted.

So Much for Keeping the Military Out of Politics

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Acting Navy Secretary Modly’s Trumpian approach to the military and his firing of a carrier captain has gone over like a lead anchor. Now members of Congress are calling for his own firing.

Jim Mattis must be rolling in his political grave. The Marine general-turned-defense secretary did everything in his power to keep the military out of the spotlight and disconnected to Trump’s firebrand version of American politics. He and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford kept their peers off the airwaves, off cable news, and off public stages to prevent reporters from pressing them on Trump’s red-hot tweets and sudden policy turns. They took a lot of heat for it, but it certainly did the job. 

That was then, this is now. Since last summer, Defense Secretary Mark Esper has lived up to his promise to re-engage with the public and the media. That’s a good thing. He and 4-star officers across the military have become television regulars once again, especially during the coronavirus crisis. Esper and his new team are holding several on-record, on-camera briefings each day. They are sometimes too brief, but they are on-camera, regular, and do much more to inform the public than any Pentagon leadership team since Trump took office. They should be commended for returning to the podium to fulfill that responsibility to the public they serve.