Five Things to Know, March 13, 2023
1. The South Korean and U.S. militaries launched their biggest joint exercises in years Monday while North Korea said it tested submarine-fired cruise missiles in an apparent protest of the drills it views as an invasion rehearsal. North Korea’s launches Sunday signal the country likely will conduct provocative weapons testing during the U.S.-South Korean drills that are expected to run for 11 days. Last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered his troops to be ready to repel rivals’ “frantic war preparation moves.”
2. U.S. Space Forces Korea, just three months old and the newest command in the Space Force, is finding a clear role amid new threats from North Korea, according to its commander. Early missile detection is an integral part of the U.S. military’s defense of its 28,500 troops stationed on the peninsula, particularly with just 60 miles separating North Korea and Osan Air Base, where U.S. Space Forces Korea, or SPACEFOR-KOR, is headquartered.
3. The U.S. has begun an aggressive new push to inflict pain on Russia’s economy and specifically its oligarchs with the intent of thwarting the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. From the Treasury Department to the Justice Department, U.S. officials will focus on efforts to legally liquidate the property of Russian oligarchs, expand financial penalties on those who facilitate the evasion of sanctions, and close loopholes in the law that allow oligarchs to use shell companies to move through the U.S. financial system.
4. Military personnel officials will visit Capitol Hill again this week to support the White House request for a big pay raise and other family support programs as part of the fiscal 2024 budget proposal. Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel Gil Cisneros Jr. will appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday as part of a panel of manpower and medical experts. He made a similar appearance before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month.
5. Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday expressed pride that the German antiwar movie “All Quiet on the Western Front” won four Oscars including best international film. “Congratulations on four Oscars!” Scholz tweeted. “It is a huge success for the German film, one can be rightly proud of it,” the German chancellor added. “Especially in these difficult times, it shows unmistakably how terrible and inhumane war is.”