Five Things to Know, Dec. 11, 2023
(Amber Smalley/U.S. Navy)

Five Things to Know, Dec. 11, 2023

1.   Divers on Sunday recovered the remains of the seventh of the eight crew members from a U.S. military Osprey aircraft that crashed off southern Japan during a training mission. The Air Force CV-22 Osprey went down Nov. 29 just off Yakushima Island in southwestern Japan while on its way to Okinawa. The bodies of six of the crew had since been recovered, including five from the sunken wreckage of the aircraft.

2.   The Chinese coast guard targeted Philippine vessels with water cannon blasts Sunday and rammed one of them, causing damage and endangering Filipino crew members off a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, just a day after similar hostilities at another contested shoal, Philippine officials said. The Philippines and its treaty ally, the United States, immediately condemned the latest confrontation near the Second Thomas Shoal, where two Philippine navy-operated supply boats and two Philippine coast guard escort ships had sailed to deliver food and other supplies to Filipino forces in a long-marooned navy ship that serves as a territorial outpost.

3.   The control stations for America’s nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles have a sort of 1980s retro look, with computing panels in sea foam green, bad lighting and chunky control switches, including a critical one that says “launch.” Those underground capsules are about to be demolished and the missile silos they control will be completely overhauled. A new nuclear missile is coming, a gigantic ICBM called the Sentinel. It's the largest cultural shift in the land leg of the Air Force's nuclear missile mission in 60 years.

4.   The United States, attempting to contain the spread of Israel’s war in Gaza, is pitching allies on expanding a multinational naval task force to address an alarming rise in attacks on commercial vessels traveling near Yemen that have posed a significant threat to global shipping. The White House says it’s a “natural response” after the Houthis, a Yemeni militant group aligned with Iran, has fired missiles and one-way drones at several ships and hijacked at least one in recent weeks. But it remains unclear whether the United States and its partners will be able to deter the Houthis or tamp down Israel’s demands for forceful action.

5.   Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants in Gaza’s two largest cities on Monday, with civilians still trapped in the fighting even after hundreds of thousands have fled to other parts of the besieged territory. Israel has pledged to keep fighting until it removes Hamas from power, dismantles its military capabilities and returns all of the hostages taken by militants during Hamas’ Oct. 7 surprise attack into Israel that ignited the war.