Intelligence Forecast
May 2019

1. Wisconsin Terrorism Again on the Rise

Since the beginning of the year, the world has watched as the amount of territory controlled by the Islamic State has decreased until they no longer control any significant amount of land in either Syria or Iraq. Despite US efforts, aided by local forces, to wrest away the last of any territory controlled by ISIS, there’s remains a significant number of terrorists linked with the Islamic State that are in hiding in wait.

Some of these terrorists are even in the American Midwest. This past month, two American citizens in Wisconsin have been arrested on national security and terrorism-related charges. The spread of radical Islam is far from over, and it’s even spreading in many Midwesterners’ backyards.

George H.W. Bush signs the Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security ActWaheba Issa Dais, a mother of seven living in Cudahy, Wisconsin, pled guilty to counts of aiding in terrorism for the Islamic State. She was reportedly aiding distribution of information about how to craft explosives and biological weapons.

Yosvany Padilla-Conde, a Cuban immigrant who lived in Milwaukee, has also pled guilty to working for the Islamic State. Padilla-Conde reportedly aided another individual in traveling to Syria to join ISIS. Padilla-Conde swore allegiance to ISIS in several videos, and expressed intention herself to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

The idea of homegrown terrorism is still alive despite ISIS’ military defeat in Syria and Iraq. Since ISIS and ISIL are currently rebuilding their troops, the next year is likely when a large push for recruitment will occur. Not only that, the possibility for individual attacks will increase as well — considering how much of their publicity and marketing is tied up in such attacks.

The United States must continue to invest in the protection of not only the Middle East, but also the United States’ homeland. Homegrown terrorism is likely to continue to increase while the Islamic State is in a rebuilding process.

2. U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Becomes Classified

The nuclear arsenal of the US is now classified. For the last decade the numbers had been being released.For almost a decade, the United States has released the number of nuclear weapons it has stockpiled, but in recent weeks, the Trump administration has decided to leave the count of nuclear weapons classified. According to The Department of Energy, the controller of the U.S. nuclear stockpiles, the requested information for the release of the number of nuclear warheads couldn’t be released and would remain classified until further consideration.

The declassification of the number of nuclear weapons was initiated by the Obama administration to demonstrate to the world that America was open and wanted to decrease the number of nuclear weapons it possessed. This openness, however, did not lead to openness from Russia or China — both of whom remain silent on their nuclear arsenals. The Trump administration seems to be seeking a different path, one that makes more sense for combating Russian and Chinese aggression. The sense of the unknown will frighten the world powers and create a feeling that the United States is greatly expanding its nuclear arsenal, which is very possible.

If the United States and the Trump administration are classifying the number of nuclear missiles because of the increased production, it would be a win for conservatives advocating for nuclear accountability. The Pax Americana Institute holds that it is strategically backwards to openly dismantle nuclear weapons while Russia and China are likely building their own arsenals. Therefore, the move to classify the nuclear weapons count will maintain American security with the hopes of increasing both nuclear weapons counts as well as maintaining current nuclear facilities. 

3. The Future of Protecting Taiwan from Chinese Pressure

US F-16 Viper, 60 of which may soon be sold to protect against Chinese expansionismThis year marks the 40-year anniversary of the Joint Communiqué, which signified the importance of the relationship between the United States’ and Taiwan. Years after the Joint Communiqué, in 1982, President Ronald Reagan created the Six Assurances principle to telegraph to the world that the United States would continue to support Taiwan diplomatically and militarily and ensure Taiwanese sovereignty. In 2019, the Trump administration is continuing the position held by Ronald Reagan, making hard stances in favor of a democratic Taiwan.

In late April, the US Navy sailed two warships through the Taiwan Strait, signifying American presence to protect Taiwan if necessary. It also seems the United States is going to agree with Taiwan on a $330M arms agreement, an agreement that could include the transfer of 60 F-16 jets. This would not only greatly increase the defenses of Taiwan, but also signify the United States’ continued and increased support for Taiwan.

This arms deal with Taiwan should prove that the Trump administration is dedicated to protecting and defending Taiwan. The Pax Americana Institute’s position is that the relationship between the United States and Taiwan is extremely important to not only preserving democracy in Asia, but democracy throughout the world.