We Were Warned | Defense One

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.

We were warned in 2017, a week before inauguration day, when Lisa Monaco, Barack Obama’s outgoing homeland-security adviser, gathered with Donald Trump’s incoming national-security officials and conducted an exercise modeled on the administration’s experiences with outbreaks of swine flu, Ebola, and Zika.

The simulation explored how the U.S. government should respond to a flu pandemic that halts international travel, upends global supply chains, tanks the stock market, and burdens health-care systems—all with a vaccine many months from materializing.

Source: We Were Warned – Defense One

After COVID-19, we must invest in—not isolate—our most vulnerable communities

Quarantine is not a new strategy in America. As our colleague Andre M. Perry, Princeton sociologist Patrick Sharkey, and several others have pointed out, our nation’s go-to approach for “solving” social problems has long been spatial segregation and boundary drawing, from redlining, to racist urban planning, to concentrating health hazards in poor neighborhoods.

A more granular examination of our policies of separation reveals that they have also been used to keep the most vulnerable populations within communities in crisis. The ways in which we’ve quarantined these groups in ordinary times—from those without a permanent home to those in the criminal justice system—provide the most potent illustration. Now, as these systems, including our jails, prisons, and homeless shelters, crack under new pressure from COVID-19, they present the most obvious indication that further isolation will not see us through long-term recovery.

As COVID-19 starkly exposes the frailties of our health, welfare, and justice systems, there is an opportunity—and imperative—to restructure them after the pandemic subsides.

Source: After COVID-19, we must invest in—not isolate—our most vulnerable communities

COVID-19 is a health crisis. So why is health education missing from schoolwork?

Nearly all the world’s students—a full 90 percent of them—have now been impacted by COVID-19 related school closures. There are 188 countries in the world that have closed schools and universities due to the novel coronavirus pandemic as of early April. Almost all countries have instituted nationwide closures with only a handful, including the United States, implementing localized school closures.

Today, there are strong practices and approaches that the humanitarian community employs across almost any case in which education is disrupted for a protracted period of time.

Yet, this week when I received my third-grade son’s packet to support remote learning while his school is closed, it had no information about COVID-19. Rather, it was a series of math, reading, drama, and science assignments—useful for continuing his learning, but clearly a missed opportunity for ensuring that he, and by extension his family, knew exactly what to do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Where were the age-appropriate materials that would equip students with the latest advice on how to stay safe?

Source: COVID-19 is a health crisis. So why is health education missing from schoolwork?

A city traumatized: Lockdown easing, Wuhan residents fret over future | Reuters

People will be allowed to leave the city via road, rail and air, and more non-essential businesses will open their doors again, providing the first glimpse of what life could be like after a lockdown.

But conversations with residents like Li and others suggest that it is far from simple. Many are still coming to terms with the scars of an outbreak that saw Wuhan account for 61% of the 81,708 reported cases in China.

Source: A city traumatized: Lockdown easing, Wuhan residents fret over future – Reuters

Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government

Above-Top Secret contingency plans already exist for what the military is supposed to do if all the Constitutional successors are incapacitated. Standby orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to protect Washington but also to prepare for the possibility of some form of martial law.

According to new documents and interviews with military experts, the various plans – codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac – are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. They are so secret that under these extraordinary plans, “devolution” could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.

“We’re in new territory,” says one senior officer, the entire post-9/11 paradigm of emergency planning thrown out the window. The officer jokes, in the kind of morbid humor characteristic of this slow-moving disaster, that America had better learn who Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy is.

He is the “combatant commander” for the United States and would in theory be in charge if Washington were eviscerated. That is, until a new civilian leader could be installed.

Source: Exclusive: Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government

The Coronavirus Will Change How We Work Forever

Life on lockdown isn’t what you wanted, after all—and it may be what “office life” will be like from now on. The coronavirus pandemic has utterly disrupted the way millions of us work, and while the public health emergency will someday dissipate, some aspects of the Work From Home Revolution are likely here to stay.

“This may be the tipping point for remote work,” says Kate Lister, president of consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics. “I don’t think the office is going away, but more people will be spending at least part of the week at home.”

There is already a measurable spike in the number of at-home workers. Gartner, a research and advisory firm, reports in a March 17 survey of 800 HR executives that 88 percent of the organizations have encouraged or required employees to work from home. G&S Business Communications, found in their own “snap poll” on March 21 that 26 percent of those surveyed have moved from the office to home.

Source: The Coronavirus Will Change How We Work Forever

Europe’s role in stopping Nigeria’s ‘silent slaughter’ | EURACTIV.com

Murderous attacks on Christians and ethnic minorities by the Fulani and Islamic terror groups in the northern regions of Nigeria have been going on for close to two decades, leaving more than 60,000 dead.

But little has been done by successive Nigerian governments, or by the international community, to tackle and defeat the terror groups.

Campaigners want the United States to create a Special Envoy for Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin to focus on terrorism, deteriorating human rights and the root causes of violence, food insecurity and poor governance.

But what can the EU – for whom Nigeria is an important potential partner, especially as Brussels seeks to overhaul its trade and political relations with Africa – do to stop the ‘silent slaughter’?

Source: Europe’s role in stopping Nigeria’s ‘silent slaughter’ – EURACTIV.com

Coronavirus has changed the future of national security forever. Here’s how | EURACTIV.com

Nuclear war was the great fear of the 20th century and our institutions were built to respond to such threats. But Covid-19 has shown the world’s defense experts that we were blind, writes Stephan Blank.

Today, the biggest threats are in fact cellular. And the 21st century’s biggest threats are not ones we can defend against using standing armies or sophisticated weapons.

That’s why COVID-19 is changing the world and its major defense institutions. But whether that change can take place at the speed and scale the world needs is questionable.

That’s because even before COVID-19, the rise of ‘anti-globalism’, propelled by the meteoric popularity of extreme-right politics, threatened to unravel the world’s post-war security architecture. And the divisive political and economic trends of that shift led to the rapid weakening of institutions, alliances and agreements created to avoid diplomatic disagreements from turning into full-blown conflicts. Thais is why we are today witnessing a disjointed global response to COVID-19.

This lack of coordination against a global pandemic is one of the biggest challenges the world faces today. After all, the 21st Century’s biggest threats are systemic: and to fend them off, we need to rethink the very nature of national security.

Source: Coronavirus has changed the future of national security forever. Here’s how – EURACTIV.com

Russia fumes at North Macedonia’s NATO accession | EURACTIV.com

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a scathing statement on Wednesday (1 April) seeking to belittle and ridicule North Macedonia’s recent accession to NATO.

North Macedonia became NATO’s 30th member on 27 March, following the completion of the ratification procedure, in another blow to Moscow’s hope of maintaining its influence in the Western Balkans, where Montenegro and Albania have already joined the alliance.

The country’s flag was raised at the NATO headquarters in Brussels in a low-key ceremony, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The international press paid little attention to the event.

Source: Russia fumes at North Macedonia’s NATO accession – EURACTIV.com

Global Europe Brief: Pandemic Economics | EURACTIV.com

.. the EU27 are at odds how to address both the shortage in medical equipment and the economic fallout and have postponed taking a decision on the introduction of ‘corona bonds’ as a joint instrument for tackling the consequences of the crisis.

While the worst crisis-hit countries Italy and Spain urgently demand ‘corona bonds’, Germany, the Netherlands and Austria say this would breach the EU’s no-bailout clause, which stipulates that the EU and individual member states cannot be held liable for the debts of other member states.

“If we are a union, now is the time to prove it,” Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte urged.

Source: Global Europe Brief: Pandemic Economics – EURACTIV.com