Daily on Defense: Austin in Germany, Biden and Zelensky address UN, mystery F-35 found, House GOP barreling toward government shutdown

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'DIG DEEP, PUSH HARD': In his opening remarks at today's meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Germany, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that with Ukraine "in the heat of battle" with Russia, the 50 countries supporting its war effort must "continue to dig deep" to provide Ukraine with more air defenses and a continuing supply of ammunition.

"Air defense is saving lives," Austin said at Ramstein Air Base, according to a Pentagon transcript. "We must continue to push hard to provide Ukraine with air-defense systems and interceptors … We must also keep pushing to get Ukraine the ammunition that it needs to keep up the fight, including 155-millimeter ammunition."

Austin also said the 31 Abrams M1-A1 tanks the U.S. promised Ukraine will be delivered "soon" and that F-16 pilot training will be beginning in the United States. However, he gave no hint as to whether President Joe Biden is ready to provide the Army Tactical Missile System, the long-range ATACMS that military experts say Ukraine desperately needs to hit targets far behind Russian front lines, such as the Kerch Bridge linking Crimea with Russia.

"History will show the full folly of Putin's reckless, cruel, and unprovoked invasion of his peaceful neighbor. In this war, time is not on Putin's side," Austin said. "Meanwhile, the United States and our allies and partners have proven our staying power over and over again. So make no mistake: we will stand by the Ukrainian people for the long haul."

Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley are scheduled to hold a post-meeting news conference at 10:30 a.m. Washington time, which will be livestreamed on the Pentagon's website.

ZELENSKY'S NEW YORK MOMENT: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in New York yesterday and, before doing anything else, went to Staten Island University Hospital to visit wounded Ukrainian soldiers to thank them for their service and wish them a speedy recovery.

Zelensky is among the 37 leaders addressing the United Nations General Assembly today. He is scheduled to speak late morning, an hour or so after Biden gives his address around 10 a.m.

"Ukraine will put out a concrete proposal to U.N. member states on how to fortify the principle of territorial integrity and improve the U.N.'s capacity to thwart and halt aggression," Zelensky posted on social media. Then he'll head to Washington to meet with Biden at the White House, along with congressional, military, and business leaders.

After his hospital visit, Zelesnky questioned why Russia still has a seat of power at the world body. "It's a pity …there is a place for Russian terrorists," he said. "The question is not to me. I think it's a question to all the members of the United Nations."

BIDEN WILL OUTLINE 'VISION FOR INSTITUTIONAL REFORM': In his address, Biden will reaffirm the U.S.'s commitment to the values of the U.N. Charter, according to senior administration officials who previewed the speech for reporters yesterday.

"That includes sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, including Ukraine," one official said. "Our principal position on Ukraine has been very clear. It will be reiterated tomorrow in an exceptionally appropriate venue for us to do so … At the same time, there's a lot of other global challenges out there in the world that are existential to other countries."

"He will outline his vision for how countries, working within reformed and modernized international institutions, can harness their efforts to end conflict, defend human rights and the rule of law, and help countries develop their economies," said a second official. "This is a time of geopolitical tension. Russia's brutal and illegal war has gravely violated the U.N. Charter, and we have indisputable disagreements with China."


Good Tuesday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre's Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Conrad Hoyt. Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at DailyonDefense.com. If signing up doesn't work, shoot us an email and we'll add you to our list. And be sure to follow me on Threads and/or on X @jamiejmcintyre



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HAPPENING TODAY: Five American citizens held in Iran for years are scheduled to arrive in the United States today on a flight from Qatar. The five were freed in a deal under which the Biden administration agreed to release five Iranians serving prison terms in the U.S., along with an arrangement that unfroze $6 billion in Iranian oil funds that had been in South Korea.

The deal has been roundly denounced by Republicans as tantamount to paying a ransom of more than 1 billion for the freedom of each of the Americans, a practice that they say will only encourage more hostage-taking in the future.

"The reason they do it is because it's profitable every single time; there are no consequences if you do it. And all you have to do is wait, and eventually, it will be paid out," said Jared Genser, the attorney representing the family of Siamak Namazi, who was held for eight years, the longest of the five.

"I would urge President Biden today, immediately after this extraordinary moment has happened, to announce to the world that he's determined and will work multilaterally around the world and state-sponsored hostage-taking as a practice," Genser said on CNN. "And the only way you do that is by going after the incentive structure for regimes like Iran that engage in these kinds of behaviors."

"And the only way it's going to be ended as a practice is if 30, 40, 50 countries around the world come together and say, we're going to take an attack on one is an attack on all policy," Genser argued. "If one hostage is taken, dozens or even 50, 60 countries around the world would take action against the hostage taker, all of a sudden then the cost could actually outweigh the benefit, and maybe hostage takers would have to reconsider their perspective."


BLINKEN: NOT A RANSOM: Secretary of State Antony Blinken continues to argue the $6 billion transfer is not a ransom because the distribution of the impounded funds will be overseen by both Qatar and the United States to ensure it's used only for humanitarian relief.

"This involved the access by Iran to its own money, money that had accumulated in a Korean bank as the result of oil sales that Iran made, which were lawful at the time those sales were made," Blinken said yesterday in New York. He added that the money was always available for humanitarian purposes but couldn't be accessed by Iran for "a lot of technical reasons."

"Our aim is not to harm the Iranian people. Our problem, our profound problem, is with the Iranian regime," Blinken said. "So the funds were moved to another bank where we have absolute oversight of how they're used."

"We're very confident that the funds, the Iranian funds that had been made more easily available to Iran as a result of the actions that we've taken, will be used exclusively for humanitarian purposes. And we have the means and mechanisms to make sure that that happens."


F-35 WRECKAGE FOUND, MYSTERY REMAINS: The Marine Corps has ordered a two-day safety stand-down in the wake of three aviation accidents over the last six weeks, including the crash of V-22 Osprey in Australia and a mysterious mishap involving an F-35B in South Carolina.

After initially requesting the public's help in locating the missing stealth fighter, the debris field of the crashed F-35B was located in Williamsburg County, about two hours northeast of Joint Base Charleston.

The loss of the $80 billion jet is shrouded in mystery, as the pilot of the single-seat plane ejected while the aircraft was on autopilot and continued to fly. The pilot has not been identified, and the reason for the ejection has not been explained.

"The mishap is currently under investigation, and we are unable to provide additional details to preserve the integrity of the investigative process," the Marine Corps said in a statement.


BARRELING TOWARD A SHUTDOWN: "With no clear path on how to fund the government past Sept. 30, members of the House Republican Conference are publicly fighting among themselves over a bill to keep the government funded that, even if it were to pass the House, likely wouldn't become law," reported Reese Gorman, Washington Examiner congressional reporter.

"While tensions have been high all session, the conference is dealing with some of its most public feuding now as members try to come to an agreement on a continuing resolution. Negotiators from the House Freedom Caucus and Republican Main Street Caucus agreed on a continuing resolution on Sunday that would include the House's border security bill, cut spending, and keep the government funded through October."

"But, almost instantly, hard-line conservative members started voicing their opposition to the bill despite it having many priorities conservatives had called for. By the end of the day Monday, the number of holdouts was at least 16."


The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Biden addresses UN as troubles swirl at home and abroad

Washington Examiner: Here are the House Republicans who have pledged to vote no on stopgap spending measure

Washington Examiner: US citizens freed in prisoner swap with Iran reach Qatar

Washington Examiner: GOP skeptical of Biden administration's prisoner swap with Iran

Washington Examiner: US trying to combat China's use of military as 'instrument of coercion' around Taiwan

Washington Examiner: Rahm Emanuel wins Republicans over by going on offense against China

Washington Examiner: Biden team continues flurry of meetings with Chinese officials

Washington Examiner: Opinion: UK government aggravates everyone with China espionage response

Washington Examiner: Debris field from missing fighter jet found in South Carolina

Washington Examiner: Green Beret veteran launches campaign for Rep. Abigail Spanberger's Virginia seat

Washington Examiner: Former congressman and Biden Pentagon official launches House campaign

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Putin's nuclear messaging to the West

AP: China flies 103 military planes toward Taiwan in a new high in activity the island calls harassment

AP: India expels senior Canadian diplomat in growing row over alleged Indian role in Sikh's killing

Defense News: South Korea's President Nominates New Defense Minister

Defense One: As Lockheed Hungers for F-35 Sustainment Deal, Pentagon Says It Might Not Happen

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Competition Defines New Collaborative Combat Aircraft Program Now, But Not Forever

Air & Space Forces Magazine: USAF, Pentagon Take Steps to Make Sure Sentinel Hits Its Operational Service Date

Space News: ABL Gets Contract for US Space Force 'Responsive Launch' Mission

DefenseScoop: Air Force Looks to New Concepts as It Aims to Advance Its Electronic Warfare Prowess

Air & Space Forces Magazine: How At-Scale Agility Could Address Structural Challenges in the Department of the Air Force

Defense News: SAIC Hires Former Air Force CIO Knausenberger for Tech Innovation Role

19fortyfive.com: Could North Korea Send 'Volunteers' To Fight In Ukraine?

The Cipher Brief: DoD's Replicator Drone Concept Builds on Lessons Learned in Ukraine

Forbes: Opinion: Biden, 80, Has Sole Authority To Launch U.S. Nuclear Weapons. Should That Be An Election Issue?



8:30 a.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW — American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research virtual and in-person discussion: "The Future of Defense for the U.K. and Its Allies," with U.K. Shadow Defense Secretary John Healey; Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN); and Elisabeth Braw, senior fellow, AEI https://www.aei.org/events/the-future-of-defense-for-the-uk-and-its-allies

8:00 a.m. 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Economic Club of Washington, D.C., book discussion: Elon Musk, with author Walter Isaacson, professor of history at Tulane University https://www.economicclub.org/events/walter-isaacson

9 a.m. — German Marshall Fund of the U.S. virtual discussion: "The Impact of the War in Ukraine on the Political Situation in Belarus: Three Short-Term Scenarios," with Wojciech Przybylski, editor-in-chief of Visegrad Insight and president of the Res Publica Foundation; Maryna Rakhlei, senior program officer at the Fund for Belarus Democracy; Artyom Shraibman, founder of Sense Analytics and nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center; Katsiaryna Lozka, fellow at the GMFUS ReThink.CEE fellowship and doctoral fellow at Ghent University; and Nicolas Bouchet, GMFUS visiting fellow https://www.gmfus.org/event/impact-war-ukraine

10 a.m. New York, New York — President Joe Biden addresses the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly

10 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Association of the U.S. Army and Center for Strategic and International Studies "Landpower Dialogue," with Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Gen. Randy George, Army vice chief of staff https://www.csis.org/events/landpower-dialogue-conversation

10 a.m. — Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments Zoom webinar: "Webinar: The Future of the Russian Military and How It Reforms," with CSBA's Katherine Kjellström Elgin and Eric Edelman https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register

10 a.m. 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Brookings Institution discussion: "Homeland security and the current threat environment," with Kenneth Wainstein, Department of Homeland Security undersecretary for intelligence and analysis https://www.brookings.edu/events/a-conversation-with-dhs-under-secretary

10:30 a.m. Ramstein, Germany — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley holds a news conference after the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base https://www.defense.gov/News/Live-Events

10:30 a.m. 2118 Rayburn — House Armed Services Committee hearing: "Defense Cooperation with Taiwan," with testimony from Ely Ratner, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs; Mira Resnick, deputy assistant secretary of state for regional security; and Maj. Gen. Joseph McGee, vice director for strategy, plans, and policy, Joint Staff http://www.armedservices.house.gov

3 p.m. 1310 Longworth — House Administration Committee hearing: "Oversight of U.S. Capitol Security: Assessing Security Failures on January 6, 2021" https://cha.house.gov/hearings

3:30 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: "The Future of Security in the Black Sea Region," with Lisa Aronsson, research fellow at National Defense University's Center for Strategic Studies; Jeffrey Mankoff, nonresident senior associate at the CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program; and Max Bergmann, director of the CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program https://www.csis.org/events/future-security-black-sea-region

4:30 p.m. — Hudson Institute in-person and virtual discussion: "The National Resistance Front of Afghanistan and the Fight against the Taliban," with Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), Ali Nazary, head of external relations, National Resistance Front of Afghanistan; Luke Coffey, senior fellow, Hudson Institute; and Nolan Peterson, senior fellow, Atlantic Council https://www.hudson.org/events/national-resistance-front-afghanistan


7:20 a.m. 2425 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia — Association of the U.S. Army "Coffee Series" discussion: with Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command https://ausa.my.site.com/OnlineCommunity/s/community-event

9 a.m. New York, N.Y. — Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Samantha Power, administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, deliver remarks: "Democracy Delivers" https://www.usaid.gov/UNGA2023

10 a.m. 1152 15th St, NW — Center for a New American Security virtual mission brief: "Gaining the Asymmetric Advantage: Emerging Technology and the AUKUS Pillar 2 Promise," with Tanya Monro AC (Companion of the Order), Australia's chief defense scientist; and Becca Wasser, senior fellow, CNAS Defense Program https://www.cnas.org/events/mission-brief-gaining-the-asymmetric-advantage

12 p.m. — Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments webinar discussion:: of a a new report: "Evaluate Like We Operate: Why the Should Evaluate Weapons Systems as Networked Force Packages, Not Individual Platforms," with Travis Sharp, senior fellow and director of CSBA defense budget studies; Tyler Hacker, CSBA research fellow; and Thomas Mahnken, CSBA president and CEO https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register

12 p.m. — Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft virtual discussion: "Debating Israeli-Saudi Normalization: Does it Advance U.S. Interests?" with F. Gregory Gause, professor at Texas A&M University; Ellen Laipson, professor at George Mason University; Trita Parsi, executive vice president at the Quincy Institute; and Steven Simon, senior research fellow at the Quincy Institute https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register

12:30 p.m. 601 13th St. NW — Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress in-person event: "From Kyiv to AUKUS: The vital partnership between the U.S. and U.K.," with Rear Adm. Tim Woods, the U.K.'s new defense attache https://www.addevent.com/event

1 p.m. 2212 Rayburn — House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing: "Meritocracy in the Military Services: Accession, Promotion, and Command Selection," with testimony from Peter Levine, former (acting) undersecretary for personnel and readiness; Robert Greenway, director, Center for National Defense, Heritage Foundation; Will Thibeau, director, American Military Project at the Center for the American Way of Life, Claremont Institute; Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, deputy Army chief of staff; Vice Adm. Richard Cheeseman, deputy chief of naval operations for personnel; Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, deputy Air Force chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services; Michael Strobl, assistant deputy Marine Corps commandant for manpower and reserve affairs; and Katharine Kelley, deputy chief of space operations for human capital https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings/mlp-hearing-meritocracy

2 p.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: "Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Future of Trade in the Indo-Pacific," with Vangelis Vitalis, New Zealand deputy secretary for trade and economics, and Crawford Falconer, U.K. second permanent secretary and chief trade negotiation adviser https://www.csis.org/events/cptpp-and-future-trade-indo-pacific

2 p.m. 2200 Rayburn — Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe hearing: "Vladimir Kara-Murza: Putin's Personal Prisoner," with Evgenia Kara-Murza, advocacy director at the Free Russia Foundation and wife of Vladimir Kara-Murza; and Meghan McCain, daughter of the late Sen. John McCain. RSVP: Beth.Wiesinger@mail.house.gov


8 a.m. 7920 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Virginia — Potomac Officers Club annual Intel Summit, with Stacey Dixon, principal deputy director of national intelligence, and Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth, director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency https://potomacofficersclub.com/events/poc-2023-9th-annual-intel-summit

9 a.m. — Brookings Institution virtual discussion: "The Legacy and Future of the Wagner Group," with Kimberly Marten, professor of political science at Barnard College; Wassim Nasr, senior research fellow at the Soufan Center; and Candace Rondeaux, professor of practice at Arizona State University https://www.brookings.edu/events/the-legacy-and-future-of-the-wagner-group

9:30 a.m. — Senate Armed Services Committee hearing to consider nominations of Derek Chollet to be undersecretary of defense for policy, and Cara Abercrombie to be assistant secretary of defense for acquisition https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings

12 p.m. — National Security Institute at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University book discussion of Beijing Rules: How China Weaponized Its Economy to Confront the World, with author Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios China reporter, and Jessica Jones, deputy executive director, National Security Institute https://nationalsecurity.gmu.edu/book-event-beijing-rules

12 p.m. 2043 Rayburn — Cato Institute briefing: "Why U.S. Efforts at Defense Burdensharing Fail," with Justin Logan, director of defense and foreign policy studies at Cato and author of Uncle Sucker: Why U.S. Efforts at Defense Burdensharing Fail, and Lawrence Montreuil, director of government affairs at Cato https://www.cato.org/events/why-us-efforts-defense-burdensharing-fail


9 a.m. 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Wilson Center's Global Europe Program discussion: "The U.K. Labour Party's Foreign and Defense Priorities," with U.K. Shadow Secretary of State for Defense John Healey and U.K. Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs David Lammy https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/uk-labour-partys-foreign-and-defense-priorities


"I have no reason not to trust them. To the extent the West is reliable, Russia is equally reliable. For the last 50 years, we have been waiting at the doorstep of the EU and, at this moment in time, I trust Russia just as much as I trust the West."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an interview with PBS NewsHour in New York, where he is attending the U.N. General Assembly.
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