Daily on Defense: US cyber strategy unveiled, Jordan’s king in DC, Hamas hostage deal hangs by a thread, Biden condemns antisemitism in speech

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BLINKEN: 'BUILDING DIGITAL SOLIDARITY': At a conference in San Francisco, Secretary of State Antony Blinken unveiled the Biden administration's International Cyberspace and Digital Strategy, which he said seeks "digital solidarity," not "digital sovereignty." 

"Our advantage comes not just from our domestic strength," Blinken said. "It comes from our solidarity with the majority of the world that shares our vision for a vibrant, open, and secure technological future."

"The United States believes emerging and foundational technologies can and should be used to drive development and prosperity, to promote respect for human rights, to solve shared global challenges," he said. "Some of our strategic rivals are working toward a very different goal. They're using digital technologies and genomic data collection to surveil their people, to repress human rights. Weaponizing dominance in critical supply chains to coerce other governments. Employing AI-based tools to deepen polarization and undermine democracies."

The policy seeks to work with allies and partners to shape the use of cyberspace to "enhance security and combat cybercrime; promote and protect human rights, democracy, and the rule of the law; and address transnational challenges."

"The United States will work with any country or actor that is committed to developing and deploying technology that is open, safe, and secure, that promotes inclusive growth, that fosters resilient and democratic societies, and that empowers all people," Blinken said.

McCAUL: IT'S ABOUT TIME: "Cyber attacks by America's adversaries are becoming more complex and aggressive every single day. I led the Cyber Diplomacy Act to create the Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy because I know firsthand how dangerous these attacks can be," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement. "Cyber criminals and the unholy alliance of China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran want to leverage nascent technologies to accomplish their malign goals," 

"It has been over a decade since the U.S. has had an articulated global cyber strategy, and I'm pleased to see the administration taking this threat seriously by releasing this report," McCaul said. "But actions speak louder than words. They must also be willing to use the tools Congress has given it to thwart the enemies of freedom."

Last week, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kruse, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, outlined what he called "the pervasive threat of cyber actors."

"This includes not only the sophisticated capabilities of state actors such as Russia and China but also rogue cyber actors loosely aligned to governments," Kruse testified. "This threat directly endangers our defense industrial capabilities, our hard-won technological and military advantages, our allies and partners, and our future defense operations."

FDD: '​​A GREAT FIRST EFFORT': The initial reaction from retired Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is that the strategy document is a worthy first step in addressing a complex challenge.

"This strategy is an important step in both cataloging and prioritizing U.S. efforts to engage with international partners on cybersecurity efforts and focusing U.S. efforts and resources on achievable goals in cyberspace," Montgomery said in an email to Daily on Defense. "The discussions on the importance of secure and trustworthy cloud services are insightful, especially given the administration’s failure to address the similar issue of cloud computing security in its recent efforts concerning domestic critical infrastructure protection."

"Additionally, the strategy's focus on secure and resilient undersea cable and satellite communication networks is appropriate given Russia and Chinese attention to these vulnerable systems," Montgomery said. "One shortcoming of the strategy is the limited inclusion of the Department of Defense’s efforts in the strategy. The DoD and U.S. Cyber Command are key contributors to international engagement, support, and capacity building in cyberspace — yet are mentioned only four times each in the strategy. By contrast, other departments like Commerce and its subordinate agencies, all with smaller footprints than DoD and USCC, are mentioned 15-20 times."


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 Stacey Dec. 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


HAPPENING TODAY: At 11:30 a.m., President Joe Biden delivers what the White House says will be a strong condemnation of antisemitism at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's annual Days of Remembrance ceremony on Capitol Hill.

"This year's remembrance is particularly sobering, as it comes seven months after the terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th, the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust," the White House said in a statement this morning. "Since that time, there has been an alarming rise of antisemitic incidents across the country and throughout the world — most recently, in instances of violence and hate during some protests at college campuses across the nation."

The statement included a list of several administrative actions intended to counter the rise in violence and hateful rhetoric toward Jews on college campuses in the wake of protests over the war in Gaza, including new guidance from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights for every school district and college in the country "meant to ensure that colleges and universities do a better job of protecting both Jewish students and all of their students."


ALSO TODAY: At 2 p.m., House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) meets privately with Jordan’s King Abdullah II at the Capitol.

Abdullah met yesterday with Biden and "discussed the latest developments in Gaza and affirmed their commitment to work together towards an enduring end to the crisis," according to a readout from the White House. "They further underscored the need for an immediate release of the hostages held by Hamas and a sustainable ceasefire that allows for a surge of the urgently needed humanitarian assistance to be delivered safely through Gaza."

"Both remain committed to achieving a durable, lasting peace to include a pathway to a Palestinian state, with security guarantees for Israel," the statement said.


24 HOURS OF WHIPLASH: At this time yesterday morning, it looked as though efforts at reaching a ceasefire deal that would result in the release of hostages by Hamas were dead and Israel's plans to send troops into Rafah were a go.

Then Hamas said it would accept a deal brokered by Egypt and Qatar, only to have Israel reject it, saying it did not meet its core demands. Israel then did send in a tank brigade into Rafah, but with the limited goal of taking control of the Gaza Strip side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Biden spoke again to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and "reiterated his clear position on Rafah," which is White House code for saying Biden urged Netanyahu against launching an offensive.

Aid groups say an Israeli military offensive would result in a "human catastrophe" for the around 1.4 million Palestinians crammed into Rafah. "There is simply no way to conduct such an operation without gravely endangering the more than 1 million Palestinian civilians, including more than 600,000 children, who are sheltering there in makeshift camps," said Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International. "Many of them fled to Rafah after forcible transfer from other parts of Gaza, and there is no credibly safe way to evacuate this population elsewhere."

"Rafah is also the principal remaining hub for humanitarian operations in Gaza, and the nascent famine relief operations would collapse if an offensive goes ahead," Konyndyk said. "An offensive under such circumstances could not be conducted in line with Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law and would thus produce extensive and serious war crimes."


RUSSIA RATTLES NUCLEAR SABER AGAIN: At a regal ceremony at the gilded Grand Kremlin Palace, Vladimir Putin was sworn in for another six years as president. His fifth term, which won't expire until 2030, makes him the longest-serving Russian leader since Josef Stalin.

The pomp and circumstance comes a day after the Kremlin summoned the British and French ambassadors to warn them about providing weapons to Ukraine for use against targets in Russia and the Russian Defense Ministry announced it would stage "nonstrategic" nuclear missile exercises in the near future. 

"The Foreign Ministry delivered a strong protest against the recent statement by British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in an interview with the Reuters news agency regarding Ukraine's right to strike Russian territory using British weapons," the Russian Embassy in London said in a post on X.  

"The ambassador was told that the Russian side considered Cameron's words as evidence of a serious escalation and confirmation of London's growing involvement in combat actions on Kiev's side," Russia said. "Nigel Casey was warned that any UK military facilities and equipment on Ukrainian territory and beyond could be hit as a response to Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with British weapons."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the planned drills with so-called tactical or battlefield nukes were a response to recent bellicose statements about the war in Ukraine from the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

"They talked about the readiness and even the intention to send armed contingents to Ukraine, that is, in fact, to put NATO soldiers in front of the Russian military," Peskov said. "This is a completely new round of escalation of tension. It is unprecedented. It requires special attention and special measures."



Washington Examiner: Israeli military confirms capture of Gazan side of Rafah Crossing

Washington Examiner: Hamas says it has agreed to ceasefire proposal

Washington Examiner: Biden speaks with Netanyahu amid growing tension over Rafah invasion

Washington Examiner: Biden prepares to meet 'important moment' with speech on antisemitism

Washington Examiner: House passes bill inspired by secretive Austin hospitalization

Washington Examiner: US soldier detained in Russia for alleged 'criminal conduct'

Washington Examiner: Democrats narrow Republicans' slim majority with swearing-in of Tim Kennedy

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Russia's nuclear weapons exercises have two key purposes

Washington Post: For Biden, A Tough Call Looms On Whether Israel Violated Laws In Gaza

AP: Putin is starting his 5th term as president, more in control of Russia than ever

New York Times: Russia Plans Drill For Battlefield Nuclear Strike

Wall Street Journal: Senator Urges Probe Of Russia's Starlink Use

New York Times: Xi Bristles at Criticism of China Over the War in Ukraine

CNN: Chinese Warplane Fired Flares, Put Australian Navy Helicopter In Danger, Canberra Says

USNI News: Houthis Threaten To Expand Range Of Targets In The Red Sea, Gulf Of Aden

Bloomberg: Pentagon Seeks $300 Million for First of Its Replicator Drones

Defense Scoop: Pentagon Secures $500M for First Tranche of Replicator Systems

Defense News: Electronic Warfare in Ukraine Has Lessons for US Weapons, Navigation

Defense One: 'Betrayal': Air Guardsmen, Governors Pile on Criticism of Plan to Move Units to Space Force

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Hurricane Hunters Say They Need More C-130s To Meet Record-High Demand

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Air Force Secretary Flies in an AI-Piloted F-16, a 'Significant Step' for CCA

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Northrop Gets $7 Billion for B-2 Support Through 2029. After That, Funding Dries Up

Breaking Defense: Space Force Will 'Not Support' Delays in ISR, Tracking Data to Shooters: SpOC Chief

Military.com: Meet the First 'Space Cowboys': 3 Guardians Complete Arduous Army Cavalry Spur Ride

SpaceNews: Maxar Inks Agreement with Lockheed Martin to Supply Imagery for F-35 Training Simulators

Defense News: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Creating Space Intel Hub

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Pilot Unharmed After F-22 Mishap in Georgia

Stars and Stripes: USNS Alan Shepard Ran Aground In Bahrain After Captain Left Bridge To Eat, Investigation Finds



8 a.m. — Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies virtual discussion: “The Russia-Ukraine War: An End in Sight?” with Veronica Anghel, lecturer at SAIS Europe and visiting fellow at the European University Institute’s Robert Schuman Center; Hal Brands, SAIS professor; Keith Gessen, journalist and assistant professor of journalism at Columbia University; and Michael Kofman, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Russia and Eurasia Program https://sais.jhu.edu/campus-events

10 a.m. 310 Cannon — House Homeland Security Transportation and Maritime Security Subcommittee hearing: “Building the Fleet: Assessing the Department of Homeland Security’s Role in the United States Coast Guard’s Acquisitions Process," with testimony from Shelby Oakley, director for contracting and national security acquisitions at the Government Accountability Office; Ron O’Rourke, specialist in naval affairs at the Congressional Research Service; Eric Labs, senior analyst for naval weapons and forces in the Congressional Budget Office; Coast Guard Vice Adm. Paul Thomas, deputy commandant for mission support; and Randolph “Tex” Alles, homeland security undersecretary for management http://homeland.house.gov

10 a.m. — Wilson Center Middle East Program and Atlantic Council virtual discussion: “Plan for Postwar Gaza,” with Mary Beth Long, former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs; James Jeffrey, former special envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS; Robert Silverman, executive editor of the Jerusalem Strategic Tribune; and Thomas Warrick, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/report-discussion-plan-postwar-gaza

10:30 a.m. 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE — Heritage Foundation discussion: “Securing the Border and Keeping Americans Safe: How Illegal Immigration Leads to Preventable Crime,” with Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS); Tom Homan, visiting fellow at the Heritage Border Security and Immigration Center; Simon Hankinson, Heritage senior research fellow; Lora Ries, director of the Heritage Border Security and Immigration Center; and Zack Smith, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Center for Legal Studies https://www.heritage.org/immigration/event/securing-the-border

12 p.m. 2060 Rayburn — Cato Institute discussion: “Sea-Launched Nuclear Cruise Missile: Necessary or Excessive?” with Robert Soofer, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council; Eric Gomez, senior fellow at the Cato Institute; and Lawrence Montreuil, director of government affairs at the Cato Institute and former legislative director of the American Legion https://www.cato.org/events/sea-launched-nuclear-cruise-missile

2 p.m. 2322 Rayburn — Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe briefing: “Turkey Post Election: What’s next?” with Gonul Tol, director of the Middle East Institute’s Turkey Program; Rich Outzen, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow; and Nicholas Danforth, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy nonresident fellow https://www.youtube.com/watch

2 p.m. — Washington Post Live virtual book discussion: Phantom Orbit: A Thriller, a spy novel on space warfare, geopolitics, and espionage, as well as the author’s recent Ukraine trip and Mideast insights, with David Ignatius, Washington Post foreign affairs columnist https://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live

2:30 p.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW — American Enterprise Institute in-person discussion: "A Conversation with House Armed Services Committee ranking member Adam Smith (D-WA)," with Kori Schake, director, foreign and defense policy studies, American Enterprise Institute https://www.aei.org/events/a-conversation


10 a.m. 192 Dirksen — Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee hearing: “A Review of the President’s FY2025 Budget Request for the Department of Defense," with testimony from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. http://appropriations.senate.gov

10 a.m. — Middle East Institute virtual discussion: “Israel’s Regional Relations and the War in Gaza: The Economic Dimension,” with Galia Press-Barnathan, director of Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Institute for International Relations; Yael Ravia-Zadok, deputy director general is the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s Economic Affairs Division; Dan Catarivas, president of the Federation of Bi-national Chambers of Commerce in Israel; Gabriel Mitchell, director of undergraduate studies at Notre Dame Jerusalem; and Nimrod Goren, MEI senior fellow for Israeli affairs https://www.mei.edu/events/israels-regional-relations

11 a.m. 1750 Independence Ave. SW — Friends of the National World War II Memorial celebration of V-E Day with a special tribute to the “Greatest Generation” on the 79th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe, with French Ambassador to the U.S. Laurent Bili https://www.wwiimemorialfriends.org/ceremony-registration

3 p.m. G-50 Dirksen — Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee hearing: “Military and Civilian Personnel Programs in the Defense Department in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2025 and the Future Years Defense Program,” with testimony from Ashish Vazirani, acting Defense undersecretary for personnel and readiness; Ronald Keohane, Assistant Secretary of Defense for manpower and reserve affairs; Lester Martinez-Lopez, Assistant Secretary of Defense for health affairs; Elizabeth Foster, executive director of the Office of Force Resiliency; Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, deputy chief of staff for personnel (G-1); Navy Vice Adm. Richard Cheeseman, deputy chief of naval operations for personnel, manpower, and training (N1); Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Glynn, deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs; Air Force Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services (A1); and Katharine Kelley, Space Force deputy chief of space operations for human capital http://www.armed-services.senate.gov

4 p.m. 232-A Russell — Senate Armed Services Airland Subcommittee hearing: “Air Force Modernization in Review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2025 and the Future Years Defense Program,” with testimony from Andrew Hunter, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology, and logistics; Air Force Lt. Gen. Adrian Spain, deputy chief of staff for operations; Air Force Lt. Gen. David Harris, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration, and requirements; and Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Moore, deputy chief of staff for plans and Programs http://www.armed-services.senate.gov

4 p.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW — American Enterprise Institute in-person virtual discussion: "True North: The Future of US-Canada Relations," with Jonathan Berkshire Miller, director, foreign affairs, national defense and national security, Macdonald-Laurier Institute; Balkan Devlen, director, transatlantic program, Macdonald-Laurier Institute; and Colin Dueck, nonresident senior fellow, American Enterprise Institute https://www.aei.org/events/true-north-the-future-of-us-canada-relations

4:45 p.m. 222 Russell — Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing: "Defense Department missile defense activities in review of the Defense Authorization Request for FY2025 and the Future Years Defense Program" http://www.armed-services.senate.gov


10 a.m. — Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association virtual discussion: "The Army’s current strategies for improving software development and acquisition processes, and the anticipated impact on enhancing operational effectiveness and agility,” with Margaret Boatner, deputy assistant Army secretary for strategy and acquisition reform; Jennifer Swanson, deputy assistant Army secretary for data, engineering, and software; Army Chief Information Officer Leonel Garciga; and Bill Hepworth, program executive officer for enterprise information systems at the Army https://afceanova.swoogo.com/May24Lunch

12 p.m — Middle East Institute virtual discussion: “The Biden Administration’s National Cybersecurity Strategy: Opportunities and Challenges,” with John Hauser, partner at the EY Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Group; Niranjan Shankar, MEI nonresident scholar; Alicia Chavy, MEI nonresident scholar; and Mohammed Soliman, director of the MEI strategic Technologies and Cyber Security Program https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register

2 p.m. — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace virtual discussion: “The Israel-Hamas War,” with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Herzog https://carnegieendowment.org/2024/05/09/israel-hamas-war

2 p.m. — Government Executive Media Group virtual discussion: “Service Branch Spotlight: Space Force,” with Brian Kehl, deputy commanding general-support at the Space Force’s Space Operations Command, and Audrey Decker, air warfare reporter at Defense One https://events.defenseone.com/defense-one-service-branch-spotlight-space-force


10 a.m. — Air and Space Forces Association virtual discussion with Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force John Bentivegna https://www.afa.org/events/air-space-warfighters-in-action

"The only deal that should be made would be release the hostages and surrender. Let's get this thing over with. They can't win, but it is going to get worse and worse as we go along, but they are making this fantasy thing up to where they can get this over with on their terms. It's not going to happen."
Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), in an interview on Fox Business, saying it's time for Hamas to give up
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