Daily on Defense: Blinken presses for Gaza ceasefire, UN backs plan, SASC begins NDAA markup, Ukraine regaining momentum

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BY JAMIE MCINTYRE

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BLINKEN: 'IF YOU WANT A CEASEFIRE, PRESS HAMAS TO SAY YES': Even though the ceasefire and hostage release plan announced by President Joe Biden on May 31 was presented as an Israeli proposal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Tel Aviv on Monday urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to support it.

"The Secretary reiterated that the United States and other world leaders will stand behind the comprehensive proposal outlined by President Biden that would lead to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages, and a significant and sustained increase in humanitarian assistance for distribution throughout Gaza," the State Department said in a readout of Blinken's meeting with Netanyahu.

Blinken arrived in Israel after a stop in Cairo for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sissi. "My message to governments throughout the region, to people throughout the region is: If you want a ceasefire, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to alleviate the terrible suffering of Palestinians in Gaza, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to get all the hostages home, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to put Israelis and Palestinians alike on the path to more durable peace and security, press Hamas to say yes. If you want to prevent this conflict from spreading, press Hamas to say yes."

Blinken heads next to Jordan and Qatar. "I know that there are those who are pessimistic about the prospects. That's understandable. Hamas continues to show extraordinary cynicism in its actions, a disinterest not only in the well-being and security of Israelis but also Palestinians," Blinken told reporters in Cairo. "But I believe strongly — this is now my eighth trip to the region since Oct. 7 — that the overwhelming majority of people, whether they're in Israel, West Bank, in Gaza, throughout the region, around the world, actually want and believe in a future where Israelis and Palestinians alike can live in peace, in security."

BLINKEN ARRIVES IN MIDDLE EAST TO PUSH CEASEFIRE DEAL AFTER HOSTAGE RESCUE

UN RESOLUTION INCREASES PRESSURE TO ACCEPT DEAL: The United Nations Security Council, on a 14-0 vote with Russia abstaining, endorsed the three-phase plan outlined by Biden, increasing pressure on Hamas to accept the deal with Israel.

"For eight months, we have pushed for efforts to achieve a ceasefire. This resolution brings us the closest to getting that done than we’ve ever been," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on CNN.

"I think the resolution is actually the opportunity to pressure Hamas to accept the deal. Israel has accepted the deal," Thomas-Greenfield said. "And now all we need is to have Hamas accept this deal, release hostages that they are required to do in phase one, and move forward on an extended ceasefire."

The negotiations have been complicated by the high death toll surrounding the Saturday hostage rescue mission in which Israel commandos freed four hostages but left scores of people dead — both Hamas fighters as well as an unknown number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children. Israel said the casualties were less than 100, while Hamas claims more than 270 people died in the aftermath of the mission.

"We cannot ignore the fact that Hamas hides behind civilians. They were holding hostages in civilian areas. They are firing at IDF from civilian areas," Thomas-Greenfield said. "So, it is Hamas that should be held accountable for any actions that are taken that lead to civilian deaths. They don’t care about their Palestinian civilians as long as they continue to use civilians as cover."

HAMAS SEEKS 'PERMANENT CEASEFIRE': Hamas has reacted positively to the passage of the U.S.-sponsored U.N. resolution and in a statement said it welcomes the move and is ready to work with mediators in indirect negotiations with Israel to implement it.

“Hamas welcomes what is included in the Security Council resolution that affirmed the permanent ceasefire in Gaza, the complete withdrawal, the prisoners’ exchange, the reconstruction, the return of the displaced to their areas of residence, the rejection of any demographic change or reduction in the area of the Gaza Strip, and the delivery of needed aid to our people in the Strip,” the group said in a statement.

The first phase of the plan calls for the release of more hostages and a temporary pause in the war while negotiations continue, with the goal of a permanent end to hostilities. 

"Here's what it would include," Biden said 11 days ago, "a full and complete ceasefire; a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of Gaza; a release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. There are American hostages who would be released at this stage."

The second stage would include "an exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers. Israeli forces would withdraw from Gaza," Biden said. "And as long as Hamas lives up to its commitments, a temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal, 'the cessation of hostilities permanently.'"

UN SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES US CEASEFIRE RESOLUTION

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

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HAPPENING TODAY: The Senate Armed Services Committee begins the process of marking up the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act with subcommittees starting to consider amendments that will produce a bill that will set policy for the Pentagon and outline the priorities for next year’s budget, which is capped at $850 billion by last year's debt ceiling deal.

The Senate committee has set aside the entire rest of the week to work on the must-pass legislation, with two subcommittees beginning work tonight and a full slate of subcommittees scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, with a final full committee session set for 9:30 a.m. Friday.

GAZA AID DELIVERY RESUMES BY SEA AND AIR: The Pentagon said yesterday it has resumed flowing humanitarian aid into Gaza by way of the temporary floating pier, which has been repaired and reattached to the shoreline after it was damaged by heavy seas.

But at the same time, the U.N. World Food Program, which actually distributes the aid, said it has paused distribution while it conducts a security review to assess the safety of its staff.

The Pentagon said the pier was re-anchored to the shore on Friday and was operational on Saturday. "As I understand it, the sea states on [Sunday and Monday] have prevented additional aid from flowing across the causeway, but all indications are that that will commence again [Tuesday]," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, Pentagon press secretary, told reporters yesterday. "The [pier] will continue to deliver aid into the assembly area, where then NGOs like World Food Program will pick it up and take it onward for further distribution. As to their operations, I’m going to have to refer you to them."

Also yesterday, the U.S. Central Command announced it resumed humanitarian airdrops in northern Gaza on Sunday, the first airdrops in more than a month. "A U.S. C-130 dropped more than 10 metric tons of meals ready to eat, providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance in northern Gaza," Ryder said. "To date, the U.S. has airdropped more than 1,050 metric tons of humanitarian assistance in addition to the assistance delivered by the [sea] corridor."

UKRAINE BLUNTING RUSSIAN PROGRESS IN NORTH, MAKING PROGRESS IN SOUTH: Facing a fierce defense by newly rearmed Ukrainian forces, Russian advances in the northern Kharkiv region of Ukraine have largely stalled without significant gains in the past few weeks.

"I think the fact that you’ve seen essentially the Russians really slow down in terms of the progress that they were making near Kharkiv," Ryder said yesterday, "[that] demonstrates that A) the Ukrainians can continue to hold the line and B) that that assistance is getting to them."

Meanwhile, in the south, where Ukraine is under no restrictions on using long-range ATACMS rockets against targets in occupied Crimea, Ukraine is having considerable success in degrading Russian air defenses and disrupting supply lines both over land and by sea.

"Ukrainian forces conducted a strike against Russian air defense assets in occupied Crimea overnight on June 9 to 10, likely with ATACMS," the Institute for the Study of War said in its nightly update. "The Ukrainian General Staff reported on June 10 that Ukrainian forces struck a Russian S-400 air defense battery near occupied Dzhankoi and two S-300 batteries near occupied Chornomorske and Yevpatoria."

Ukrainian strikes scored direct hits on the radar stations of each battery "and caused secondary ammunition detonations." One indication that the attacks are degrading the Russian air defenses is that none of the 10 Ukrainian missiles were shot down.

The British Defense Ministry said Russia has positioned floating barges around the Kerch Bridge that links Crimea to Russia in an attempt to defend against Ukrainian seaborne drone attacks. The eight barges are designed to reduce the angle of attack against the key bridge that Russia has been using again to supply its forces in Crimea, having lost much of its Black Sea Fleet to Ukrainian drones and missiles.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

THE RUNDOWN: 

Washington Examiner: UN Security Council approves US ceasefire resolution

Washington Examiner: Blinken arrives in Middle East to push ceasefire deal after hostage rescue

Washington Examiner: Coast Guard Academy official resigns and claims she was told to lie about sexual assault

Washington Examiner: War buskers: Ukraine musicians raise money to send drone to front line for brother

Washington Examiner: Judge Cannon rejects Trump effort to dismiss counts against him in classified documents case

Washington Examiner: Gerry Connolly says he has never seen Europeans 'as anxious' about Trump winning

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Viktor Orban's nationalist sovereignty jelly

AP: Ukraine's Air Force May Keep Some F-16 Warplanes Abroad to Protect Them from Russian Strikes

Newsweek: Drone Strike May Have Damaged 2 of Russia's Most Advanced Combat Jets

AP: US lifts weapons ban on a high-profile Ukrainian military unit with a checkered past

Breaking Defense: Inside Ukraine, Startups Try to Edge Russia in the Electronic Warfare Race

Bloomberg: Putin Prepares For Rare Visits To Security Partners North Korea And Vietnam

New York Times: As His Political Alliance Breaks Up, Netanyahu Faces a Battle at Home

New York Times: The Other War: How Israel Scours Gaza for Clues About the Hostages

Reuters: Pentagon Says Israel Did Not Use Gaza Pier In Hostage Operation

Air Force Times: US Air Force Resumes Humanitarian Aid Drops into Gaza

Wall Street Journal: Boeing's Urgent Mission: Training Thousands of Rookies to Safely Build an Airplane

Defense One: Air Force's Mideast Drone Unit Eyes a 'Stateside Element'

Air & Space Forces Magazine: How the Air Force Slashed EW Update Time From Weeks to Hours

Breaking Defense: New Pentagon AI & Data Chief Plans Big Initiatives for Fall, from Back Office to Battlefield

SpaceNews: New Direct-to-Cell Satellite Tech Could Disrupt Billion-Dollar Military SATCOM Programs

DefenseScoop: Air Force Launches New Experimental Chatbot Powered by GenAI

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Tech Sergeant Promotions Inch Back Up After Tough Few Years

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Fourth- and Fifth-Gen Fighters Hold Combat Training in Hawaii

Military.com: Air Force Sees Increased Testing for PFAS Contamination in Response to More Stringent Federal Guidelines

Marine Corps Times: Six Decades Later, Marine Vietnam Veteran Awarded Silver Star

THE CALENDAR: 

TUESDAY | JUNE 11

9:15 a.m. 1789 Massachusetts Ave. NW — American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research book discussion: The Melting Point: High Command and War in the 21st Century, with author retired Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, executive director, Florida Center for Cybersecurity and former commander of U.S. Central Command https://www.aei.org/events/unveiling-the-melting-point-a-book-event

9:45 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion of a new report, “Friendshoring the Lithium-Ion Battery Supply Chain,” with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK); Rory Heslington, vice president of government affairs at Autos Drive America; and Vanessa Sciarra, vice president of trade and international competitiveness, American Clean Power Association https://www.csis.org/events/report-launch-friendshoring

10 a.m. — Jewish Institute for National Security of America virtual discussion: "The Israeli Hostage Rescue," with retired Israeli Maj. Gen. Yaakov Amidror, distinguished fellow, JINSA; retired Israeli Maj. Gen. Yaacov Ayish, senior vice president for Israeli Affairs, JINSA; and Michael Makovsky, president and CEO, JINSA https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register

10 a.m. — Brookings Institution virtual discussion: “EU Can’t always get what you want: Unpacking the European Parliament elections,” with Carlo Bastasin, nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe; Anna Grzymala-Busse, nonresident senior fellow, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe; Constanze Stelzenmuller, senior fellow and director, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe; and Asli Aydintasbas, visiting fellow, Brookings Center on the U.S. and Europe https://www.brookings.edu/events/eu-cant-always-get-what-you-want

11 a.m. — Atlantic Council discussion: “Debriefing the European Elections,” with Celia Belin, head, European Council on Foreign Relations Paris office; Rym Momtaz, research fellow for European foreign policy and security, International Institute for Strategic Studies; and Mark Scott, Politico chief technology correspondent https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/debriefing-the-european-elections/

11 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: "Latest developments on the Korean Peninsula and the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance,” with U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Philip Goldberg https://www.csis.org/events/impossible-state-live-podcast-special

12 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave., NW— Center for Strategic and International Studies in-person and virtual book discussion: The Melting Point: High Command and War in the 21st Century, with author retired Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie, former commander, U.S. Central Command, and Emily Harding, deputy director, CSIS International Security Program https://www.csis.org/events/melting-point-book-talk-general-frank-mckenzie

1 p.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council discussion of a new report, “Friend-Sourcing Military Procurement: Technology Acquisition as Security Cooperation," with report author James Hasik, executive in residence at Renaissance Strategic Advisors, and Brett Lambert, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, and managing director, Densmore Group https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/integrating-defense-capabilities

2 p.m. 1779 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace discussion: “A Pivotal Year: Assessing the Russia-Ukraine War in 2024,” with former Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk; Hanna Shelest, director of security programs, Foreign Policy Council Ukrainian Prism; Michael Kofman, senior fellow, CEIP Russia and Eurasia Program; and Dara Massicot, senior fellow, CEIP Russia and Eurasia Program https://carnegieendowment.org/events

3:30 p.m. 342 Dirksen — Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Investigations Subcommittee hearing: “Coast Guard Oversight: Sexual Assault and Harassment," with testimony from Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan http://www.hsgac.senate.gov

WEDNESDAY | JUNE 12

4:10 a.m. Budapest, Hungary — Joint news conference by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban streamed live on the NATO website

9 a.m. — Atlantic Council virtual discussion: beginning at 9 a.m., on a new report, “A Global South with Chinese Characteristics,” with Demetri Sevastopulo, Financial Times U.S.-China correspondent; David Shullman, senior director, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; Niva Yau, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; William Piekos, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; Oscar Meywa Otele, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Global China Hub; and Victoria Chonn-Ching, nonresident fellow, Atlantic Council Latin America Center https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/a-global-south

10 a.m. 2172 Rayburn — House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing: “Great Power Competition in the Western Hemisphere," with testimony from Brian Nichols, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs; Todd Robinson, assistant secretary, State Department Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs; Michael Camilleri, acting assistant administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development https://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/great-power-competition

10 a.m. 2167 Rayburn — House Transportation and Infrastructure Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee hearing: “Recapitalization of the U.S. Coast Guard.” http://transportation.house.gov

10:30 a.m. 2154 Rayburn — House Oversight and Accountability National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing: "Addressing Oversight and Safety Concerns in the Department of Defense’s V-22 Osprey Program," with testimony from Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, commander of U.S. Naval Air Systems Command; Peter Belk, performing the duties of the assistant secretary of defense for readiness; and Gary Kurtz, program executive officer for air anti-submarine warfare and special missions programs in the Defense Department http://oversight.house.gov

11 a.m. 1211 Connecticut Ave. NW — Henry Stimson Center virtual discussion: “India’s Post-Election Foreign Policy,” with former Indian Envoy to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria; Sohini Bose, associate fellow, Observer Research Foundation; and Jabin Jacob, associate professor at Shiv Nadar University https://www.stimson.org/event/indias-post-election-foreign-policy

12 p.m.  1211 Connecticut Ave. NW — Henry Stimson Center discussion: “Opportunities for strategic partnership across the Indo-Pacific,” with Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell https://www.stimson.org/event/a-conversation-with-kurt-campbell/

12 p.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Hudson Institute discussion: “The New Iron Triangle: Achieving Adaptability and Scale in Defense Acquisition,” with Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA); Aditi Kumar, Defense Innovation Unit; Lt. Gen. Robert Collins, Army Acquisition Corps; Mitch Skiles, Palantir Technologies; Andy Green, HII Mission Technologies; Joe Laurenti, Ursa Major; Michael Brasseur, Saab; Michael Hiatt, Epirus; and Josh Martin, Varda Industries https://www.hudson.org/events/new-iron-triangle

1 p.m. — Center for a New American Security virtual book discussion: Lost Decade: The U.S. Pivot to Asia and the Rise of Chinese Power, with co-author Robert Blackwill, senior fellow for U.S. foreign policy, Council on Foreign Relations; co-author Richard Fontaine, CNAS CEO; and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post national security reporter https://www.cnas.org/events/virtual-event-lost-decade

2 p.m — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “Understanding the Growing Collaboration Between Russia and Iran,” with Jon Alterman, director, CSIS Middle East Program; Max Bergmann, director, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program; and Hanna Notte, nonresident senior associate, CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program https://www.csis.org/events/understanding-growing-collaboration

3:30 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion: “Integrating Space for the Joint Fight,” with Col. Bryon McClain, program executive officer for space domain awareness and combat power at Space Systems Command; Shannon Pallone, program executive officer for battle management command, control, and communications at Space Systems Command; Stephen Kitay, senior director of Microsoft’s Azure Space; Nate Notargiacomo, head of HEO USA; and Frank Di Pentino, chief strategy officer, True Anomaly https://www.csis.org/events/integrating-space-joint-fight

4:30 p.m. — Atlantic Council virtual book discussion: Battleground Ukraine: From Independence to the War with Russia, with author Adrian Karatnycky, Atlantic Council nonresident senior fellow, and David Frum, staff writer, the Atlantic https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/book-launch-battleground

THURSDAY | JUNE 13

TBA Brussels Belgium — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hosts the 23rd meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group. Introductory remarks and post-meeting news conference livestreamed at https://www.defense.gov/News/Live-Events/

TBA Brussels, Belgium — Meeting of NATO defense ministers June 13-14, with news conferences both days from NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_225365.htm

8 a.m. 7920 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, Virginia — Potomac Officers Club 2024 Army Summit, with Doug Bush, assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology, and Army Chief Information Officer Leonel Garciga https://potomacofficersclub.com/events/poc-9th-annual-army-summit/

9:30 a.m. — U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission virtual hearing, “China’s Stockpiling and Mobilization Measures for Competition and Conflict" https://www.uscc.gov/hearings/chinas-stockpiling-and-mobilization-measures

10 a.m. 1501 Langston Blvd., Arlington, Virginia — Air and Space Forces Association discussion: "Air Force efforts to prepare for great power competition,” with Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Allvin https://www.afa.org/events/air-space-warfighters-in-action

10 a.m. 2172 Rayburn — House Foreign Affairs Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee hearing: “The Plight of Americans Detained Abroad," with testimony from Rena Bitter, assistant secretary of state for consular affairs; Roger Carstens, State Department special presidential envoy for hostage affairs; and Raj Maan, director of the FBI's Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell http://foreignaffairs.house.gov2 p.m. 310 Cannon — House Homeland Security Committee hearing: “A Cascade of Security Failures: Assessing Microsoft Corporation’s Cybersecurity Shortfalls and the Implications for Homeland Security," with testimony from Microsoft Vice Chairman and President Brad Smith http://homeland.house.gov

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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Under your current restrictions … Ukrainian forces are only able to strike near Kharkiv in Russia. This policy restriction defies congressional intent and must be revised immediately to best allow Ukraine to defend its territory and win this war. I also ask that you provide Ukrainians with the requested intelligence to allow for real time targeting."
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a letter to President Joe Biden calling for an end to restrictions on Ukraine's use of U.S.-supplied weapons
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