Daily on Defense: Russia-North Korea alliance, bipartisan push to name Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, National Guard chief says border troops misused, latest pier problems

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PUTIN'S NEW BEST FRIEND: Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Vietnam today, having been feted for two days in North Korea, where he signed a mutual defense agreement committing each country to help the other if attacked.

"The Treaty on Comprehensive Partnership signed today contemplates, among other things, mutual assistance in the event of aggression against one of the parties thereto," Putin said in a joint appearance with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "I would like to draw your attention to the statement from the United States and other NATO countries about the supply of long-range high-precision weapons, F-16 aircraft, and other technology-intensive arms and equipment for delivering strikes at Russian territory. In fact, it was not just a statement. It is already happening. … In this context, the Russian Federation does not rule out developing military and technical cooperation with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea under the document signed today."

Kim called the occasion "an important event" that "will forever shine in the history of the development of friendly relations between the DPRK and the Russian Federation."

The text of the document was released today, and the state-run Korean Central News Agency said the security pact states that "in the case any one of the two sides is put in a state of war by an armed invasion from an individual state or several states, the other side shall provide military and other assistance with all means in its possession without delay."


BLINKEN: NORTH KOREA AND CHINA BOTH AIDING RUSSIA: The U.S. says that help from North Korea and China is what is keeping the war going in Ukraine. 

"We've seen Russia try, in desperation, to develop and to strengthen relations with countries that can provide it with what it needs to continue the war of aggression that it started against Ukraine," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday. "North Korea is providing significant munitions to Russia and other weapons for use in Ukraine."

Blinken also said the U.S. has "deep concerns" about China, which while not providing weapons is providing what Russia needs to keep its defense industrial base going to produce "more tanks, more munitions, more missiles."

"Deepening cooperation between Russia and the DPRK [North Korea] is a trend that should be of great concern to anyone interested in maintaining peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula, upholding the global nonproliferation regime, abiding by the U.N. Security Council resolutions, and supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their freedom and their independence against Russians’ aggression," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. 

"Putin's visits to North Korea demonstrates and confirms the very close alignment between Russia and authoritarian states like North Korea, but also China and Iran," said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "This also demonstrates that our security is not regional. It's global. What happens in Europe matters for Asia, and what happens in Asia matters for us. And this is clearly demonstrated in Ukraine, where Iran, North Korea, China are propping up, fueling Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine."


Good Thursday 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: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have scheduled a press conference for 12:30 p.m. to announce the introduction of their bipartisan bill to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law.

State sponsors of terrorism are defined as "having repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism." Countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism under U.S. law include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. 


NATIONAL GUARD CHIEF: NO MILITARY VALUE TO BORDER MISSION: In testimony this week before a Senate subcommittee, Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, lamented that the troops he must maintain at the U.S.-Mexico border are supporting a law enforcement mission that has no military value.

"We have about just under 2,500 guardsmen on the southwest border under Title 10, serving under USNORTHCOM," Hokanson told the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense on Tuesday.

"There is no military training value for what we do. This is a law enforcement mission under the Department of Homeland Security," Hokanson said, noting that for the troops, the mission is tantamount to being deployed in a far-off land because of the separation from their families.

"For our guardsmen there, they might as well be deployed to Kuwait or somewhere overseas because they’re away from their families," Hokanson said. "They’re doing mission sets that are not directly applicable to their military skill set. And so, it increases their personal operational tempo. And that time, I think, would be better utilized building readiness to deter our adversaries."

THE PROBLEM-PLAGUED GAZA PIER: The Pentagon said its $230 million floating pier off the coast of Gaza will resume deliveries of humanitarian aid this week, but the future of the problem-plagued project seems in doubt.

The pier, meant as a stopgap measure to get food and supplies to famished civilians, has been out of commission more days than it's been able to operate due to high seas that broke it apart and problems securing aid once it made it to shore. Last week, it was towed to Ashdod, Israel, to avoid damage from rough seas.

"We expect it will go operational again this week, and I don’t have a specific date to give you right now," Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said at Tuesday's Pentagon briefing. "There’s always going to be a variety of factors to take into account, to include the conditions on the ground, the weather."

The pier project "has largely failed in its mission, aid organizations say, and will probably end operations weeks earlier than originally expected," the New York Times reported.

"Look, we’ve said all along, first of all, that the pier is a temporary measure. I don’t have any dates to announce in terms of when it will cease operations," Ryder said. "We’re looking forward to getting it operational again soon and to delivering aid. We’re going to capitalize on the conditions, in terms of weather, to get as much aid across that pier as we can.'

MISSILES AND DRONES TO TAIWAN: The State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has notified Congress of the approval of two proposed weapons sales to Taiwan: $60 million for 720 Switchblade 300 anti-personnel and anti-armor drones and $300 million for 291 ALTIUS 600M-V unmanned loitering drones. 

"This proposed sale serves U.S. national, economic, and security interests by supporting the recipient's continuing efforts to modernize its armed forces and to maintain a credible defensive capability," the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. "The proposed sale will help improve the security of the recipient and assist in maintaining political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region."



Washington Examiner: Russian invasion of Ukraine 'galvanizing force' behind NATO spending ramp-up

Washington Examiner: What the Russia-North Korea security agreement actually means

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Washington Examiner: Putin shows loyalty concern by promoting children of top allies

Washington Examiner: Hezbollah leader warns 'no place' in Israel would be safe in major war

Washington Examiner: US soldier arrested in Russia sentenced to almost four years in prison

Washington Examiner: Putin arrives in North Korea to continue strengthening partnership

Washington Examiner: NATO chief pushes China to choose a side: The West or authoritarians

Washington Examiner: Vandenberg Space Force Base conducts test launch of new reentry vehicle

Washington Examiner: Republicans call Biden immigration moves an election-year 'amnesty'

Washington Examiner: Hawley slams 'social experiment' military draft of women: 'Leave our daughters alone'

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Rep. Mike Flood: Biden's failures on China diminish America's standing

Washington Post: Tehran on track to triple output of enriched uranium

AP: Putin signs deals with Vietnam in bid to shore up ties in Asia

AP: Russia obliterates Ukraine’s frontline towns faster with hacked bombs and expanded airbase network

The Guardian: Mark Rutte Lined Up to Be NATO Secretary General After Orban Deal

AP: Far-right leader Bardella backpedals on taking France out of NATO strategic military command

Wall Street Journal: Drones in Ukraine Get Smarter to Dodge Russia's Jamming Signals

Breaking Defense: Northrop Planning to Build Munitions Inside Ukraine

Washington Post: Ukraine claims to be winning its war on corruption. The West says: do more.

AP: A US aircraft carrier and its crew have fought Houthi attacks for months. How long can it last?

Breaking Defense: US Approves Sale of Hundreds of One-Way Attack Drones to Taiwan

Reuters: Blinken Discusses China’s Actions In South China Sea With Philippine Counterpart

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Air Force's New Goal: 24 Deployable Combat Wings

Defense One: What Will Happen to the Air Force's Next-Gen Fighter Jet?

Military.com: After Deadly Crashes, New 'Leading Theory' on Osprey Issues Points to Sprag Clutches

The War Zone: Australian F/A-18F Super Hornets to Test Launch U.S. Air Force's Hypersonic Cruise Missiles

Air & Space Forces Magazine: New Report: B-52J Initial Operational Capability Will Slip Three Years to 2033

SpaceNews: Space Force Takes Another Swing at Modernizing Satellite Ground Systems

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Air Force, Lockheed Test New Reentry Vehicle for Sentinel ICBM

Air & Space Forces Magazine: 

Air & Space Forces Magazine: B-2 Bombers Land on Guam for First Time in 5 Years

Air Force Times: Master Sergeant Earns Bronze Star for Leadership After Al Asad Attack



8:30 a.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Hudson Institute discussion: “Transatlantic Relations ahead, Washington Summit,” with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), co-chairwoman, NATO Observer Group, and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), co-chairman, NATO Observer Group https://www.hudson.org/events/transatlantic-relations-ahead-washington-summit

11 a.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave. NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies discussion: “Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy,” with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH); Heather Williams, director, CSIS Project on Nuclear Issues; and Kari Bingen, director, CSIS Aerospace Security Project https://www.csis.org/events/nuclear-weapons-and-foreign-policy

12 p.m. 188 Russell — McCain Institute fireside chat on "the importance of NATO and the fight for freedom and democracy around the world," with Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and John Boozman (R-AR) https://www.mccaininstitute.org/d-day-event

3 p.m. — Hudson Institute virtual discussion: "Challenges to NATO," with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC), co-chairs of the NATO Observer Group, and Peter Rough, senior fellow and director of the Center on Europe and Eurasia at Hudson https://www.hudson.org/events/transatlantic-relations


10:30 a.m. 1701 Pennsylvania Ave NW — Center for a New American Security virtual discussion: 'AUKUS: Taking Stock and Looking Forward," with Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Madeline Mortelmans, acting assistant secretary of defense for strategies, plans, and capabilities; Paul Myler, deputy head of mission Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C.; Matthew Steinhelfer, AUKUS senior adviser, U.S. State Department; Trevor Taylor, director, Defence, Industries, and Society Programme; Nishank Motwani, senior analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute; Lisa Curtis, senior fellow and director, CNAS Indo-Pacific Security Program; and Philip Shetler-Jones, senior research fellow, Indo-Pacific security, Royal United Services Institute https://www.cnas.org/events/virtual-event-aukus-taking-stock

10:30 a.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Hudson Institute discussion: “The Black Sea Region as a Global Inflection Point,” with Romanian Foreign Minister Luminita-Teodora Odobescu https://www.hudson.org/events/black-sea-region-global-inflection-point

12:30 p.m. 300 First St. SE — Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies discussion: “Immigration Policy and Enforcement: A Debate on the Right,” with Michael Buschbacher, partner at Boyden Gray; John Ehrett, chief counsel to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO); Gene Hamilton, executive director, executive vice president and general counsel, America First Legal Foundation; and Ryan Newman, general counsel to the Florida executive office https://fedsoc.org/events/immigration-policy-enforcement-a-debate


1 p.m. — Center for a New American Security virtual book discussion: If Confirmed: An Insider's View of the National Security Confirmation Process, with author retired Marine Maj. Gen. Arnold Punaro, former staff director, Senate Armed Service Committee, and Stacie Pettyjohn, senior fellow and director, CNAS Defense Program https://www.cnas.org/events/virtual-event-if-confirmed

THURSDAY | JUNE 279:30 am — Center for Strategic and International Studies and Republic of Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration conference: "CSIS-DAPA 2024: The Potential for Expanding Defense Cooperation within the ROK-U.S. Alliance," with Douglas Bush, assistant Army secretary for acquisition, logistics, and technology; Seok Jong-gun, ROK minister, Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Cynthia Cook, director, Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group, and senior fellow, CSIS International Security Program; Jedidiah Royal, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs; Stacie Pettyjohn, senior fellow and director, CNAS Defense Program, Center for a New American Security; Scott Sendmeyer, acting director of policy, analysis, and transition; Park Jin A, director, Defense Industry Advancement Support Division, Defense Industry Promotion Bureau; and Han Seung Jae, director general for defense export program, Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement https://www.csis.org/events/csis-dapa-2024-potential-expanding-defense-cooperation

"There is no military training value for what we do. This is a law enforcement mission. … They're doing mission sets that are not directly applicable to their military skill set. … That time, I think, would be better utilized building readiness to deter our adversaries."
Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, in testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Tuesday, on the deployment of 2,500 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.
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