Daily on Defense: US puts Ukraine first in line, Putin says alliance with N. Korea 'nothing new,’ S. Korea reconsiders arms for Ukraine, Turner presses declassification of Russian anti-SAT weapon

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BY JAMIE MCINTYRE

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'A DIFFICULT BUT NECESSARY DECISION': As Russia uses its superior airpower to pummel Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure, the United States is taking the unprecedented step of diverting all of its air defense production to Ukraine.

"The United States government has made the difficult but necessary decision to reprioritize near-term planned deliveries of foreign military sales to other countries of, particularly, Patriot and NASAM missiles to go to Ukraine instead," John Kirby, White House national security communications adviser told reporters in a teleconference briefing yesterday. "We’re going to reprioritize the deliveries of these exports so that those missiles rolling off the production line will now be provided to Ukraine. This will ensure that we’ll be able to provide Ukraine with the missiles they need to maintain their stockpiles at a key moment in the war."

The White House is fleshing out the policy announced a week ago by President Joe Biden after he signed a 10-year security agreement with Ukraine in Italy. "We let it be known to those countries that are expecting from us air defense systems in the future that they’re going to have to wait," Biden said. "Everything we have is going to go to Ukraine until their needs are met."

"This decision demonstrates our commitment to supporting our partners when they’re in existential danger," Kirby said. "The broader message here to Russia is clear: If you think you’re going to be able to outlast Ukraine and if you think you’re going to be able to outlast those of us who are supporting Ukraine, you’re just flat-out wrong."

MISSILES, NOT SYSTEMS: The new policy applies to orders of missiles, not the launchers or associated radars and other systems. "We’re open to continue to look at the possibility of systems themselves being redirected," Kirby said, noting there is a "parallel effort" to convince other countries to contribute those systems to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

Yesterday, Romania stepped up and said it would send a Patriot system to Ukraine so long as the U.S. backfilled the capability. "Considering the significant deterioration of the security situation in Ukraine … council members decided to donate a Patriot system to Ukraine in close coordination with allies," Romania's Supreme Council of National Defence said in a statement on Thursday.

"This crucial contribution will bolster our air shield and help us better protect our people and critical infrastructure from Russian air terror," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a post on X, in which he expressed his appreciation of "Romania’s strong leadership and principled support for Ukraine."

Asked at the Pentagon if the U.S. will replace the Patriot system that Romania is donating, spokesman Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said, "We work with all of our partners to take into account what their defense needs are, and we’re going to do everything we can to support those."

WHITE HOUSE PRIORITIZES UKRAINE AID BY DELAYING SHIPMENTS TO OTHER ALLIES

Good Friday 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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PUTIN SAYS ALLIANCE WITH N. KOREA 'NOTHING NEW': In a news conference with Russian reporters in Hanoi yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed the new security agreement he signed with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week.

"This treaty is nothing new," Putin said. "We signed this agreement because the old agreement expired, and all the clauses were the same in our previous agreement, which I think was signed in 1962. There is nothing new here."

In response to the agreement, which calls on each side to "provide military and other assistance with all means in its possession without delay" in the event either Russia or North Korea is attacked, the South Korean government said it will "reconsider" its policy against supplying arms to Ukraine.

"It would be a very big mistake," Putin said. "I hope it will not happen. If it does, then we too will then make the respective decisions, which South Korea’s current leadership is unlikely to be pleased with."

On the other hand, Putin said South Korea has “nothing to worry about” so long as it doesn't commit acts of aggression against North Korea. "Regarding mutual military assistance, it is written there that it will be provided in the event of an aggression, a military aggression."

MORE NUCLEAR THREATS: Putin again raised the prospect of using low-yield "battlefield nukes" and floated the possibility of adjusting its doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons.

"We are still thinking about what can be changed in this doctrine and how," Putin said, according to the Kremlin transcript. "This is because new elements are arising (at least we know that the potential adversary is working on it) related to lowering the threshold for using nuclear weapons. In particular, ultra-low-power nuclear explosive devices are being developed, and we know that expert circles in the West are entertaining the idea that such weapons could be used."

"Putin's statement was likely partly in response to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's June 17 remarks that NATO members are discussing increased nuclear readiness in the face of growing threats from Russia and China, even though Stoltenberg did not discuss lowering the threshold for nuclear weapon use," the Institute for the Study of War said in its latest Ukraine war assessment

"The Russian nuclear doctrine calls for Russia to only use nuclear weapons in the event of 'exceptional cases' of threats to Russia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," the ISW noted. "Putin notably defined Russia's possible strategic defeat in Ukraine as the 'end of [Russia's] statehood' following his mention of lowering thresholds for nuclear weapon usage."

TURNER CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE DECLASSIFICATION OF PUTIN'S ANTI-SAT WEAPONS: In a speech yesterday, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called on the Biden administration to "immediately declassify all known information concerning the status of Russia's nuclear anti-satellite weapons program."

"Vladimir Putin thrives in secrecy. Putin's plans and weapons programs must be fully disclosed by the administration and understood by the world," Turner said in remarks delivered at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The Biden administration, only after having been challenged by a group of bipartisan members of the House Intelligence Committee, reluctantly declassified that Russia is developing a nuclear anti-satellite weapon intended to be placed in orbit in outer space. No additional information has been released," Rogers said. "News reports have speculated that the weapon is past development, exists, and is preparing to launch. Additional news reports have speculated that Russia already has a satellite in orbit that is a 'test' first phase of Russia's anti-satellite nuclear weapon system. Without confirming or denying the accuracy of any of these reports, the questions they raise must be answered by the Biden administration immediately."

At the White House, spokesman John Kirby rejected the idea that the U.S. is not taking the threat seriously enough and accused Turner of undermining "private engagements" with the Russians over their anti-satellite weapon.

"We have absolutely taken this very seriously," Kirby said. "We’ve been working this particular problem set from every possible angle, including through intense diplomacy with countries around the world and obviously through direct conversations with Russia."

"Publicizing this highly sensitive intelligence was highly irresponsible, and it was something that the intelligence community themselves had serious concerns with," Kirby said in reference to a letter Turner sent to the White House that revealed the Russian program. "We said at the time and we still are disappointed that that opportunity was prevented by Chairman Turner’s letter and thus making it public."

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER

THE RUNDOWN: 

Washington Examiner: The V-22 Osprey is trying to shed its reputation as a cursed deathtrap

Washington Examiner: White House prioritizes Ukraine aid by delaying shipments to other allies

Washington Examiner: US and Israel war of words escalates

Washington Examiner: Israeli military spokesman spars with Netanyahu over ability to defeat Hamas

Washington Examiner: Why Democrats' call to welcome Palestinian refugees is so complicated for Biden

Washington Examiner: Illegal border crossings drop to third-lowest level under Biden in May

Washington Examiner: Illegal immigrants charged with killing 12-year-old Texas girl were released by Border Patrol: Report

Washington Examiner: Biden keeps bungling the border: What sounds good in Washington looks much worse in Texas

AP: 'Teflon Mark' Rutte set to bring consensus-building skills from Dutch politics as next NATO chief

New York Times: Putin Threatens to Arm North Korea, Escalating Tension with West Over Ukraine

Financial Times: Philippines Secretly Reinforces Ship At Centre Of South China Sea Dispute

AFP: U.S. Pier Reattached To Gaza Coast, Aid Deliveries Resume

AP: Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky denies it's a hazard after the US Commerce Dept bans its software

Breaking Defense: US Needs to Invest in Cheaper Long-Range Drones for Taiwan Scenario, Report Says

Air Force Times: US Prepares to Open New Training Site for Foreign F-35 Pilots

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Watchdog: Air Force Plan to Divest Old F-22s Has Too Many Holes

Aviation Week: Northrop Grumman Gets Price Cap Increase for Upcoming B-21 Lots

Breaking Defense: Here's How DIU Will Spend Almost $1B This Year

Wall Street Journal: Honeywell Strikes $2 Billion Deal for Defense Business

Air & Space Forces Magazine: New Report: USSF's Missile Warning Satellites in All Orbits Face Challenges

Defense One: Ultrasecure Comms Could Give Special Operators a Leg Up

DefenseScoop: Pentagon CIO Tells Agencies, Industry to Put a Stop to Email Typos That Could Disclose Sensitive Info

Military.com: Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention Efforts Included in Must-Pass Defense Bill

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Tactical Vehicle Rollover on WWII-Era Road Leaves 2 Airmen Disabled

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Historic USAF Court-Martial Hits Snag as Too Many Generals Struck from Jury Duty

THE CALENDAR: 

FRIDAY | JUNE 21

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

4 p.m. Mountain View, California — House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee field hearing: “Military Innovation," with testimony from Army vice chief of staff Gen. James Mingus; Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. James Kilby; Assistant Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Christopher Mahoney; Air Force vice chief of staff Gen. Jim Slife; and Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. Michael Guetlein.  Livestream at https://www.youtube.com/live/oDpqPYi8xD8

MONDAY | JUNE 24

2 p.m. — Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies Schriever Spacepower Series discussion with Gen. Stephen Whiting, Commander, U.S. Space Command ​​https://go.afa.org/e/285922/er-series-gen-stephen-whiting

TUESDAY | JUNE 25

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 27

9:30 a.m. — 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

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QUOTE OF THE DAY
"The broader message here to Russia is clear: If you think you're going to be able to outlast Ukraine and if you think you're going to be able to outlast those of us who are supporting Ukraine, you're just flat-out wrong."
John Kirby, White House national security communications adviser, on the U.S. policy to send all new air defense missiles to Ukraine
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