Today's D Brief: Biden’s Javelin tour; Invasion pause; MARCENT interview; SecDef, CJCS testify; And more.
United States President Joe Biden will visit Troy, Ala., today. Troy is about an hour south of Montgomery, and about two hours west of Georgia’s Fort Benning Army base. But it’s also home to Lockheed Martin's Pike County Operations facility, where more than 50,000 Javelin anti-tank missiles have been built over the past two decades.
The U.S. military has already sent Ukraine more than 5,000 Javelins under President Biden; Washington’s allies have sent Kyiv another 500 from their own stocks. And that frenetic pace of donations—possibly as much as a third of America’s total inventory, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies—has led observers to question how soon those U.S. stockpiles can be replenished. Those observers include our colleague, Marcus Weisgerber, who addressed the issue in our latest Defense One Radio podcast and in his recent reporting.
Other weapons assembled at Troy include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles; Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM); Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (LRASM); Joint Air-to-Ground Missiles (JAGM); and Hellfire missiles.
Employees at the Pike County plant cranked out close to 13,000 missiles last calendar year, according to the White House, which adds: “Currently, the facility has the capacity to produce up to 2,100 Javelin missiles, 468 JASSM and LRASM missiles, 11,000 air-to-ground missiles, and 96 THAAD missiles per year.”
New: The Brits just promised $375 million in additional military aid to Ukraine. The new support includes night-vision goggles, “heavy-lift” drones, as well as “electronic warfare equipment and a counter-battery radar system,” Reuters reported Monday from London.
The invaders (appear to have) hit pause. Russian-backed forces in Ukraine “did not conduct any confirmed ground attacks” on Monday, according to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War. Otherwise, “Russian forces on the Southern Axis continued to regroup and reconnoiter, likely in preparation for ground assaults in the direction of Kryvyi Rih, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhia.” Read more, here.
Coverage continues below…
From Defense One
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Lawmakers Worry Pentagon Will ‘Shortchange’ INDOPACOM’s Budget Request // Jacqueline Feldscher: More than a dozen members of the House Armed Services Committee asked appropriators to bring the Pentagon’s 2023 spending proposal up to INDOPACOM’s request.
Navy, Microsoft Team Up for R&D—and the Rights to Sell What Emerges // Mariam Baksh: The Seattle-based tech giant will get access to Naval Postgraduate School facilities and the chance to negotiate exclusive rights for technology it helps develop there.
The UN Must Do More for Ukraine—and Itself // James Jeffrey: Russia’s invasion of a sovereign state is also an attack on the basic principle the international body was founded to prevent.
Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Ben Watson with Bradley Peniston. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1951, the Senate’s Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees began closed-door hearings into POTUS33’s recent firing of Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The committees eventually determined that President Truman acted within his rights, “but the circumstances were a shock to national pride,” and that the U.S. “should never again become involved in war without the consent of the Congress.”
Despite doubling its defense budget from 2005 to 2018, the Kremlin is “unable to translate numerical strength into decisive advantage” in Ukraine, the British military said Tuesday. It attributes this to “failures both in strategic planning and operational execution” that have left Putin’s military “significantly weaker, both materially and conceptually, as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.” And Western sanctions, according to the Brits, are expected to “have a lasting impact on Russia’s ability to deploy conventional military force.”
Sweden and Denmark say a Russian spy plane violated their airspace on Friday. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod called it “completely unacceptable and extremely worrying in the current situation,” according to a tweet Sunday—one day before Kofod headed to Kyiv to reopen the Danish embassy there, meet his counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and speak with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Danish leaders in Copenhagen today. In the first of those meetings, Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen discussed pivoting to green energy sooner than later—and she also said “that we would like to see India use its influence with Putin.”)
Know any Russians that want to get in touch with U.S. intelligence? The CIA wants them to do so via the dark web, according to the Associated Press, reporting Monday. Read over the CIA’s instructions, shared via Facebook, here.
New: Russia’s invasion has “exacerbated food insecurity in Iraq and Syria,” according to the latest Congressionally-mandated quarterly report from the ongoing U.S.-led war against ISIS in the Middle East. “The prices of staple foods in the two countries—particularly wheat, but also cooking oil, rice, and sugar—increased dramatically during the quarter,” the authors write.
And Iraqi military helicopters may idle as they wait for repairs, since they’re “reliant on maintenance services provided in Ukraine,” according to that new inspector general report.
In case you’re wondering how long this ISIS war is expected to last, officials presented a new campaign plan in January that says the mission will be accomplished when partnered forces “can independently defeat” ISIS. The U.S. has set aside about $7 billion for that task in the current fiscal year. Read more in that IG report (PDF), here.
- “BP Takes $25.5 Billion Hit From Russia Exit,” via the Wall Street Journal, reporting Tuesday;
- “Russia Could Sell More Energy to Asia, but Has to Slash Prices,” via the New York Times, reporting Tuesday from Beijing;
- “What Does Listening to Air Raid Sirens for 300 Hours Do to Someone? In Kyiv, We’re Finding Out,” also via the Times, featuring the work of Ukrainian novelist Lyubko Deresh;
- “Ukraine is the focus, but Russian troops are in several ex-Soviet republics,” via NPR, reporting Monday;
- And “Ukrainian refugees at camp in Mexico City await US action,” via AP, reporting Tuesday from Mexico’s capital.
On Monday, POTUS46 met with the parents of Austin Tice, the freelance journalist and former U.S. Marine officer who was detained inside Syria 10 years ago this upcoming August. In the meeting, President Biden “reiterated his commitment to continue to work through all available avenues to secure Austin’s long overdue return to his family,” and vowed to “work relentlessly until Austin and other Americans held hostage and wrongfully detained worldwide are safely at home with their loved ones,” according to the White House.
SecDef Austin and CJCS Milley are on Capitol Hill today talking about the latest annual budget request for the military. That’s happening before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, and it started at 10 a.m. ET. Catch that live at C-SPAN, DVIDS, or via the Pentagon.
Air Force leaders are testifying about their service’s budget in the same building at Austin and Milley. SecAF Frank Kendall and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., are joined by Chief of Space Operations Gen. John Raymond as they sit before the Senate Armed Services Committee. That one began at 9:30 a.m. ET. Livestream via SASC, here.
A key State Department official is discussing Foggy Bottom’s budget request before the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee in a hearing that also began at 10 a.m. ET. Details here.
And lastly: Google and Microsoft are sending AI experts to discuss “artificial intelligence applications to operations in cyberspace” in front of SASC’s cyber subcommittee this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. ET. Details and livestream, here.
NEXT STORY: What’s Next for Marines in the Middle East?