Today's D Brief: $600M in more US aid to Ukraine; Army wants to triple artillery production; China’s anti-revolt police; Pope’s arms-export blessing; And a bit more.
The United States military is sending Ukraine another $600 million in rockets, radars, and supplies—including cold-weather apparel in advance of the harsh winter months ahead, the Pentagon announced Thursday evening.
More artillery rounds for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems are coming; another 36,000 rounds of 105mm artillery and a thousand precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds are inbound as well. Unspecified counter-drone systems are included, along with claymore mines and mine-clearing equipment. Four counter-artillery radars are included; and so are more night vision devices, small arms, and trucks and trailers to help transport it all. Review the complete list via the Defense Department, here.
Keeping tabs: “In total, the United States has committed approximately $15.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration,” the Pentagon said in a statement. And that includes “more than $15.1 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked and brutal invasion on February 24.”
Ukraine’s military says they’ve found a possible mass grave outside of the recently-liberated city of Izium. So far, they believe they’ve found 440 bodies in the sandy soil of a pine forest—with impossible-to-miss wooden crosses distributed in staggered intervals over mounds of earth. “If it is confirmed that hundreds were killed by Russian forces,” the New York Times reports, “it would be the largest such mass grave to be uncovered in the seven-month-long war.”
Don’t miss: “The letters left behind by demoralized Russian soldiers as they fled,” via the Washington Post, reporting from Izium on Thursday.
Coverage continues below the fold…
From Defense One
Army Wants to Double Or Triple Some Arms Production As Ukraine War Continues // Caitlin M. Kenney: GMLRS, HIMARS, and artillery rounds top the list.
Lawmakers Highlight ‘Urgency’ To Train Aussie Submariners As AUKUS Celebrates One Year // Jacqueline Feldscher: “Whether you’re developing a workforce to build it or those to operate it, the sooner we begin that training pipeline, the better off we will be,” Rep. Donald Norcross said.
The Air Force Has A Plan To #Fixourcomputers and More // Lauren C. Williams: After airman complaints go viral, USAF CIO promises to make the service’s IT more generally reliable and capable.
Anduril Unveils Deployable Military Operations Center // Marcus Weisgerber: The company hopes the military will test its tech during an upcoming exercise.
White House Announces New Restrictions on Foreign Investment in US Tech, Supply Lines // Tara Copp: Administration will require investments to be weighed on whether they will put U.S. national security at risk.
Welcome to this Friday 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. And check out other Defense One newsletters here. On this day in 1920, a horse-drawn wagon containing an estimated 100 pounds of dynamite and 500 pounds of iron was parked in front of the J.P. Morgan & Co. bank in New York City, and exploded when a timer detonated around noon that Thursday. Forty people were killed in the explosion, and another 143 were wounded. The culprits were never found, but they were believed to have most likely been anarchist sympathizers.
New: 204 days into Putin’s invasion, Pope Francis has finally given his blessing to nations sending weapons to Ukraine. Self-defense in such circumstances, the Catholic leader said Thursday, is “not only lawful but also an expression of love of country.”
Arming Ukraine, the Pope said, is “a political decision, which can be moral—morally acceptable—if it is done according to the conditions of morality.” But sending Ukraine weapons could, by Francis’s interpretation, be morally wrong “if it is done with the intention of provoking more war,” he told reporters on a plane after a three-day trip to a religious conference in Kazakhstan this week. He had planned to meet Putin’s own pope, Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church; but Kirill backed out of the Kazakhstan conference last month.
To elaborate a bit, the pontiff encouraged reflection “on the concept of just war,” and then shared what he considered to be a troubling list of current conflicts across the globe. That list, he told reporters, should give all of us pause because “for seventy years, the United Nations has been talking about peace, making many speeches about peace.”
“But right now, how many wars are going on?” he asked. “The one you mentioned, Ukraine-Russia; now Azerbaijan and Armenia which has stopped a bit because Russia has come out as a guarantor—guarantor of peace here and waging war there; then there is Syria, ten years of war—what happens there, why doesn't it stop? What interests do these things move? Then there is the Horn of Africa; then the north of Mozambique; and Eritrea which is next to Ethiopia; then Myanmar, with this suffering people that I love so much, the Rohingya people, who go round, round and round like a gypsy and find no peace. But we are in [a] world [at] war, please,” he said.
“War itself is a mistake, it is a mistake!” Pope Francis repeated. “And we are breathing this air right now: if there is no war it seems that there is no life. A bit messy, but I have said everything I want to say on this ‘just war’ issue,” he concluded, before adding, “But the right to defense? Yes, that's fine, but you have to use it when necessary.” Read over his full remarks Thursday, via a transcript from the Vatican, here.
For your radar: NATO’s leader is visiting the U.S. next week for the annual United Nations General Assembly, in New York City, which runs from Monday 19 September through Friday 23 September.
New: Poland just signed a deal with South Korea to buy 48 FA-50 Falcon fighter planes for $3 billion, the Associated Press reported Friday from Poland. Warsaw’s military on Friday praised the deal on Twitter as “one of the biggest and most important purchase[s] of the recent years.” It follows tank and howitzer contracts Poland signed with South Korea over the summer at a cost of nearly $6 billion. At this point in the planning, “the first 12 planes are to be delivered early in the second half of next year,” AP reports. Another three dozen planes are expected between 2025 and 2028.
Developing: Five Russian-installed officials have reportedly been killed on occupied Ukrainian territory in the past 24 hours, according to Mathew Luxmoore of the Wall Street Journal, reporting from Kyiv on Friday. That includes “Two in Luhansk, one in Kherson, and two more in Berdyansk,” he tweeted. If confirmed, “it would demonstrate the growing reach of its intelligence deep inside Russian-held territory and could further demoralize Russian forces at a time when they have suffered stinging defeats on the battlefield,” he added.
Germany’s military chief says Russia’s reserve troops may be a much smaller force than outsiders had initially believed, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht told Reuters in an interview on Friday. “Nevertheless,” she cautioned, “one should not be mistaken: Russia is far from defeated and still has various military options.” Read more from that interview here and (with an eye to China) here.
New: China’s leader wants to launch a police training force to prevent “color revolutions” in Central Asia, Xi Jinping said during a speech to leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Friday. He wants the units to train as many as 2,000 officers over a five-year period, with a counterterrorism training base established at an unspecified location. He seems to have shared little else about the project; but you can read more at AP and Reuters, both reporting on location in Uzbekistan.
Also in Kazakhstan: India’s Modi rebuked Putin, saying “today's era is not an era of war,” according to public remarks Friday in Samarkand, according to Reuters. Putin reportedly responded by thanking India for buying Russian fertilizers, the sales of which “have grown more than eight fold,” said the Russian leader.
- “China's Xi skips dinner with Putin, allies as COVID precaution,” via Reuters, reporting from the final day of that SCO summit in Samarkand;
- “Germany Takes Control of Oil Refineries Owned by Russia’s Rosneft,” the Wall Street Journal reported Friday from Berlin; Reuters, AP, and the New York Times have similar coverage;
- “Russian parliament to consider summoning defense minister,” Reuters reported Thursday, citing the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant;
- “‘Torment of hell’: Ukraine medic describes Russian torture” to U.S. lawmakers, AP reported Friday from Capitol Hill;
- And ICYMI, “Prepare for Russia itself to disintegrate,” former U.S. Army Europe three-star general Ben Hodges warned Tuesday in The Telegraph.
And lastly this week: China says it will soon sanction the CEOs of Boeing Defense and Raytheon for their alleged involvement in recent U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, announced by the U.S. State Department two weeks ago, on Sept. 2. Those sales involved 100 Sidewinder and 60 Harpoon missiles, as well as a bundle of work related to radar surveillance and maintenance.
It’s unclear just yet how the sanctions will be enforced, or exactly what form they’ll take, Reuters reported Friday from Beijing. If this sounds familiar, it’s possibly because Beijing announced similar moves against both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon three days before Putin’s Ukraine invasion, in late February; however, Reuters notes “Friday's announcement marks the first time Beijing identified and imposed sanctions against individuals from these companies.”
Have a safe weekend, everyone. It’s getting cooler this time of year, so go on and plan that trip to a nearby national or state park over the next few days and weeks. And if we don’t see you out on the trails, we’ll catch you again on Monday!