The D Brief: More US aid to Ukraine; Kyiv strikes Russian drone warehouse; Air Force’s CCA costs rise; World of GPS, visualized; And a bit more.

The U.S. will soon send Ukraine another $2.3 billion in military aid, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Ryder said Tuesday. That includes “urgently needed air defense well as artillery and anti-tank weapons to support Ukraine's needs on the front lines,” he told reporters at the Pentagon. Read over the details, here.

Update: There are “currently over a dozen pilots training on the F-16 in both Denmark and the United States,” Ryder said Tuesday. “For operational security reasons, I'm not going to be able to get into the specific numbers of pilots at those locations and the training timelines…I'll let Ukraine talk to the specifics of where their pilots are and what their status is,” he added. 

Meeting of the minds: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Ukrainian counterpart Rustem Umerov spoke Tuesday at the Pentagon. Umerov updated Austin on the war, which is in its 29th month, and the two discussed next week’s NATO Summit in Washington, according to a post-meeting readout from Austin’s team. 

New: Ukrainian forces allegedly attacked an ammunition depot in occupied Crimea that reportedly housed Shahed drones overnight on Monday. According to a geolocated photo of the aftermath, the Ukrainians used cruise missiles to strike “the base of Russian military unit 99375 near occupied Flotske (south of Sevastopol),” analysts at the Institute for the Study of War wrote Tuesday evening. A Ukrainian officer on Tuesday posted a purported video of the scene from afar just moments after the attack; view that on Telegram, here

Newly revealed: Russian submarines have conducted at least two “unprecedented” missions around the Irish Sea (separating Ireland from Great Britain) since the Kremlin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported Monday. The first of those missions occurred about 18 months ago, and the latest one occurred more recently, three people familiar with the details said. 

Irish Sea trivia: “It would be challenging for a Russian submarine to successfully navigate the Irish Sea in full without breaching international law, due to the complexity of claims to territorial waters,” one of the sources told Bloomberg. This is partly because “Submarines legally have to transit on the surface of territorial waters,” and also because “The varying depths of the Irish Sea would make it difficult for a Russian vessel to travel in the waters submerged.” Continue reading, here

War machine latest: Russian oil and gas profits rose by more than 40% in the first half of the year compared to 2023, Russian finance officials said Wednesday, according to Reuters

Worth noting: “Russia-based economists have highlighted the poor quality of economic growth, saying that production of missiles and shells may contribute to higher GDP but offer limited benefit to the population.” Read on, here

Related reading: 

Welcome to this Wednesday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Ben Watson with Audrey Decker. Share your newsletter tips, reading recommendations, or feedback here. And if you’re not already subscribed, you can do that here. On this day in 1988, U.S. Navy warship USS Vincennes was in the Strait of Hormuz to escort Kuwaiti tankers during the Iran-Iraq war when the ship’s crew mistook a passenger airliner (Iran Air Flight 655) for an attacking Iranian F-14 Tomcat and shot it down, killing all 290 people aboard.

New: The U.S. Air Force’s “affordable mass” program might not be as affordable as initially thought. The Pentagon is asking Congress to shift over $3 billion for new programs and higher priorities, including the Air Force’s robot wingmen program known as collaborative combat aircraft, Inside Defense reported on Tuesday. 

What’s going on: The program needs an additional $150 million, above the $392 million originally requested in fiscal 2024. This request could raise some eyebrows because service officials have stressed since the beginning of the program that CCAs need to be affordable so they can deploy them en masse. However the service framed this reprogramming request not as a “cost growth” but as a “refinement of costs.” 

USAF: “The original estimates for FY-24 were developed two years ago,” service spokesperson Ann Stefanek said in a statement to Defense One. “Given the refinement of the program in the intervening years, the Air Force determined additional funds were required in FY-24,” she said, and explained, “There has been no actual cost growth, just a refinement of the costs based on what we know about the program now.”  

A U.S. airman was killed and others were injured in a humvee crash this past weekend. The apparent accident occurred Saturday at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, which is one of the Air Force’s key nuclear missile bases. The service uses humvees to patrol around missile fields throughout Montana and Wyoming. 

This latest tragic development follows a string of humvee crashes on U.S. nuclear missile fields, including two deadly incidents just last year. Read more at

A retired two-star Marine general was found dead at the Twentynine Palms base east of Los Angeles on Saturday, the LA Times reported this week. His name is Maj. Gen. William F. Mullen, and the 59-year-old was once a commander of the base; he retired four years ago. So far, there have been no mentions of foul play; but the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating. 

Additional reading: 

And lastly this (holiday) week: Catch an illustrated glimpse of how cluttered the world of GPS is in a new and impressive multimedia feature published Tuesday by the New York Times.

The gist: “The American GPS network that was once the gold standard is at risk of becoming a relic as Chinese, Russian and European systems modernize,” the Times writes as colored satellites whirl about on screen. 

Why bring it up? “The U.S. has no civilian backup system,” which in a conflict could mean “Delayed ambulances. Extended power cuts. [And] No cellphone signals.” There’s a lot more in this scrolling report/explainer, so check it out when you get some time over the July 4th break. 

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you again on Monday!