The D Brief: NATO-summit sneak peek; Aid for Ukraine; Russia’s staggering toll; The Composite Age; And a bit more.

NATO’s 75th annual meeting begins Tuesday in Washington. And that’s almost exactly a week after the newest U.S. announcement of military support for Ukraine, totalling more than $2.4 billion. That batch includes HAWK air defense missiles, lots more artillery shells, small arms, and more. (Correction: An earlier version of this newsletter accidentally overstated the aid at $4 billion.)

Outgoing alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg dropped by the Pentagon Monday morning. This will be his final NATO summit as alliance chief before former Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte takes over for Stoltenberg sometime in the fall. The latter spoke Sunday about the alliance’s strengths and challenges in the months ahead. 

“In NATO, you have something that no other big powerhouse [has] and that is more than 30 friends and allies,” Stoltenberg told Robert Costa of CBS News on Sunday. “The United States is 25% of the world's GDP. Together with NATO allies we’re twice as much—50% of the world's economic and military might,” he said, and added, “So the United States is stronger also in addressing China together with NATO.”

And in terms of challenges, “China is the main enabler of Russia's war aggression against Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in his appearance on Face the Nation. “President Xi and President Putin, they all want NATO, the United States to fail in Ukraine. And if Putin wins in Ukraine, it will not only embolden President Putin; it also would emboldened President Xi, as the Japanese Prime Minister said [in April] what happens in Ukraine today can happen in Asia tomorrow.” 

As U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken previewed last week, alliance members are expected to announce a few air-defense equipment transfers to Ukraine at the alliance summit. The Financial Times reported in late June that those transfers will likely include U.S.-made Patriot systems, and some of those could come from the U.S., Germany, and Romania, according to Politico.

The Brits have a new government, and their new military chief just visited Ukraine to announce a new military aid package for Kyiv. This latest tranche will include 10 AS-90 artillery guns, a quarter of a million ammunition rounds, and 90 precision Brimstone missiles, Defence Secretary John Healey’s office said Sunday during his visit to the Ukrainian port city of Odesa.

“There may have been a change in government, but the UK is united for Ukraine,” Healey said in a statement. “This government is steadfast in our commitment to continue supplying military assistance and will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Ukrainian friends for as long as it takes,” he added.  

“Healey also directed officials to ensure that the promised package in April of military aid is accelerated and delivered in full to Ukraine within the next 100 days,” his press team said. That announcement included more Storm Shadow long-range precision guided-missiles, along with about 400 different vehicles and some 60 boats. 

Update: Western officials estimate 500,000 Russians have been killed or wounded during the ongoing Ukraine invasion and occupation. The Economist charted the estimated losses in a staggering chart published Thursday. 

“The recent milestone of 500,000 Russians killed or wounded is a reminder of how badly this war has gone for Russia,” British Chief of the Defence Staff Adm. Sir Tony Radakin said in his own statement on Sunday. “A free and democratic Ukraine, full of promise and hope, stands in jarring contrast to Russia’s trajectory of contraction and decline, and an increasingly authoritarian future under Putin,” he said.

Starlink update: “Russian volunteers continue to deliver Starlink terminals to the frontline forces, apparently have no issues purchasing them openly,” U.S.-based researcher Sam Bendett noticed on Telegram Sunday. 

Coverage continues below…

Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Ben Watson with Bradley Peniston. 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 1948, and less than a month after President Truman signed the Women's Armed Services Integration Act, the Air Force opened its ranks to women, with Esther McGowin Blake of the Women's Army Corps credited as the first to enlist.

A Russian missile barrage hit a children’s hospital in Kyiv on Monday, killing at least 19 people across the capital city in what CNN described as a “rare daytime aerial assault” during rush hour. A doctor told the BBC, “One part of the hospital was destroyed and there was a fire in another. It's really very damaged, maybe 60-70% of the hospital.”

Dozens of others were killed and injured across Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, President Volodymir Zelenskyy said on social media. The Associated Press put the number of those killed at 31 and the injured at more than 150. “Ukraine is currently initiating an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council due to the Russian strike on civilian infrastructure, including the children’s hospital,” Zelenskyy said during a Monday trip to Warsaw in neighboring Poland. 

A Ukrainian drone attack triggered a large warehouse explosion in a Russian village on the border with Ukraine Sunday. “The enemy stored surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, shells for tanks and artillery, and boxes of cartridges for firearms,” a Ukrainian official told AP. Russian officials claim air defense systems shot down all the drones, and debris sparked explosions in the warehouse. 

Back to the summit: NATO is expected to announce a Ukraine command, writes RAND’s Andrew Radin, who says the alliance’s first such organization since Afghanistan will succeed or fail on the same thing: U.S. support for the mission. Read his commentary at Defense One.

A U.S. agency that fights foreign disinformation will shut down without Congressional action. Conservatives have attacked the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, whose funding is set to expire in December. 

“I cannot figure out why Congress wouldn't want people to do what I do every day, which is wake up in the morning and figure out how to fight Russian, Chinese, and Iranian disinformation and propaganda,” James Rubin, the State Department’s special envoy and coordinator for the Global Engagement Center, said Tuesday during an Association of the U.S. Army event on cyber and information operations. “I think all Americans want that to happen. Unfortunately, a small number seem to think we do something else which we don't do, which is operate in the United States. And we've fallen into a guilt-by-association situation where people think we're doing something we're not doing in the United States.” D1’s Lauren C. Williams has more, here.

The U.S. has added a second European far-right group to its list of sanctioned terrorist organizations, writes Jason Blazakis, who formerly led the State Department office in charge of designating foreign terrorist organizations. That’s significant in itself, but it also illustrates why such groups have largely evaded the designation. Read more at Defense One, here.

And lastly: Nearly 60 years ago, the film “The Graduate” gave us a classic line about the future in a single word—plastics. But the Wall Street Journal reported last week that a similarly impactful age is upon us now in the form of composites. 

The gist: “Shifting substantial portions of what we make and use from steel and plastic to composites—which are amalgamations of a variety of fibers, embedded in a variety of plastics—could bring new kinds of transportation, more terrifying weapons of war, and lighter and more durable smartphones, wearables and other consumer electronics.”

One notable perk: Related materials “not subject to geopolitical supply chain issues linked to the world’s dominant suppliers of titanium, Russia and China.” Read on (gift link), here.