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Pentagon scrapes together $300 million aid package as Ukraine about to run out of ammunition

A LITTLE MORE AMMUNITION: Even as the Pentagon is $10 billion in the hole for ammunition already sent to Ukraine, through a little budget wizardry it’s come up with some $300 million in paper savings from future ammunition purchases to justify sending another tranche of U.S. HIMARS missiles and artillery rounds to Ukrainian troops, who are on the verge of running out.

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“When Russian troops advance and its guns fire, Ukraine does not have enough ammunition to fire back. That’s costing terrain. It’s costing lives. And it’s costing us, the United States and the NATO alliance, strategically,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters in announcing the latest package drawn from the U.S. inventory. “This ammunition will keep Ukraine’s guns firing for a period, but only a short period. It is nowhere near enough to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs, and it will not prevent Ukraine from running out of ammunition in the weeks to come.”

The money is coming from “contract award savings” being returned to the Pentagon’s ammunition replenishment fund as the result of “good negotiations.”

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“In one instance, with 25 mm ammunition, we were buying 120,000-plus rounds,” a senior defense official said. “We estimated initially a unit cost of $130 each, but we ended up getting a better price of $93.”


A ONE-SHOT DEAL: “We certainly can’t count on this as a way of doing business,” said the senior official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon yesterday. “This is a bit of an ad hoc, or a one-time shot. We don’t know if or when future savings will come in.”

“Today’s announcement provides a short-term stop gap, but it is nowhere near enough to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. “Without supplemental funding, DOD will remain hard-pressed to meet Ukraine’s capability requirements at a time when Russia is pressing its attacks against Ukrainian forces and cities.”

With House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) refusing to send to the floor a $95 billion aid bill passed by the Senate, which includes aid not just for Ukraine but also for Israel and Taiwan, House Democrats have launched an effort to force a vote on a bipartisan House alternative. The long-shot effort to get 218 members to sign on to a discharge petition is complicated by the fact some left-wing Democrats oppose the move over objections to aid to Israel. 

“The only way to get relief to the Ukrainians and the Israelis quickly is for the House to figure out how to pass the Senate bill,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said yesterday. “Anything that’s changed and sent back here as you all know even the simplest thing can take a week in the Senate. We don’t have time for all of this.

“We’ve got a bill that got 70 votes in the Senate,” McConnell said. “Give members of the House of Representatives an opportunity to vote on it. That’s the solution.”


TOUGH TALK FROM POLAND’S TUSK: President Joe Biden met at the White House yesterday with Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Donald Tusk, ostensibly to mark the 25th anniversary of Poland joining NATO. While Biden committed to a $2 billion loan to Poland to help modernize its military along with the sale of nearly 100 Apache attack helicopters, much of the conversation centered on the need to continue support of Ukraine.

Duda also met on Capitol Hill with McConnell and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-NY), as well as separately with Johnson, who posted a smiling handshake photo with Duda on X.

But afterward, Tusk was quoted as saying he hoped Johnson got the message that aid for Ukraine is about saving lives. “I also hope that the voice from Poland will influence and change the attitude of the speaker of the House,” Tusk said, according to a post on X. “Mr. Johnson, he must be aware and I hope that he is already aware that on his individual decision depends the fate of millions of people. In fact, on his decision depends thousands of lives in Ukraine.”

“This is not some political skirmish that only matters here in America,” Tusk reportedly said. “The absence of this positive decision of Mr. Johnson will really cost thousands of lives there, children, women. He must be aware of his personal responsibility.”


Good Wednesday 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


HAPPENING TODAY: TIKTOK VOTE: A bill that would require the Chinese firm ByteDance to divest its ownership of the video-sharing app TikTok appears headed for passage in the House today, but it faces an uncertain fate in the Senate.

“We are not calling for a ban of TikTok but a divestment,” Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), said at yesterday’s House hearing in worldwide threats, where Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testified she “cannot rule out” that China could use TikTok to influence the 2024 elections.

Krishnamoorthi said there is already stark evidence of how the app can be used by China to influence U.S. public opinion. On the morning the bill was being marked up, he said that a “pop-up message and push notification” went out to thousands and thousands of users across the country. 

“Essentially, it said, ‘Stop a TikTok shutdown. Congress is planning a total ban of TikTok,’” Krishnamoorthi said. “What was very interesting to us is that the app actually used the geolocation targeting data associated with minor children to push this notification to them to cause them to then call many congressional offices with thousands and thousands of phone calls. Now, when they called these offices, they ask the questions such as the following: ‘What is Congress? What is a congressman? Let me have my TikTok back.’”

“The kind of thing you’re describing illustrates why this is such a concern,” FBI Director Christopher Wray responded. “Americans need to ask themselves whether they want to give the Chinese government the ability to control access to their data, whether they want to give the Chinese government the ability to control the information they get through the recommendation algorithm, and whether they want to give the Chinese government the ability to leverage the data, the software on their devices, which allows the Chinese government to compromise their devices if they so choose to exercise.”


MARINE ‘FAST’ TEAM TO HAITI: The U.S. Southern Command announced in the early hours of this morning that at the request of the State Department, the U.S. is sending a rapid reaction force of Marines known as a FAST team to boost security at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in response to the deteriorating political situation in Haiti.

The Marines, part of a “Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team,” will provide security and relieve some of the Marines who are part of the regular security team at the embassy. 

“​​The U.S. Embassy remains open, and limited operations continue, focused on assistance to US citizens and supporting Haitian led efforts to secure a peaceful transition of power,” Southcom said in the early morning statement. “U.S. Southern Command is prepared with a wide range of contingency plans to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in Haiti,” a spokesman added. 

The U.S. does not plan to provide troops for a multinational security support mission but is working with Haitian, Kenyan, and other partners to “expedite its deployment to support the Haitian National Police and to restore security in Haiti.”

BUCK SURPRISE DEPARTURE CUTS GOP HOUSE MAJORITY: House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), already working with a razor-thin majority in the House, was reportedly caught by surprise by Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-CO) announcement that he’s leaving Congress — not at the end of his term but at the end of next week.

“It is the worst year of the nine years and three months that I’ve been in Congress. And having talked to former members, it’s the worst year in 40, 50 years to be in Congress,” Buck told CNN. “This place has just evolved into this bickering and nonsense and not really doing the job for the American people.”

Buck’s abrupt departure will reduce the GOP majority in the House to only five seats and trigger a special election on June 25 in his solidly Republican Colorado district, the same day as the party primary. It also complicates the plans of Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), who moved to the district in a bid to replace him. 

“This place just keeps going downhill, and I don’t need to spend my time here,” Buck told reporters, insisting his mind is made up. “Mike Johnson’s ability to talk me into staying here is going to be about as successful as his ability into talking me into unconstitutional impeachments.”

In an appearance on Fox, Johnson lamented that when you factor in dissenters in his caucus, his majority is even thinner. 

“Right now, we have control of only [one-half of one-third] of the federal government. And we have the smallest margin in U.S. history,” Johnson told Fox News host Jesse Watters last night. “We have a two-vote margin in the House. And in a week, it will go down to a one-vote margin for our House Republican majority.”

“When you have a situation like that, you’re not going to get appropriations bills that you like. And we have fought tooth and nail,” Johnson said. “We need a larger majority.”



Washington Examiner: Biden greenlights $300 million in emergency Ukraine aid

Washington Examiner: Ukraine to ‘run out of ammunition in weeks’ without more US aid

Washington Examiner: Biden renews push for Ukraine aid in meeting with Polish leaders

Washington Examiner: Fight for Ukraine aid complicated by dueling petitions to force vote in House

Washington Examiner: Pentagon alerted of potential ‘maritime mass migration’ from Haiti

Washington Examiner: Bernie Sanders leads senators demanding Biden stop arming Israel until it expands aid

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Washington Examiner: Israel suggests Biden trying to ‘overthrow’ Netanyahu

Washington Examiner: How Biden’s political Left is creating a rift in his relationship with Netanyahu

Washington Examiner: TikTok legislation could face stonewall in the Senate from bipartisan skeptics

Washington Examiner: US ‘cannot rule out’ that China will use TikTok to influence 2024 election

Washington Examiner: Shark Tank host offers to buy TikTok to make it ‘an American company’

Washington Examiner: Bipartisan bill forcing sale of TikTok could hit free speech roadblocks

Washington Examiner: House Republicans make rare break with Trump on TikTok bill: ‘He’s wrong’

Washington Examiner: Robert Hur says there’s ‘evidence’ Biden kept classified documents for $8 million book deal

Washington Examiner: Texas tells Biden new immigrant processing facility is ‘an expensive Band-Aid on a gunshot wound’

Washington Examiner: House passes resolution condemning Biden’s border policies with help from Democrats

Washington Examiner: Ken Buck departing ‘dysfunctional’ House early in a further slip of Johnson’s GOP majority

Washington Examiner: Biden reaches delegate threshold for 2024 Democratic nomination

Washington Examiner: Trump reaches delegate threshold for 2024 Republican nomination

Washington Examiner: Editorial: Deal with the TikTok national security threat now

Washington Examiner: Opinion: No to an AI armistice with China

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Turkey is not a friend of the West

AP: Putin says Russia is ready to use nuclear weapons if its sovereignty or independence is threatened

Politico: White House expected to send more ATACMS to Ukraine

Wall Street Journal: Israel and Hezbollah Exchange Fire as Tensions Flare on Lebanon Border

New York Times: ‘Jamming’: How Electronic Warfare Is Reshaping Ukraine’s Battlefields

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7:15 a.m. 2425 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Virginia — Association, U.S. Army “Coffee Series,” with Gen. Charles Hamilton, commanding Gen. of U.S. Army Materiel Command https://www.ausa.org/events/coffee-serie/gen-hamilton

9 a.m. 2212 Rayburn — House Armed Services Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation Subcommittee hearing: “Too Critical to Fail: Getting Software Right in an Age of Rapid Innovation,” with testimony from Richard Murray, professor of control and dynamical systems and bioengineering, California Institute of Technology; Daniel Patt, senior fellow, Hudson Institute; Ellen Lord, former undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment https://armedservices.house.gov/hearings/citi-hearing

9 a.m. — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace virtual discussion: “Can the U.S. and Europe Coordinate Counter-Coercion With Taiwan?” with Gudrun Wacker, nonresident senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs’s Asia Research Division; Enoch Wu, founder and executive director of Forward Alliance; Isaac Kardon, senior fellow for China studies at the CEIP Asia Program; and Evan Feigenbaum, CEIP vice president for studies https://carnegieendowment.org/2024/03/13/can-united-states-and-europe-coordinate

10 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “The war in Ukraine and Ukraine’s membership to the EU,” with Jovita Neliupsiene, European Union ambassador to the U.S., and Kathleen McInnis, director, CSIS Smart Women, Smart Power Initiative https://www.csis.org/events/welcome-us-eu-ambassador-neliupsiene

10 a.m. 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Brookings Institution discussion: “Delivering on nuclear deterrence,” with Frank Rose, principal deputy administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration https://www.brookings.edu/events/delivering-on-nuclear-deterrence

12 p.m. — New America virtual book discussion: The Achilles Trap: Saddam Hussein, the CIA, and the Origins of America’s Invasion of Iraq, with author Steve Coll, dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism https://www.newamerica.org/future-security/events/the-achilles-trap

3 p.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council discussion: “Baltic Bulwark: Latvia’s Transatlantic Role,” with Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/baltic-bulwark-prime-minister-evika-silina

3:30 p.m. — McCain Institute discussion to mark the third anniversary of the Levinson Act on the national crisis of hostage-taking and the U.S. government’s response. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keeping-faith-with-american-hostages

5 p.m. 1521 16th St. NW — Institute of World Politics discussion: “Finland and Northern European Security,” with Finnish Ambassador to the U.S. Mikko Hautala https://www.iwp.edu/finland-and-northern-european-security/


8 a.m. 2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, Virginia — Potomac Officers Club “Achieving Transformative Cooperation for National Defense Forum,” with Rhys Williams, executive director, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Steven Morani, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for sustainment https://potomacofficersclub.com/events

9 a.m. 1744 R St. NW — German Marshall Fund of the U.S. discussion: “Latvian-U.S. security cooperation and 20 years of Latvian membership in the NATO alliance,” with Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds and Kristine Berzina, managing director of GMFUS North https://www.gmfus.org/event/conversation-latvian-defense-minister-andris-spruds

9:30 a.m 216 Hart — Senate Armed Services Committee hearing: “The posture of U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Southern Command,” with testimony from Air Force Gen. Gregory Guillot, commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command; and Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander, U.S. Southern Command https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings

10 a.m. 1030 15th St. NW — Atlantic Council and NBC News discussion: “Reporters at Risk: On The Frontlines in Ukraine and Gaza,” with Yaroslav Trofimov, chief foreign affairs correspondent at the Wall Street Journal; Benjamin Hall, correspondent at Fox News; Erin McLaughlin, correspondent at NBC News; Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa program coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists; Almar Latour, CEO of Dow Jones and publisher at the Wall Street Journal; Adrienne Arsht, executive vice chairwoman, Atlantic Council, founder, Atlantic Council’s Latin America Center and the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Center; and Courtney Kube, national security and military correspondent at NBC News https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/reporters-at-risk

10 a.m. — Middle East Institute virtual discussion: “Iran’s Record-Low Election Turnout: Why Voters Stayed Away and What It Means for the Islamic Republic’s Future,” with Arash Ghafouri, CEO of Stasis Consulting; Leily Nikounazar, freelance journalist and researcher for the New York Times; Mehrzad Boroujerdi, vice provost and dean of the Missouri University of Science and Technology College of Arts, Sciences, and Education and professor of political science at the Missouri University of Science and Technology Department of History and Political Science; and Alex Vatanka, senior fellow and director, MEI Iran Program https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register

10 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Perspective on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Autonomy at the DOD,” with Matt Turek, deputy director, DARPA Information Innovation Office https://www.csis.org/events/darpa-perspective-ai-and-autonomy-dod

10:30 a.m. 419 Dirksen — Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: “U.S. Strategy in the Pacific Island Region,” with testimony from Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Ely Ratner, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific security affairs http://foreign.senate.gov

10:50 a.m. Brussels, Belgium — Joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Polish President Andrzej Duda at NATO Headquarters https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news

11 a.m. — Government Executive Media Group virtual discussion: “State of the Marines,” with Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Eric Smith https://events.defenseone.com/state-of-defense

12 p.m. 1000 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Cato Institute forum: “Taiwan’s Urgent Need for Asymmetric Defense,” with Michael Hunzeker, associate professor at George Mason University; Alex Velez-Green, senior policy adviser at the Heritage Foundation; Eric Gomez, Cato senior fellow; and Justin Logan, director of defense and foreign policy studies at Cato https://www.cato.org/events/taiwans-urgent-need-asymmetric-defense

3 p.m. 1200 South Hayes St., Arlington, Virginia — Rand Corporation discussion: “Climate Change and Conflict: Implications for U.S. Central Command,” with Chris Backemeyer, deputy assistant secretary of state for assistance coordination/regional and multilateral affairs; Greg Pollock, Pentagon principal director for arctic and global resilience; Jeffrey Martini, associate director, Rand Strategy, Doctrine, and Resources Program; Karen Sudkamp, associate director for infrastructure, immigration, and security operations at the Rand Homeland Security Research Division; and Vago Muradian, founder and editor, Defense and Aerospace Report https://www.rand.org/events/2024/03/climate-change-and-conflict.html3 p.m. — Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft virtual book discussion: The Showman: Inside the Invasion That Shook the World and Made a Leader of Volodymyr Zelensky, with author Simon Shuster, reporter for Russia and Ukraine at Time; Mark Episkopos, adjunct professor of history at Marymount University and research fellow at the Quincy Institute’s Eurasia Program; and Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, senior adviser at the Quincy Institute and editorial director, Quincy Institute’s Responsible Statecraft magazine https://quincyinst.org/events/book-talk-the-showman-inside-the-invasion-that-shook-the-world