Although the U.S. has the funding to continue to support Ukraine’s war efforts in the short term, Pentagon officials underscored today that more funds will be needed to continue to assist Ukraine in the long term.
The Defense Department has remaining approval to send about $5.4 billion worth of military equipment to Ukraine through presidential drawdown authority, and also has about $1.6 billion on hand now to replenish its own stocks after sending those weapons and munitions.
Continuing to support Ukraine and continuing to replace its own stocks remain top priorities for the Defense Department. Meeting those goals will require assistance from Congress, said Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh during a briefing today at the Pentagon.
“We have enough funding authorities to meet Ukraine’s battlefield needs for just a little bit longer, but we need Congress to act to ensure there is no disruption in our support, especially as the department seeks to replenish our stocks,” Singh said. “We have seen bipartisan support for Ukraine in Congress and we urge members of Congress to keep their commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure the passage of support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment,” she said.
This past weekend Congress passed a continuing resolution — in lieu of a full fiscal year 2024 funding bill — which will keep the federal government open until mid-November. That stop-gap funding effort, however, includes no additional funds to assist in Ukraine’s war effort.
Singh said Pentagon officials continue to communicate with lawmakers on the Hill, to discuss ways to secure more funding for Ukraine.
The U.S. has committed about $43.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s unprovoked invasion in February 2022. That funding has come in two ways. Under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, for example, the U.S. contracts for new military hardware from defense contractors and then sends that equipment to Ukraine once it is ready. The U.S. has also sent a substantial amount of equipment to Ukraine through presidential drawdown authority. Under PDA, equipment that is already in U.S. military inventory is pulled from the inventory and sent overseas.
Right now, Singh said, there is no more USAI funding available to contract for newly-manufactured military hardware. But there does remain authorization to pull as much as $5.4 billion worth of hardware from U.S. military inventory through PDA and send that to Ukraine.
Once that equipment is gone, the DOD hopes to replace it with new gear, and the department has about $1.6 billion on hand to accomplish that. Singh said that the department is requesting more funding to help replenish stocks depleted due to PDA, but she also reiterated that the department has been careful in drawing down military hardware for Ukraine so that it does not put its own readiness at risk.
“We’ve been very public here from the podium here saying that we’re not going to drop below certain levels,” she said. “But we do know that replenishing our stocks is a priority for this department, as we continue to send and flow aid to Ukraine.”
The DOD has so far sent 47 security assistance packages to Ukraine, and Singh said the department will continue to exercise it’s authority to send support to Ukraine in the form of PDA.
“We’re still putting together packages,” Singh said. “You’re going see … our regular cadence continue, which is usually weekly or every other week, give or take.”
Source: US Departement of Defanse