American weapons are being poured into Ukraine.
President Joe Biden requested that Congress give $33 billion of emergency aid to the countries fighting Russia and the US House increased the pot to $40 billion and with around 60% going towards security assistance in one shape or form. A bipartisan majority of the Senate is expected to pass the measure this week. This is an unprecedented increase that follows the swift transfer of billions of weapons already transferred.
As Russia’s harrowing attack is entering its third month it’s evident why the US is a key friend of Ukraine and an ally with 29 additional North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) nations, has declared aid to Ukraine as a top national security concern. It’s also worth taking a step back to think about the magnitude of the military aid going to Ukraine and what that means for the future of the country, and whether or not those weapons will get to where they’re supposed to be.
Comparing apples on US security assistance for Ukraine as compared the US security assistance to Ukraine versus other nations in the world is difficult due to the fact that assistance comes from a variety of different sources, and security assistance comes in various types. (This isn’t just a problem for Ukraine and tracking the many sources of security assistance that the US provides around the world is so complex that think organizations have entire programs dedicated to this. )
The most conservative assessment of US security aid directly for Ukraine. for Ukraine that was earmarked following Russia’s invasion on February 24 is $9.8 billion after Congress approves the new budget.
This includes the $6 billion that will go to an unnamed fund known as the Ukraine SecurityAssistance Initiative in the bill to come as per the document that was released through the
House Appropriations Committee. The money will be used to purchase weapons, salaries for military officials, as well as other types of logistics, intelligence, as well as training support. It’s in addition to the $3.8 billion worth of weapons that are from the US’s stockpiles, which are being shipped out by the Biden Administration has shipped from February.
“You know they’re ramping it up when they create a whole separate budget category for it,” says
Lauren Woods, who closely examines the budgets of arms as Director of the Centre for International Policy’s Security Assistance monitor. “This is a really enormous request, and I’m really not sure most Americans get how big this is.”
Compare Ukraine’s $9.8 billion with the $4 billion that the US provided in the year prior to Afghanistan prior to the US withdrawing troops. That’s roughly three billion or so that the US has provided to Israel every year for the past four decades.
The US has delivered anything including Javelin anti-tank missiles, Switchblade drones as well as body armor, and artillery as well as increasingly advanced equipment such as laser-guided rocket systems, surveillance radars, as well as Mi-17 helicopters, as described in the current list published by the Department of Defense. This is creating a significant impact in combat as Russia’s re-focused offensive in the eastern region sputters.
The tranche that is for Ukraine is just one part of the overall picture.
The figure could be larger, given that there’s $4 billion in foreign military finance (US taxpayer money to cover the other countries’ purchases of US weapons) allotted to Ukraine as well as NATO allies as part of the congressional budget.
Also, there’s $8.7 billion in the package of legislation that Congress has approved to replenish
US arsenals of weapons, possibly backfilling most of the weapons that have been given into Ukraine in the past since the Russian invasion began in February, notably missiles. The Biden administration has also sent missiles under the drawdown authority so that emergency weapons could be delivered to Ukraine as fast as they can.
Experts claim they’ve not seen these stockpiles taken from this size. Additionally, there’s $3.9 billion to European partners that support the mission (including the hardship payment for soldiers) and $600 million to help the US to expand its weapons production, and $500 million to the Pentagon to buy additional weapons, which in all is about $24 billion. That’s which is a staggering amount, as per the experts I talked to.
The US is without doubt the biggest arms supplier in the world and a provider of military assistance. It is a major component of American foreign policy, and so this kind of assistance is, in a sense quite normal. However, when taken together, the assistance to Ukraine is massive in comparison to the amount that the US sends to foreign countries in any particular year. According to the Security Assistance Monitor, US military aid globally averaged $20 billion most of the years prior to 2013, in 2007, which reached a peak at $30.6 billion.
In essence, it’s an enormous investment in Ukrainian as well as European security. If the conflict in Ukraine continues for years the amount of money could have to be renegotiated. not be long-term. Already, it’s influencing Ukraine’s response to Russia’s invasion, however, it could also have negative long-term consequences.
What could all these weapons be a significator for Ukraine?
In the last month, Biden was in the Lockheed Martin manufacturing plant that produces Javelins, or anti-tank missiles which are now the most sought-after weapon in Ukraine’s battle to defeat Russian forces. The visit showed the extent to which military support is integrated into US policies in foreign affairs, especially in conflicts in which the US will not directly participate.
“So these weapons, touched by the hands — your hands — are in the hands of Ukrainian heroes, making a significant difference,” Biden stated to employees at Lockheed’s Troy, Alabama, facility.
It was “unthinkable” for Biden to visit a weapon factory prior to it was time for the Ukraine war, says Elias Yousif, an analyst at the Stimson Center. “The president came into office promoting an expanded view of human rights considerations in US foreign policy,” He said to me. “The optics of touring the arms factory maybe just doesn’t align very well with that messaging.”
Biden’s attendance at Lockheed as well as the visit to an Ohio metals plant with officials from other arms producers a day later and a Pentagon meeting with other top executives from the arms industry to discuss ways to improve supply chain efficiency epitomized the rise of the president during wartime. William Hartung, a military budget expert from the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, claims that “certainly more than half” of the foreign military’s funding is deposited in the pockets of contractors for the military such as Lockheed.
The most crucial forward-looking concern is what happens with all of these weapons. Ukraine is ranked in the lowest third of Transparency International’s corruption rankings and there are concerns over Ukraine over the last few times as one of the connections of the illicit arms trade. “Ukraine certainly has problems with corruption, and if that’s the case in a country, you can be sure that some of these weapons will be lost or transferred or sold,” Woods who was a former State Department official, told me.
Senator. Rand Paul (R-KY) delayed the Senate legislation on Thursday when the senator called for a government watchdog to supervise taxpayer money that goes to Ukraine. “I think we all agree that oversight is crucial. That’s why the bill has millions to fund other oversight measures, such as an increase in funding for the existing inspectors general.” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said during a press conference.
Congress is incorporating an accounting system in the huge funding bill to monitor how weapons are actually bought as well as an “end-use monitoring” program to ensure that the weapons sent to Ukraine are in the right place. (The Arms Export Control Act of 1976 Arms Export Control Act mandates US transfer of weapons to have monitoring of the end-of-use. ) That’s not an all-encompassing solution. “In fact, the term ‘end-use monitoring’ is a bit of a misnomer, since it doesn’t actually monitor end-use,” Yousif explained to me. “What the system does is basically record the place and the administration of U.S.-based defense equipment. It doesn’t keep track of, for instance, how a nation or government utilizes the equipment, it just makes sure that the equipment is recorded in some manner.”
Daria Kaleniuk who is the executive director for the Anti-Corruption Action Center in Ukraine said it’s hard to keep track of the end-of-use in conflict, but the nation is working on it. “What I’m hearing from our armed forces and Ministry of Defense, is we are ready to implement whatever mechanisms are needed — digital tools, procedures to upgrade our system to the highest possible level in mind with NATO standards,” HTML0Kaleniuk told reporters while she was in Washington in Washington to promote the aid package that will be provided to Ukraine specifically F-16s sourced from American storage, tanks, and other modern weapons. “We desperately need weapons to win the war and are willing to do whatever is needed to make our NATO allies, especially the US, happy and trust us.”
It’s much easier to track the places where big weapons end up however ammunition and small arms are difficult to track and, in the past, when the transfers have been speeded up, they’ve often ended up in the hands of US adversaries.
The most likely scenario is an increase in arms that could cause consequences that spill over, perhaps making the US closer to conflict with Russia as a nuclear power. “Does it lead to escalation of the war, or even some engagement between US and NATO troops and Russian forces, like if Putin decides he’s going to bomb the supply lines for the weapons?” Hartung declared. “Going so quickly, with so little discussion, also raises that risk.”
The Biden administration has described the Ukrainian resistance to Russia as a struggle of liberty versus oppression and is one that’s worthwhile to invest in. Security assistance will “support Ukraine’s ability to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to stand against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault,” Jessica Lewis, the State Department’s assistant secretary of political and military issues spoke to that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week.
It is evident that the level of support immediately offered for Ukraine along with European allies extends beyond the peaks of the annual US security aid for Afghanistan as well as Iraq.