One day after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the U.S. started sending military aid to Ukraine in waves. U.S. allies and partners followed suit, and Ukraine has been able not only to stop but push back Russian forces with Western weapons.
The American-made FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank weapons and the British-made Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) have been a hit with Ukrainian forces, enabling them to destroy thousands of Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry fighting vehicles. Lots of other weapon systems have contributed too.
Drawdown authority allows the Pentagon to go to its own arms stockpiles and pick weapon systems to send to Ukraine.
The U.S. Department of Defense has sent the following packages of military aid to Ukraine:
- February 25: $350m
- March 12: $200m
- March 16: $800m
- April 1: $300m
- April 5: $100m
- April 13: $800m
- April 21: $800m
- April 24: $322m
- May 6: $100m
One very natural and expected question is whether the transfer of so many weapon systems to Ukraine is affecting U.S. military readiness.
“I can assure you that we are not at the point where our inventories of these systems have … or will imminently affect our readiness. We’re comfortable that our stocks are in keeping with our readiness needs. But we obviously know that, as these packages go on, and as the need continues inside Ukraine, we want to lead turn … We want to be ahead of the bow wave on that and not get to a point where it becomes a readiness issue,” Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby had said in April.
Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has played a key part in getting all of these billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine.
As of last week, the Pentagon had a mere $100 million left in drawdown authority, making the passage of the proposed massive package of aid to Ukraine necessary if the U.S. wishes to continue to support the Ukrainian military.