President Biden recently announced yet another $600 million package for Ukraine, bringing the total for war materiel Ukraine has been given to $15.8 billion since President Biden took office.
Of that amount, $15.1 billion has been given to Ukraine since the February Russian invasion. I have reported regularly on the unprecedented amount of weaponry and funds funneling into Ukraine out of the United States, highlighting various possible issues, including weapons trafficking and fraudulent activities.
With the recent public disclosure of how much weaponry we have provided, it’s essential to understand how this is possible and what it could mean in the long term for the United States and the international community.
First, let’s look at what we’ve given and how we’ve done it.
— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) September 16, 2022
Quite The Laundry List
The recent $600 million arms package announced by the Biden administration was made possible through Joe Biden’s Presidential Drawdown Authority. For those unfamiliar, it allows the President to transfer “excess” weaponry from our stock supply.
President Biden isn’t the only Commander-in-Chief to flex this authority. President Barack Obama used it in 2014 to assist France in squashing terrorist activity in Mali, Niger, and Chad.
However, it’s hard not to take notice of President Biden’s use, given that he has utilized the authority a total of 21 times to transfer military assets from our inventories to Ukraine’s. Below is a mere snapshot of what has been provided in overall security assistance:
- Over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
- Over 8,500 Javelin anti-armor systems
- Over 32,000 other anti-armor systems
- Over 700 Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
- 126 155mm Howitzers and up to 806,000 155mm artillery rounds
- 2,000 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds
- 20 105mm Howitzers and 180,000 105mm artillery rounds
- 126 Tactical Vehicles to tow 155mm Howitzers
- 22 Tactical Vehicles to recover equipment
- 16 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems and ammunition
- 20 120mm mortar systems and 85,000 rounds of 120mm mortar rounds
- 1,500 Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles
- Four Command Post vehicles
- Eight National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and munitions
- High-speed Anti-radiation missiles (HARMs)
- 20 Mi-17 helicopters
- Hundreds of Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs)
- Four trucks and eight trailers to transport heavy equipment
- 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers
- 40 MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles with mine rollers
- Mine clearing equipment and systems
- Over 10,000 grenade launchers and small arms
- Over 60,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition
- Over 75,000 sets of body armor and helmets
- Approximately 700 Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems
- Laser-guided rocket systems
- Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems
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BREAKING: Congress has agreed on a bill to fund the government
UNFORTUNATELY: it’s the government of Ukraine
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) September 19, 2022
Winter is Coming
What I find the most fascinating about items being transferred from our stock to Ukraine is this recent package. Sometimes it’s not the bombs and bullets that are the most interesting, but the seemingly non-combative equipment that shines more light on a subject.
Part of the $600 million includes cold weather gear. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this war is expected to go into the winter months past next year. However, I suppose had you asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, back in February, he would’ve been surprised.
What with him estimating the invasion would only take 72 hours. Whoops.
However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wants to include more sophisticated weaponry. He has recently pushed for the United States to send him a missile system with a range of 190 miles.
A range like that could strike deep into Russian territory. However, President Zelensky promises he isn’t using the system to aim at Russian civilian cities. I believe he even pinky promised.
Still, President Biden is reluctant to send such a system, which is probably good. The Ukrainian plans for that missile system are allegedly for what they call a wider counteroffensive early next year.
It looks as though it will be a long winter and war.
"President Biden wants to avoid provoking Russia at a moment when American officials fear Vladimir V. Putin could escalate the war to compensate for recent losses."
— Ruslan Trad (@ruslantrad) September 17, 2022
It’ll Be Fine, I’m Sure
A fair concern is whether or not we are giving away too many weapons and bullets. What if we don’t have enough to fight our wars?
There isn’t always a third-party country available to fight our battles for us. But, don’t worry, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder says we have plenty of military stock.
He closed the book on the argument by stating:
“The bottom line is that U.S. military readiness is not in jeopardy or close to being in jeopardy.”
Not so fast, General Ryder. Those pesky unnamed officials think otherwise.
One such unnamed Defense official told the Wall Street Journal that 155mm combat rounds have become “uncomfortably low.” What does that mean? The same official said:
“It is not at the level we would like to go into combat.”
This could be a problem. As Brad Martin, Director of the Institute for Supply Chain Security at the Rand Corp, explains:
“Nations assume the risk that war is not going to take place, and have the assumption they can react when they need to.”
A boss once told me that when you assume something, you make an ass out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’ Unfortunately, that cute, slightly off-color phrase also rings true nationally.
— Mike (@trasplantedmike) September 19, 2022
But What About Europe
As if to make us feel better that we are the largest provider of security assistance, let alone the ones making the most significant inventory transfers, General Ryder explained that the United Kingdom had transferred about $2.3 billion. Whoa, hold on to your butts, everybody, a whole $2.3 billion.
To be fair, Europe doesn’t have the same capabilities we do, and comparing what we provide to what other countries can even provide is inaccurate. Nevertheless, it is interesting that the European Union is running out of supplies to help Ukraine.
European Union Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrel says that EU countries are severely depleted in their weaponry. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that Berlin is:
“…reaching the limits of what we can give out of the Bundeswehr.”
It should worry all of us that European countries are running out of the capability to support their Eastern European neighbor. This puts even more pressure on the United States to continue helping, if not increasing, that support.
Where do you think the EU, NATO, Europe goes when they need defense?
However, bullets, like cash, don’t grow on trees. It takes from 13 to 18 months from the time a munitions order is made for it to be manufactured.
Germany's reluctance to give tanks to Ukraine has been explained by Scholz's restrained policy towards Russia
Another reason that is gaining traction is that Germany wants to avoid an optical repeat of World War II, where German tanks clashed with Soviet ones
— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) September 15, 2022
Magic 8 Ball
So let’s see here; an invasion that the ‘experts’ said would squash Ukraine within 72 hours will head well into winter, if not longer. Unprecedented amounts of money and weaponry have been sent to the region, outpacing our defense acquisition and supply chain.
And now that Ukraine has managed to make an incredible gain in the Kharkiv Region, it looks as though some ‘experts’ believe we may be in even greater danger of this war escalating. General Milley said this week:
“The war is not going too well for Russia right now. So it’s incumbent upon all of us to maintain high states of readiness, alert.”
Do you think we are in a high state of readiness? I’m not so sure.
But don’t worry. President Biden is a measured politician known for choosing his words wisely.
Case in point yesterday on “60 Minutes,” when asked by Scott Pelley about Taiwan “…would U.S. forces defend the island?” the President said:
“Yes, if in fact there was an unprecedented attack.”
To which Mr. Pelley pressed for clarification:
“So unlike Ukraine, to be clear Sir. U.S. Forces, U.S. men and women would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion?”
What did President Biden say? “Yes.”
As has become commonplace, a “White House official” had to walk back Biden’s claim.
I’m not worried. Are you worried?
Apparently by "strategic ambiguity," the White House now means that Joe Biden says something about Taiwan and the night nurses come in and clean up after him.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 19, 2022
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