By DoD News
By Jim Garamone
With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine taking a new turn, the United States continues to deliver military capabilities to Ukraine, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks said Tuesday.
Even before Putin’s attack began Feb. 24, the United States was delivering aid to the nation. Over the past year, the United States provided $2 billion in aid to Ukraine, with $1.7 billion of it going to the country since the invasion began.
Javelin anti-armor and Stinger air defense systems get most of the press, but the aid also encompasses small arms ammunition, radios, rations and more. “I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of the ability to identify what’s needed, work with allies and partners, work with industry, work inside the services and then move that capability forward and get it into Ukraine,” she said. “Just an incredibly impressive set of work.”
To sustain the effort, the Defense Department “must work with those allies in the industry that supports us and supports them,” she said.
To ensure the U.S. can supply what Ukraine requires in both the short and long term, DOD is working along three lines of effort, Hicks said. The first is direct support to Ukraine — identifying what the military needs immediately. This also encompasses working with allies and partners to identify capabilities and work with them to move those capabilities to Ukraine expeditiously, she said.
DOD has two means to deliver capabilities to Ukraine. One is drawdown authority, in which the president can authorize the transfer of equipment, articles or services in an emergency. The other is the Ukrainian security assistance initiative that Congress authorized. “Congress and the President have both been very clear that they are happy to provide other authorities, if we need that,” she said.
The second line of effort involves coordinating with the more than 30 nations who are providing aid to Ukraine to ensure that they are adequately supplied to ensure their own security. “We want to make sure we’re working with all of those allies and partners to figure out where there might be some need for backfill for them,” the deputy secretary said. “Do they have things they want from our industry? That’s a whole effort underway with armaments directors throughout NATO … and beyond.”
The third line of effort is the industry resilience piece that is meant to address the long-term aspect of the war. She met with Business Executives for National Security yesterday, and the DOD is convening a meeting of the department’s largest prime contractors tomorrow to discuss its requirements across broad portfolio areas.
Officials said the meeting “will discuss industry proposals to accelerate production of existing systems and develop new, modernized capabilities critical to the department’s ongoing security assistance to Ukraine and long-term readiness of U.S. and ally/partner forces.”
This third line of effort will also help replenish American stocks of weapons, she said. Over the long term, it is critical that the DOD build enduring strength for U.S. forces, allies and partners by building the U.S. industrial base to face the challenges of supply for both the current conflict and conflicts in the future, Hicks said.