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​US Has Two Backup Ways to Military Support Ukraine Without Approved Federal Budget

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Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

One of them is quite an interesting program called Excess Defense Articles, the other is the opportunities enabled by an accounting mistake resulting in billions of spare dollars to spend on weapons

While the military aid for Ukraine remains hanging due to political disputes in the United States of America, along with the entire state budget for 2024, Washington still has two backup plans for continuing the materiel support to the European country fighting against the russian invasion.

The first is a supply of weapons without financing the replacement. The second is the Excess Defense Articles mechanism, Defense News specifies.

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Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

As for the former, Defense Express reminds that after the accounting error was discovered in summer 2023, the U.S. Department of Defense has re-evaluated the funds allocated for Ukraine aid, with some USD 4 billion still left to spend on weapons and equipment. However, for now those remain just balance sheet funds, not an active resource, because the Pentagon is forbidden from any extra spending until the new federal budget is approved.

Therefore, it takes a volitional decision to use this money, earmarked for the Presidential Drawdown program, an authority that allows the US President to send military equipment from the Pentagon's arsenals.

For a reminder, the "spare" money appeared after an internal audit in the US defense department discovered an error: the wrong method of counting the value of equipment that had been sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine — the items were valued at the cost of their replacement, instead of the actual market price, resulting in a discrepancy of $6.2 billion amounted throughout 1.5 years of inaccurate accounting.

Though worth noting, some of those funds have already been spent as part of the assistance packages in August and October 2023, thus only about $4 billion are left to work with.

Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense
Illustrative photo credit: U.S. Department of Defense

The other backup way to send weapons and equipment to Ukraine is the Excess Defense Articles, as explained by Defense News, it is a program the United States uses to help Post-Soviet countries transition away from russian arms. Instead of disposing of scrapping American weapons, the US sends them abroad, while the recipient covers the cost of refurbishment and delivery.

What's important for Ukraine is that through this program, Washington can encourage the operators of Soviet-era equipment to bid farewell to their aging weapons and hand them over to Ukraine in favor of more modern Western models received as compensation.

For example, in such way Ukraine has already gotten the Afghan Mi-17 helicopters from the Pentagon's stocks and Mi-24 attack rotorcraft from the Czech Republic, the latter receiving AH-1Z Viper and UH-1Y Venom instead, Greece was expected to provide its BMP fighting vehicles in exchange for 300 M2 Bradleys.

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