As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine takes a new turn, the United States continues to provide military capabilities to Ukraine, Under Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks.
Hicks told the Defense Writers Group that the United States will provide the capabilities Ukraine’s military needs to counter the Russian invasion in the short and long term.
Even before Putin’s attack began on February 24, the United States was bringing aid to the nation. Over the past year, the United States has provided $2 billion in aid to Ukraine, of which $1.7 billion has gone into the country since the invasion began.
Javelin armor-piercing and Stinger air-defense systems get most of the press, but help also includes small arms ammo, 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 within services, and then drive that capability forward. and introduce it to Ukraine,” she said. “Just an incredibly impressive body of work.”
To support the effort, the Department of Defense “needs to work with the industry allies who support us and support them,” she said.
To ensure that the United States can provide what Ukraine needs in the short and long term, the DOD is working on three axes, Hicks said. The first is direct support to Ukraine — identifying what the military needs immediately. It also involves working with allies and partners to identify capabilities and working with them to quickly move those capabilities to Ukraine, she said.
The DOD has two ways to provide capabilities to Ukraine. One is drawdown authority, where the president can authorize the transfer of equipment, items, or services in the event of an emergency. The other is the Ukrainian security assistance initiative authorized by Congress. “Congress and the president have both been very clear that they are happy to provide further authority, should we need it,” she said.
The second line of effort is to coordinate with more than 30 countries providing aid to Ukraine to ensure they have enough supplies to ensure their own security. “We want to make sure that we work with all of these allies and partners to determine where there might be a replacement need for them,” the assistant secretary said. “Do they have things they want from our industry? It’s all an ongoing effort with NATO armaments directors… and beyond.
The third line of effort is industry resilience which aims to address the long term aspect of warfare. She met with business leaders for national security yesterday, and the DOD is calling a meeting of the department’s top prime contractors tomorrow to discuss her requirements in broad portfolio areas.
Officials said the meeting “will discuss industry proposals to accelerate production of existing systems and develop new modernized capabilities critical to Ukraine’s Department of Security’s continued assistance and long-term preparedness.” U.S. and allied/partner forces”.
This third line of effort will also help replenish US stockpiles of weapons, she said. Over the long term, it is critical that the DOD sustainably strengthen U.S. forces, allies, and partners in building the U.S. industrial base to meet supply challenges for both the current conflict and future conflicts, said Hicks.