A senior Department of Defense official spoke to the media about US security assistance to Ukraine.
The current crisis in Ukraine has demonstrated the important role the Agency for Security and Defense Cooperation plays in executing US foreign policy, the official said.
The agency’s mission is broad, ranging from arms transfers and institutional capacity building to international military training and education and humanitarian assistance, the official said.
Since the start of the invasion, the DSCA has executed $2.3 billion in presidential levies on security assistance to Ukraine and $300 million under the Security Assistance Initiative of Ukraine on April 1, the official said.
The term Presidential Withdrawal is used when the President authorizes the withdrawal of military equipment from the existing US military stockpile.
“It’s a period of higher [operations tempo] and faster movement than we have ever done in our history,” the official said.
The official went on to describe how a presidential withdrawal works.
- Together with the Ukrainians and with the US European Command, a list of demands is drawn up and shared with those working on policy at the Pentagon. The coordination of stocks and deliveries is also done with allies and partners.
- A determination is made whether the US industrial base can replenish these stocks over time.
- The DSCA shares the list with the military departments, to determine if they have stock availability.
- Military departments are providing information on the readiness impacts of removing this equipment from US inventory.
- The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff provides his recommendations, and then a memorandum is sent to the Secretary of Defense for his approval of the withdrawal plan.
- The requirements package is then built.
- At that time, the President will conduct the draw.
- Then the secretary of the State Department signs a memo directing the DOD to execute, and then DSCA issues the executive order.
Although there seem to be a lot of steps, this whole process has been known over the past few months to be done in as little as 48 to 72 hours, which is unprecedented, the official said.
Another form of security assistance, the official said, is the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. For this process, the DOD notifies Congress how it intends to use this money and this is usually done through contracts for new purchases, so the timelines may be a little longer for provide that, the official said.
Another source of funding for Ukraine’s security assistance comes from foreign military funding, which falls under the authority of the State Department. It’s used for new purchases, though he may also purchase products from DOD’s own inventory, the official said, adding that this type of assistance is for longer-term needs.
“Security cooperation has enabled a strong US-European defense and security relationship and has adequately prepared Ukraine to confront Russia in this premeditated, unprovoked and brutal invasion,” the official said.
A second senior DOD official also spoke today.
Since yesterday, two more tactical groups of Russian battalions have been added to the 76 in Ukraine, bringing the total to 78, the official said.
So-called BTGs are usually composed of combined arms elements, such as air defense, armour, tactical vehicles, artillery, helicopters, engineering and logistic support.
Mariupol is still disputed. It is heavily pounded by long-range Russian fire, the official said.
Russian forces intend to take Mariupol as it would provide a land bridge for Russia from Donbass to Crimea. A second reason is that it would give the Russians the chance to release forces from there so they could join other BTGs north into the Donbass, the official said.
Mykolayiv, which is further west, is still in Ukrainian hands, the official said.
Heavy fighting continues elsewhere in the Donbas region, the official said.
About 1,670 Russian missiles have been fired at Ukraine so far since the invasion began, the official said.