What’s a lazy couple of billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars when there’s a war in Eastern Europe to fight? That question was answered Thursday when the Defense Department revealed it can send more weapons to Ukraine without Congress spending approval after the Pentagon overestimated the value of the arms it has already sent Kyiv by some $3 billion.
AP reports the error was caused when officials wrongly used valuation for new equipment, rather than for used equipment drawn from U.S. stocks, to assess the cost of weapons already despatched to the war zone.
The poor accounting methodology has been exposed as the Pentagon faces increased pressure by Congress to show accountability for the billions of dollars it has sent in weapons, ammunition, equipment, and training to Ukraine and as some lawmakers question whether that level of support is sustainable, as Breitbart News reported.
The $113 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine has eclipsed the annual military budget of every country in the world except the United States and China. https://t.co/gqwjMZMXRF
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 26, 2022
In many of the military aid packages, the Pentagon has opted to drain stockpiles of older, existing gear because it can get those items to Ukraine faster. Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh addressed the financial mess by saying:
During our regular oversight process of presidential drawdown packages, the Department discovered inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine.
In some cases, ‘replacement cost’ rather than ‘net book value’ was used, therefore overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from U.S. stocks.
She added the mistake hasn’t constrained U.S. support to Ukraine or hampered the ability to send aid to the battlefield.
According to the AP report, a defense official said the Pentagon is still trying to determine exactly how much the total surplus will be.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said the comptroller has asked the military services to review all previous Ukraine aid packages using the proper cost figures.
Biden announced Wednesday afternoon he has approved sending 31 Abrams M1 main battle tanks to Ukraine, in an escalation of U.S. support for the war as it nears the one-year mark. https://t.co/fx60Tkga3e
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 25, 2023
The result, said the official, will be that the department will have more available funding authority to use as the Ukraine offensive nears.
The aid surplus was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
To date the U.S. has provided Ukraine nearly $37 billion in military aid since Russia invaded in February 2022.
The rush of U.S. weapons to Ukraine has already sparked a warning that domestic military stockpiles have been pushed to “dangerously low levels” not seen for decades, as Breitbart News reported.