Pentagon Accounting Error Provides Ukraine With Extra $6 Billion

Since 2021, the Pentagon has reportedly overestimated the value of weapons and equipment it has sent to Ukraine by over $6 billion, and it intends to make up for the error in future shipments.

According to Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh, the military used the estimated cost to replace the transferred equipment sent to Ukraine rather than the value recorded in the Pentagon’s books. Such confusion resulted in a $3.6 billion shortfall in 2023 and a $2.6 billion shortfall in 2022. The shortfalls “gifted” Ukraine an extra $6.2 billion in military equipment.

Since Congress had already allocated the money, the Pentagon could balance the difference without further appropriations.

“It’s just going to go back into the pot of money that we have allocated for the future Pentagon stock drawdowns,” Singh said.

The Department of Defense (DOD) uncovered the accounting error in March 2023 but disclosed in May 2023 that it was overestimating the value of the equipment provided to Ukraine.

The DOD said the mistake occurred because it used the figure for the more sophisticated weapons the U.S. was sending to Ukraine rather than the figure for the regular military ones.

“These valuation errors in no way limit or restricted the size of any of our [presidential drawdown authority packages] or impacted the provision of support to Ukraine. And while the DoD retains the authority to utilize the recaptured PDA, this has no bearing on appropriated USA AI or Ukraine PDA replenishment funding approved by Congress,” Singh said.

The accounting error comes during Ukraine’s counter-offensive into Russian-occupied territory, which began in June 2023. The counter-offensive, so far, has mainly been exploratory as Ukrainian forces prepare to investigate the Russian line for weaknesses.

Over the course of the Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. has sent over $100 billion in aid to Ukraine, with $40 billion being military aid. The latest aid package, passed by Congress in December 2022, was meant to last through the end of 2023, but unforeseen costs caused by the counter-offensive may use up the funds more quickly.

While President Joe Biden openly insists that the U.S. will support Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” congressional Republicans and public opinion could limit future aid as the war continues with no end in sight.

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