The dominance of propaganda, omissions, concealments, distortions or outright lies, both in foreign and Ukrainian publications, about US military assistance to Ukraine has acquired such proportions that the mass of our fellow citizens have completely wrong ideas about its scale, implementation and future plans. Meanwhile, knowledge about the true state of affairs, as well as about emerging trends, is vitally important for our country, given the enormous importance that this assistance has on the state of affairs at the front and on the overall defense capability of Ukraine. I would like to express my gratitude to Sergei Lyubarsky’s YouTube channel; it was one of his videos that prompted me to write this article.
It's time to talk in more detail about American military assistance to our country. I will make all my further discussions only on the basis of official documents, and I will definitely provide either direct links to them or explain how to find them through search engines. So everything is easy to check.
A few words about why this article is for. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, I don’t like it when statesmen and various media (which include newspapers, magazines, TV, blogs, social networks and the like), no matter from which side, ours or the American, and no matter for what reasons, keep me for a fool, sometimes hanging outright falsehoods on my ears. Secondly, distortion or concealment of important information does not allow one to realistically assess the current situation and predict its changes. In war conditions, this can have a deplorable effect not only on personal life and well-being, but also on the state of affairs throughout the country. I have always proceeded from the fact that it is better to know the truth, albeit bitter, than to soar in pink clouds until the moment when you come out of these clouds and put your whole face on the asphalt of reality. Thirdly, trust is a fundamental aspect of any healthy and harmonious relationship between partners, be it husband and wife, citizen and state, or different countries. Deliberate or unintentional deception, as well as half-truths, partial truths, suppression of “inconvenient” issues, etc. undermine trust and can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts and breakdowns in such relationships. Having complete information will allow you to build relationships on a more solid basis, initially soberly assessing the capabilities and intentions of the parties.
The United States providesassistance to Ukraine under three different programs: the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), and the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. The programs are financed from various funds and interact directly with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. We need to clearly understand how they differ.
FMF was organized by the US State Department as part of the Arms Export Control Act ( here ). It helps foreign governments (not just Ukraine) purchase weapons and defense equipment made in the United States, as well as pay for other defense services and military training. All purchases under this program are made within the framework of two others: Foreign Military Sales (FMS) - a foreign military sales program, and Direct Commercial Contracts (DCC) - a program of direct commercial contracts. In the first case, the customer does not deal directly with defense companies; the US Department of Defense acts as an intermediary. In the second, as the name implies, the customer directly places an order at a military plant. But in any case, the FMF does not directly provide cash grants to other countries; it usually pays for the sales of specific goods or services ordered through the FMS or DCS. The overall policy of the program is determined by the State Department's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and is administered on a day-to-day basis by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the Department of Defense. Congress appropriates funds for the FMF through the annual Foreign Operations Appropriations Act.
USAI - was created specifically to assist Ukraine in 2016 ( here , Section 1250) following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2014. It is a security cooperation program aimed at increasing Ukraine's ability to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression. It is funded and administered by the US Department of Defense in coordination with the State Department. As part of the Ukrainian Armed Forces program, weapons and equipment are supplied, logistics support is provided, personnel are trained and trained, and various consultations are provided. She is also responsible for intelligence support, cyber defense and strategic communications. Congress appropriates funds for this program through the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which determines the annual budget and expenditures of the US Department of Defense.
PDA is a special State Department program created under the Foreign Assistance Act ( here ). The law gave the US President the authority to remove defense items from existing Department of Defense stockpiles to respond to unforeseen emergencies around the world, again not just in Ukraine. There is no need to place orders at military-industrial complex factories and wait for their execution for months, or even years. This makes it possible to significantly speed up the delivery of direct military aid, since it can begin to arrive within days, or even hours, of approval. The Secretary of State plays a central role in initiating and coordinating such assistance and interacts with Congress and the President. The State Department is also responsible for coordinating with the Department of Defense. The US Congress, by its laws, sets a limit on the authority to use funds for the PDA program.
Important addition: The US fiscal year runs from October 1st to September 30th. In reports it is usually referred to as FY2021, FY2022 and so on.
Let's begin the analysis of US military assistance to Ukraine with the current state of affairs. A report compiled by an organization called the Congressional Research Service (CRS) will help us with this. It is a federal agency, housed in the Library of Congress, whose staff assists Members of Congress at every stage of the legislative process - from the early discussions leading up to the drafting of a bill, through committee hearings and debates, to the oversight of enacted laws and the various activities of federal services and agencies. responsible for their implementation. As part of its activities, the agency compiles various types of reports, including public ones. It is one of these reports concerning military assistance to Ukraine that we will consider. To find it, you need to enter US Security Assistance to Ukraine on their website in the search bar and follow the first link. The report is dated October 5, 2023, i.e. was compiled at the end of the next budget year.
The Biden administration provided $ 48.7 billion in military assistance to Ukraine in fiscal years 22 and 23, according to the report . Here is a breakdown of the 3 programs described in the previous section, with links to relevant legislation:
In general, a lot of money, although based on their real needs it is a drop in the ocean. What were they spent on? The answer to this question is right here in this report:
And everything with these numbers seems great, until we look at the colorful report of the US Department of Defense dated November 22, 2023. It provides the same data (the discrepancy in HIMARS installations is explained by different reporting dates):
But we are more interested in the following picture from this report:
I’ll explain for people who have little understanding of English terms: appropriated, committed, obligated funds are, simply put, allocated and distributed funds and obligations. That is, a certain amount of money was allocated by legislative acts of Congress, then it was promised to be spent within the framework of these programs, and, finally, some kind of binding contracts were concluded for it. And here you need to pay attention to the difference between the promised and contracted amount. She says that within the USAI program alone there is $ 8 billion left for which the US Department of Defense could not find a contractor!
Important explanation for the PDA program. Although it is called the Arms Reduction Program, the more correct name is actually the Replacement Program, which is what is reflected in this report. That is, for those weapons that are transferred from the reserves of the US Department of Defense, which, as a rule, although not always, are outdated, contracts are immediately concluded to replace them, naturally with more modern ones. As we see here, another 8 billion dollars have not been confirmed by contracts, and 1.1 billion have not even been distributed yet! Now let’s remember how the Biden administration cried at the end of last year that they had no funds left to help Ukraine, while it still had more than a billion dollars allocated but not spent under this program. Moreover, for this amount, Biden, by law, can take weapons directly from the warehouses of the Ministry of Defense, without even asking permission from Congress. In Biden’s defense, I want to say that this program is still not focused only on Ukraine and part of the funds for it was spent on supporting Israel and Taiwan. Alas, this is the reality - the Russian-Ukrainian war is no longer the main information event in the world, including thanks to our diplomats, who simply failed all information work in 2023.
In principle, this is all you need to know about the “power” of the American military-industrial complex. When I mentioned this earlier, citing the point of view of R. Gates , E. Colby , or from the Chinese “ trenches ,” one could be skeptical and distrustful of this. But here we have an official report from the US Department of Defense. So don’t be surprised later by the news that the United States is purchasing ammunition from South Korea, Japan or Brazil. This is not due to a good life and the desire to let others earn money. Their own defense factories are simply not able to fulfill such orders. Moreover, it is necessary to keep in mind that even concluded contracts do not mean that they have already been executed and the weapons under them have been produced and delivered to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The production of new weapons or ammunition can take many months. Somewhere in the media there was an admission by the Czech President that the full cycle from the start of consideration of an application to the delivery of finished military products to the customer could take 3-4 years due to numerous bureaucratic procedures and possible litigation.
To better understand how bravura figures from the media turn into real military assistance to our country, let’s look at just one specific example. Below is a table with specific legislative acts of the US Congress here ). Here it is necessary to pay attention to the latest act of HR 2617P.L. 117-328, which promised our country $ 27.8 billion and which was included with pomp by the Biden administration in various reports on more than $100 billion in aid provided to Ukraine., according to which various assistance was allocated to Ukraine, including military assistance (
Now let's go to the Congressional Budget Office website , i.e. to the Congressional Accounting Office and we will find a very interesting document there . If you download it and open it, and then go to Table 2 “Discretionary Spending Under Division M of HR 2617 (as Modified by Senate Amendment 6552), the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, then we will see the estimated distribution of funds promised under the program USAI according to HR 2617, by year:
We see that of this nearly $28 billion considered at the start of fiscal year 2023 (document dated December 21, 2022), it was estimated that as much as $2 billion would have been spent in 23 , and then 4 +/- billion each year until 2029. That is, the States, according to this table, are going to fight with our hands for at least another 6 years, annually issuing weapons and equipment worth approximately 4 billion dollars, and we will use this entire amount to liberate the territory of Ukraine up to the borders of 91.
Of course, to this amount you need to add some more annual amounts within the framework of 3 other laws, but the situation there is not much better. For example, instead of $14.5 billion under the PDA program allocated in FY2023, the Biden administration requested only $7 billion for the new year (don’t forget, this money is not only for Ukraine). So when you hear stories from the Biden office or our office about an ill-fated package stalled in the Senate with billions of dollars in aid for Ukraine, be skeptical until there's a concrete year-by-year breakdown of that amount (if it even passes). . Even in the bill itself , you can notice important nuances, when it turns out that 14 billion of direct assistance within the framework of USAI , which was so trumpeted by all kinds of media, stretches for at least 2 financial years:
All the vaunted might of the American military-industrial complex, and I’m not talking about the defense industry of Western Europe, is unable to ensure the build-up of military production that is so necessary for Ukraine to successfully resist Russian armed aggression. There is no need to talk about the fact that with such volumes of assistance we can reach the borders of 91, stop deceiving people and instilling absolutely unrealistic hopes in them. While Russian military factories operate in 3 shifts, the States cannot (and do not even try) to overcome their own trade unions in order to increase production at existing enterprises. I can’t imagine how the United States is going to confront China in the upcoming conflict over Taiwan; if they are already asking Japan for help in producing Patriot missiles, or negotiating with South Korea on the production of shells. When we are told fairy tales about billions and billions of allocated and allocated aid, that the West will not abandon us, that we will defeat everyone now, we just have to wait for the next miracle weapon, for example, the same F-16s, then be prudent, do not fall for information propaganda, including our home-grown one, which may have little in common with reality. You always need to have your head on your shoulders and try to analyze the entire set of facts , not speculation. Otherwise, it will be very painful to be disappointed later, which has already happened to our citizens after the failure of the much-advertised summer offensive.
The authorities need to stop lying to people. In the first months of the war, we were strong also because our government had no time for PR, it was busy surviving, and did not engage in outright lies, speculation, distortion and silence, as is happening now. As mentioned above, trust is a fragile thing; once it is destroyed, no amount of press conferences and calls not to rock the boat will bring it back.
And we all need to learn one obvious truth, spoken and negotiated, but so unloved by us - we need to rely only on ourselves . Damn it, when I see videos on the Internet about underground tunnels in Gaza, read about hundreds, or even thousands of rockets assembled from drainpipes in garages by poor people in flip-flops on their bare feet, the question arises: what kind of garages do we have in the country? Are there not enough or no shovels? The United States has billions of dollars allocated and undisbursed as part of military assistance programs. So why can’t our fucking Oboronprom develop our own production with this money? You are either looking for opportunities or looking for excuses, there is no third option. The states will also thank us if we give them some share of the produced products as part of the same replacement program as payment for the technologies provided. They have a really big concern about running out of supplies, and they will only welcome this chance to replenish them. Has anyone from Zelensky’s team tried to discuss this issue with the Biden administration? Or Ze can only promote himself and cry over Europe and the Americas: give, give, give. And his team presents to us as an achievement that they, it turns out, do not have a “plan B” in case they stop giving us assistance in the same volumes. What can I say, very inspiring.
Is it possible to solve a problem correctly if you substitute incorrect data into the solution equation? Everyone knows that the data for calculations must be checked very carefully, because the result depends on its reliability. But as soon as we step away from mathematics, we willingly invent stories for ourselves and believe them so much that they almost become true. The story of the enormous US military assistance to our country is just one of those.
Author's telegram channel: https://t.me/sergius_ak