It seems that the military-industrial vacuum created after the American withdrawal from Afghanistan has found a palliative. Last month, Congress approved massive $40 billion in aid for Ukraine. After only 100 days of conflict, the United States has already sent six such packages. However, this is the largest and most significant gesture of American aid. And this aid program should sustain Ukraine for months, rather than weeks – signaling that US aid to Ukraine will last.
Naturally, there are concerns about a lack of oversight. Where the funds are intended to land and whether they will reach their destination are pressing questions. I can only answer the first question, so here’s a breakdown of what the $40 billion aid package is intended for cover.
Dollars and help
The conditions set for the aid program include $19 billion be used for “short-term” aid, which can be divided into three categories. First, $6 billion will go to the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a special fund that provides training, weapons, equipment, supplies, services and logistical support to the Ukrainian military. The USAI acts as a sort of bullpen for the funds – allowing the DOD to decide later where these funds will be distributed.
This of course means that Congress has no control over the ultimate destination of these funds. The DOD is required to notify Congress of how the funds will be used — and technically Congress has the ability to block disbursement, although this is quite difficult in practice. Essentially, the DOD can throw away the $19 billion, however they choose, without much scrutiny from Congress, that is, without much scrutiny from taxpayers.
Second, $9 billion will be used to replenish American arms stocks. With these funds, the DOD—again, with limited congressional oversight—can replace items previously shipped in Ukraine, or be sent to Ukraine in the future. The United States has provided Ukraine with artillery, armored vehicles, anti-tank guns and drones.
Third, $4 billion will go to the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMFP). The State Department administers the FMFP, a funding program that allows Ukraine to purchase new military equipment.
Another one $4 billion of the total package will go to funding the US military response. These funds will cover the costs of troop deployments to NATO bases across Europe. The deployment of troops should have a deterrent effect, as the United States currently has no intention of intervening directly against Russia. Either way, troop deployments are expensive and funds will be needed to cover the increased costs incurred.
$500 million will be used to provide aid to “friendly” foreign nations. Below 10 USC 331, the United States “may provide logistical support, equipment and training to friendly countries”. In all likelihood, this money will be used to reimburse countries that have donated equipment – such as T-72 tanks, S-300 SAMs and various aircraft – to Ukraine.
$500 million will be spent to increase the stock of “critical” minutes; $600 million for the Defense Production Act, to support expansion of the US missile production base, to replenish depleted stocks of Javelin and Stinger missiles. Basically, that money goes directly to American arms manufacturers, like Raytheon; $364 million for research and development, in particular by making American equipment more suitable for export. It probably also goes directly to American arms manufacturers.
And $16 billion of the package is intended for humanitarian aid, with several recipients in line. First, $350 million concerns migration and refugee aid. Obviously, these funds will be mainly intended for the countries of Eastern Europe which have experienced a influx of Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the war.
Second, $4.3 billion stands for International Disaster Assistance to provide “emergency food aid to people around the world suffering from hunger as a result of the conflict in Ukraine”. Most of these funds will likely go to Africawhich has suffered from disrupted food deliveries since the start of the war.
Third, $8.8 billion is for economic support, which means “aid to Ukraine and countries affected by the situation in Ukraine”. This probably means that funds will be allocated to help the Ukrainian government with budgetary support.
Various allocations of less than $1 billion make up the rest of the aid package, including funding to end war crimes and human trafficking; international narcotics control and law enforcement, and embassy security; non-proliferation and mine clearance; the support of international organizations, and; tracing the ownership of Russian oligarchs.
Harrison Kass is defense editor at 19FortyFive. A lawyer, pilot, guitarist and minor professional hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a trainee pilot, but was discharged for medical reasons. Harrison is a graduate of Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon, and New York University. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.