Accounting Error Means $3 Billion in Extra Funding for Ukraine

JThe Pentagon said Thursday it had overestimated the value of arms and other equipment sent to Ukraine by about $3 billion, an error that means more US defense funds will be available to support Ukrainian efforts to push back the Russian invasion.

The error, which the Department of Defense discovered after an internal audit in March, occurred because the military services were using cost estimates based on new equipment, rather than depreciated old equipment that had been removed from US inventory.

“The department has discovered inconsistencies in the value of the equipment to Ukraine,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said in a statement. “In some cases, ‘replacement cost’ rather than ‘net book value’ was used, thereby overestimating the value of equipment taken from US inventory.”

Using a so-called Presidential Levy Authority (PDA), President Joe Biden has transferred weapons and equipment from US stockpiles totaling approximately $21.1 billion since invading Russia in February 2022 The true cost is now estimated at about $18 billion, officials said, meaning the administration has roughly doubled the remaining $2.7 billion in funds authorized by Congress to support the Ukraine.

Learn more: Inside the Race to Arm Ukraine.

When the miscalculation was discovered, the Pentagon Comptroller re-issued guidelines clarifying how to value the equipment to ensure the services use the most accurate accounting methods, an official said. Defense. The process is now underway, which means there is potential for additional savings to be made.

But Singh maintained the error did not hamper deliveries. “This overstatement has not limited our support for Ukraine or impacted our ability to get capabilities to the battlefield,” Singh said.

The race to supply Ukraine with the weapons it needs to win the war against Russia has taken on heightened urgency as the Ukrainian military prepares to launch a counter-offensive against occupying Russian forces in the east and south. The Administration believes that what happens in the coming months could shape the outcome of the war.

Learn more: What to expect from the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

The Pentagon discovery drew fire from Republicans. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers of Alabama and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul of Texas issued a joint statement on the news. “The revelation of a $3 billion accounting error discovered two months ago and shared only today with Congress is extremely problematic, to say the least,” the statement said. “These funds could have been used for additional supplies and weapons for the upcoming counteroffensive, instead of rationing funds for the remainder of the exercise.”

Republicans have urged the administration to “make up for this precious lost time” by using funds to provide Ukraine with more advanced weapons and systems that can swing battlefield conditions in their favor.

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Write to WJ Hennigan at [email protected]

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