It seems as though the military-industrial vacuum created after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has found a stop-gap measure. Last month, Congress approved a massive $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. Just 100 days into the conflict, the U.S. has already sent six such packages. However, this one is the largest, most significant gesture of U.S. assistance. And this aid package is projected to support Ukraine for months, rather than weeks – signaling that the U.S. assistance to Ukraine will be enduring.
Understandably, concerns exist about a lack of oversight. Where the funds are intended to land, and whether the funds will make it to their intended destination are pressing questions. I can only help with the former question, so here’s a breakdown of what exactly the $40 billion aid package is intended to cover.
Dollars and Aid
The terms set for the aid package include $19 billion to be used for “near-term” aid, which can be broken into three categories. First, $6 billion will be for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), a special fund that provides training, weapons, equipment, supplies, services, and logistical support to Ukraine’s military. The USAI acts as something of a holding pen for the funds – allowing the DOD to decide later where these funds will be dispersed.
That of course means Congress has no oversight over where these funds are ultimately headed. The DOD is required to inform Congress of how the funds will be used – and technically, Congress has the ability to block the disbursement, although doing so in practice would be quite difficult. Essentially, DOD can throw the $19 billion around, however, they choose, without much Congressional oversight i.e. without much taxpayer oversight.
Second, $9 billion will be used to replenish U.S. weapons stocks. With these funds, the DOD – again, with limited Congressional oversight – can replace items previously sent to Ukraine, or being sent to Ukraine in the future. The U.S. has been providing 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 runs the FMFP, a financing program that allows Ukraine to buy new military equipment.
Another $4 billion of the total package will go towards funding the U.S. military response. These funds will cover the costs of troop deployments to NATO bases throughout Europe. Deploying troops should serve as a deterrent, as the U.S. currently has no intention of directly intervening against Russia. Regardless, troop deployments are expensive and the funds will be needed to cover the increased costs incurred.
$500 million will go toward providing aid to “friendly” foreign nations. Under 10 USC 331, the U.S. “can provide logistical support, equipment, and training to friendly countries.” In all likelihood, this money will be used to reimburse nations who have donated equipment – like T-72 tanks, S-300 SAMs, and various aircraft – to Ukraine.
$500 million will be spent on increasing “critical” minutions stock; $600 million for the Defense Production Act, to support the expansion of the U.S. missile production base, to rebuild diminished stockpiles of Javelin and Stinger missiles. Basically, this money is going straight to U.S. weapons manufacturers, like Raytheon; $364 million for Research & Development, including making U.S. equipment more export-friendly. This is likely going straight to U.S. weapons manufacturers, too.
And $16 billion of the package is earmarked for humanitarian assistance, with several recipients in line. First, $350 million is for migration and refugee assistance. Obviously, these funds will mostly be for Eastern European countries that have experienced an influx of Ukrainian refugees since the war began.
Second, $4.3 billion is for International Disaster Assistance to provide “emergency food assistance to people around the world suffering from hunger as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.” Most of these funds will likely go to Africa, which has suffered from disrupted food shipments since the war began.
Third, $8.8 billion is for Economic Support, which means “assistance for Ukraine and countries impacted by the situation in Ukraine.” This probably means funds will be allocated for helping the Ukrainian government with budget support.
Various sub-billion dollar allocations make up the remainder of the aid package, including funding to halt war crimes and human trafficking; international narcotics control and law enforcement, and embassy security; nonproliferation and demining; international organization support, and; tracing the property of Russian oligarchs.
Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon, and New York University. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.