Pentagon Finds $3B Accounting Error in Aid to Ukraine

And it could be a huge boost to the war effort
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2023 3:45 PM CDT
Pentagon Finds $3B Accounting Error in Aid to Ukraine
Ukrainian soldiers fire a cannon near Bakhmut, Monday, May 15, 2023.   (AP Photo/Libkos)

The Pentagon says it has overestimated the value of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine by at least $3 billion—an accounting error that could be a boon for the war effort because it will allow the Defense Department to send more weapons now without asking Congress for more money. The acknowledgment comes as Pentagon is under increased pressure by Congress to show accountability for the billions of dollars it has sent in weapons, ammunition and equipment to Ukraine and as some lawmakers question whether that level of support should continue, the AP reports.

It also could free up more money for critical weapons as Ukraine is on the verge of a much anticipated counteroffensive—which will require as much military aid as they can get. The error was caused when officials overvalued some of the systems sent to Ukraine, using the value of money it would cost to replace an item completely rather than the current value of the weapon. In many of the military aid packages, the Pentagon has opted to draw from its stockpiles of older, existing gear because it can get those items to Ukraine faster.

"During our regular oversight process of presidential drawdown packages, the Department discovered inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine. In some cases, ‘replacement cost’ rather than ‘net book value’ was used, therefore overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from US stocks," said Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh. She added that the mistake hasn't constrained US support to Ukraine or hampered the ability to send aid to the battlefield. A defense official said the Pentagon is still trying to determine exactly how much the total surplus will be. To date the US has provided Ukraine nearly $37 billion in military aid since Russia invaded in February 2022.

(More Pentagon stories.)

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