Ukraine – What Are The Real Numbers On US Support?

Ukraine – What Are The Real Numbers on US Support?


In recent months, Ukraine has been in the news and mostly for the wrong reasons. Specifically, we hear that US President Trump withheld $400 million in aid to Ukraine. Of that amount, $214 million of that went to the purchase of Javelin anti-tank weapons. The Javelin aid is a sub-set of a much larger US effort to support Ukraine. The purpose here is to provide an overview of US aid to Ukraine and highlight the significant features of this assistance.

I quote from a US Department of Defense (DoD) media response to my question:

Overall, the US has provided more than $1.6 billion in security assistance since 2014 to Ukraine to help it defend its territorial integrity, deter further Russian aggression, and progress toward NATO interoperability. This assistance includes enhanced defensive capabilities, including Javelin anti-tank weapons and sniper rifles.

 Congress appropriated $250 million for security assistance in the fiscal year (FY) 2019 (Sept.2018 – Oct.2019). But the Trump-induced “delays” meant that $35.2 million of that had not been obligated by the end of the year. In FY 2020, DoD has financially implemented $26.7 million of the $35.2 million and plans to implement the remaining $8.5 million as quickly as possible in accordance with contracting procedures and applicable law.

But here is the important point here:

US assistance to Ukraine is far greater than the DoD outlays.

The Overall Effort

Table 1 provides data on US Government 2018 obligated funds for Ukraine. It is notable that the US AID total exceeds the Defense Department number. In all countries getting US assistance, this sort of broad program is typical. In fact military assistance is almost never given without a wide complement of other “institution-building” activities. True, this was not done in Iraq: after the dramatic Bush “Mission Accomplished” announcement, there was no plan for next steps. And look at what happened: among other things, the Iraqi Army was disbanded resulting in unemployed ex-soldiers on the streets with guns.

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Danny Straus 2 months ago Member's comment

It is worth noting that 100% of the aid to Israel needs to be spent in the US. So it's actually quite beneficial to the US economy, in particular the defense industry. Plus Israeli is an important ally and at the forefront of the war against terror.

Elliott Morss 1 month ago Author's comment

Not true. CNBC reports Israel’s long-standing special arrangement for funds from the United States previously allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of the money in Israel — on Israeli-made defense products.

Danny Straus 1 month ago Member's comment

You are behind the times. The aid was renegotiated under Obama. The amount of aid was increased but the catch was 100% of it had to be spent in the US. Bibi acquiesced.

Jason Green 1 month ago Member's comment

Danny Straus is correct. Here is a quote from the Washington Post:

"Israel will have to spend all the assistance money on American defense contractors. In other words, U.S. foreign military financing is essentially a way of subsidizing its domestic defense industry while strengthening the military capabilities of its strategic allies."

Texan Hunter 2 months ago Member's comment

What you fail to discuss in your article is what is the cost to NOT policing the world? Regimes that are opposed to the US and seek our destruction would go unchecked. Terrorist groups bent on murdering US civilians would have the freedom to move and plot against us. Yes, policing the world is expensive, but the cost of not doing so is far higher.

Angry Old Lady 2 months ago Member's comment

What good has ever come of US intervention? We prop up governments that murder their own people if we believe it is in our best interests. We send billions in aid to countries that hate us and try to undermine us at every turn. In fact the only true friend and ally on this list is Israel and they only need the money to have parity with all the Arab and Islamic countries who receive our aid as well.

Adam Reynolds 2 months ago Member's comment

Ukraine isn't an ally?

Angry Old Lady 2 months ago Member's comment

Sorry, I meant in the Middle East specifically. Though we didn't do much for our "ally" Ukraine when Russia marched in and stole a chunk of their country.