Good morning, Chairman Menendez, Ranking Member Risch, and distinguished members of the Committee. It is an honor to be back in the presence of the Committee for another hearing on security assistance, this time for a discussion focused on United States security assistance to Ukraine. I am pleased to be here alongside Assistant Secretary Donfried, Ambassador Van Schaack, and Assistant Administrator McKee.
It was less than two months ago that I sat before the Committee and spoke about security assistance as an instrument of foreign policy. As we focus today on Ukraine, I am proud to say that the security assistance we have provided has served our foreign policy objectives to support Ukraine’s ability to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity and to stand against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault. And we are all in awe of the remarkable courage of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian people as they push back on Russia’s unforgiveable assault. And I want to thank Congress, we could not have provided the weapons Ukraine needs to defend itself without your support.
There is simply no justification or provocation for Russia’s war. It is nothing less than a direct challenge to the rules-based international order established since the end of World War II. And the Russian attack threatens to return us to decades of war like those that ravaged Europe in the 20th Century.
I sit before you today as President Putin continues his war of aggression against Ukraine. As Ukraine has pushed Russian forces out of parts of Ukraine, the world is seeing the death and destruction left behind. We are all shocked and appalled by the atrocities committed by Russia’s forces in Bucha, Mariupol, and across Ukraine. Yet, against tremendous odds and with extraordinary courage, Ukraine’s forces are regaining ground. Even with the Russian retreat from Kyiv, Russia’s unprovoked brutal war against Ukraine is far from over. Russia has repositioned its forces for renewed attacks in eastern and southern Ukraine. The United States, together with our Allies and partners, must continue to take action to surge additional security assistance to Ukraine tailored to support their needs for the next phase of its fight for freedom and its very future.
For all these reasons, the United States has provided approximately $3.8 billion in security assistance since Russia launched its unprovoked and brutal further assault against Ukraine, including approximately $4.5 billion since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration in January 2021, and more than $6.5 billion since Russia’s initial invasion in 2014. Today, I would like to focus my testimony on (1) Our Historic and Current Assistance to Ukraine: as Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, we are also continuing our support to counter Russia’s present offensive in the Eastern region of Ukraine. (2) The Strategic Environment: the current moment presents opportunities and challenges in the security assistance realm – including the need to offramp partners from Russian military equipment and re-focus on the implications of this war for another partner at risk of invasion – Taiwan. These challenges have implications not only for specific arms transfer decisions, but for broader structural mechanisms such as how we might make U.S. arms transfers more competitive, including flexible financing options and building defense exportability into platforms and technology early in the acquisition process. And, (3) The Next Stage of our Security Assistance Response: the President’s new supplemental request is designed to continue our robust support to Ukraine while also addressing these broader issues.
Historic and Current Assistance to Ukraine
Since assuming office last January, this Administration has committed approximately $4.5 billion to supporting Ukraine’s defensive capabilities, including through Foreign Military Financing (FMF), the DoD Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), Presidential drawdown authority (PDA), and other program lines –that’s more than two-thirds of total U.S. security assistance to Ukraine since 2014. Prior to the invasion, we worked with Ukraine and our Allies to identify military requirements and match funding streams to support needed defense capabilities, ranging from radars to Javelins. Through the Excess Defense Articles program, we delivered to Ukraine Mi-17 helicopters to enhance Ukraine’s ability to transport forces as well as Island Class Patrol Boats to help Ukraine patrol its territorial waters. In addition, through programs such as our International Military Education and Training (IMET) authority, we supported the development of a cadre of professional mid- and senior-level Ukrainian officers. DOD has strengthened Ukraine’s tactical and operational capabilities and the interoperability of our forces through training programs and annual exercises. And, as the threat against Ukraine from Russia increased, under authority delegated by the President, the Secretary has repeatedly authorized the Department of Defense to provide immediate military assistance to Ukraine under the Presidential drawdown authority.
We have used the Presidential drawdown authority an unprecedented nine times in the last year for a value of over $3 billion dollars, providing Ukraine with urgently needed military equipment across a broad range of military capabilities. In doing so, we have fundamentally re-set the expectations for this authority, turning around billions of dollars in months for a program that hitherto had a $100M annual cap, and managing a process from concept to authorization in days – and in many instances hours – compared to the one to two week-long processes drawdowns had previously required.
Assistance that the United States is providing to Ukraine through these authorities includes:
- More than 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems;
- More than 5,500 Javelin anti-armor systems;
- More than 14,000 other anti-armor systems;
- More than 700 Switchblade Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- 90 M777 155mm Howitzers and more than 200,000 155mm artillery rounds;
- 72 Tactical Vehicles to tow 155mm Howitzers;
- 16 Mi-17 helicopters;
- Hundreds of Armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles;
- 200 M113 Armored Personnel Carriers;
- More than 7,000 small arms;
- More than 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition;
- 75,000 sets of body armor and helmets;
- Laser-guided rocket systems;
- Puma Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- Phoenix Ghost Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems;
- Unmanned Coastal Defense Vessels;
- 17 counter-artillery radars;
- Four counter-mortar radars;
- Two air surveillance radars;
- Electronic jamming equipment;
- M18A1 Claymore anti-personnel munitions;
- C-4 explosives and demolition equipment for obstacle clearing;
- Tactical secure communications systems;
- Night vision devices, thermal imagery systems, optics, and laser rangefinders;
- Commercial satellite imagery services;
- Explosive ordnance disposal protective gear;
- Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear protective equipment;
- Medical supplies to include first aid kits.
In addition to the U.S. produced short-range air defense systems the Ukrainians have been using to great effect, the United States has also identified and is helping the Ukrainians acquire additional, longer-range systems on which Ukraine’s forces are already trained, as well as additional parts and munitions for those systems.
The United States continues to expedite the authorization and facilitation of additional assistance to Ukraine from our Allies. Nearly 40 countries have provided security assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began. In 2022, the Department of State authorized third-party transfers of defensive equipment from more than 14 countries – and we have done so in record time, frequently receiving, reviewing, and authorizing such transfers within mere hours. And the number of contributing partners continues to grow as Allies and partners increase support to Ukraine. Through the Third Party Transfer Authorization, we have authorized the provision to Ukraine of U.S.-origin systems including over 12,000 anti-armor systems of various types and over 1,550 anti-air systems. These transfers are in addition to what we have provided through our direct support.
On March 15, President Biden signed the bipartisan Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act to provide an additional $13.6 billion that includes military, humanitarian, and economic assistance to help Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s unprovoked further invasion, ensure the Government of Ukraine can function effectively during the conflict and support the people of Ukraine as they endure attacks from Russia’s forces. In late April, the Department notified Congress of our intent to obligate the entirety of the $650M in FMF that Congress appropriated in that supplemental, and these funds will support urgent capabilities for both Ukraine and for our allies on NATO’s Eastern Flank. In addition, we have nearly executed the totality of the expanded PDA Cap provided in the supplemental.
Our goal for these funds is simple: to continue our robust support for Ukraine, bolster the Eastern Flank, and provide assistance to countries in the region who are lending urgent and timely support to Ukraine in its time of need. We will ensure that all our Allies and partners remain prepared for the security threats they face from an increasingly aggressive Russian Federation. We will work closely with Congress to ensure maximum benefit from any future FMF loan authority, which we view as a key tool to support partners’ long-term, high value procurements of U.S. defense articles. Finally, we look forward to coordinating closely with Congress on future security assistance needs as the conflict continues in Ukraine, especially given the regional and global implications of the Russian invasion for the security needs of our other allies and partners.
I am providing the Committee with a list of our security assistance to Ukraine, and would ask that it be accepted with my testimony into the record.
The Strategic Environment
Russia’s war against Ukraine presents strategic challenges – but also strategic opportunities. Depending on our policy choices, we have the opportunity to offramp countries from Russian defense materiel to meet the increasing concerns that Allies and partners have in terms of obtaining support (i.e., spare parts, technical assistance) for the Russian weapons systems currently in their inventory. Additionally, off-ramping worldwide dependence on Russian-origin defense production has the added benefit of decreasing Russian influence while increasing our own. We will encourage partners to diversify their equipment inventories away from Russian systems. This could include support for select partners providing equipment to Ukraine and other incentives to donate additional systems. It could also include strategically timed grant assistance to support procurements of U.S. platforms instead of Russian systems; and/or developing options regarding Russian supply chains and partner requests for support. Priority systems for diversification could include, but are not limited to, legacy Russian fixed and rotary-wing aviation, air defense, armor and infantry fighting vehicles, and artillery systems. It is imperative that we provide affordable or subsidized U.S. solutions, not only to offramp partners from Russia, but also to ensure that any global military capability gaps that emerge are not filled by People’s Republic of China. This period is a unique opportunity whereby both our arms sales processes and our relationships can supplant those of our adversaries.
Our need to provide partners with defense materiel is why defense exportability is key. This Administration is exploring ways to make U.S. arms transfers more competitive, including flexible financing options and building exportability into platforms and technology early in the acquisition process. By designing and developing technology protection features in systems early in their acquisition life cycle, the United States can facilitate earlier foreign sales to our Allies and partners.
In addition, we must take the lessons of Ukraine and apply them to Taiwan. We will be keen to work with you and your staff to consider the implications. The United States is determined to make sure that Taiwan has all necessary means to defend itself against any potential attack, including unilateral action by the PRC, to disrupt the status quo that has been in place now for many decades.
Recent PRC rhetoric and actions clearly demonstrate potential security challenges facing Taiwan. The PRC’s threat to Taiwan poses a different problem set, and we are working to think about how the lessons of Ukraine do, and do not, apply in that context. This is a top priority for me. I recognize there are several legislative ideas in Congress, and I welcome the opportunity to engage on these proposals; I would ask that we maintain an open discussion on this issue. As with the future of NATO security cooperation, there may need to be changes to our authorities, and I think it will be vital to ensure that the Foreign Relations Committee and the State Department are on the leading edge of finding those solutions to ensure foreign policy remains in the driving seat of our security cooperation with, and assistance to, Taiwan.
The United States’ swift provision to Taiwan of defensive weaponry via Foreign Military Sale (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) is essential for Taiwan’s security and we will continue to work with industry to support that goal. Our defense relationship with Taiwan is predicated on our respect for Taiwan’s democracy–and we are refining and deepening our defense relationship with Taiwan in a manner that is commensurate with the threat we assess from the PRC, consistent with our one China policy and in the context of our Indo-Pacific Strategy. As such, the United States supports and encourages Taiwan with its innovative and asymmetric security posture. Since the Biden-Harris Administration took office in January 2021, the State Department has approved several key capabilities to Taiwan including enhanced air defense systems.
The Next Stage of our Security Assistance Response
We have also been working hard to think strategically about Ukraine’s requirements in the coming months and years, and about what capabilities and support our NATO Allies will need in the coming months and years, and as the war progresses to a new phase. The FY 2023 Budget Request and the recent FY 2022 appropriations act are helpful steps in this regard – particularly the additional FMF and FMF Loan Authority in the appropriations act – but we are looking at a fundamental change in the post-Cold War security paradigm that may need broader statutory change to our authorities.
In light of the clear impact that our assistance to Ukraine has had on the battlefield, the obvious necessity of continuing that assistance, and taking into account the broader strategic implications that I have just identified, President Biden is seeking a second, $33 billion, supplemental funding package that includes $20 billion in new security assistance, including $4 billion in Foreign Military Financing, which Congress is considering. This request will support capability and capacity building of Allied and partner nations who are urgently seeking to strengthen their latent defense capabilities in the context of the increased Russian threat. By supporting the expansion of partner and ally self-defense capability and interoperability that enables coalition operations, this funding provides significant budgetary efficiencies across government when measured against the cost of the potential alternative of long-term increased U.S. military overseas presence.
The supplemental request for FMF is intended to address several priority areas. The first of these is Ukraine itself, where funds will support current and emerging military requirements.
The second is support to strengthen our allies in NATO’s Eastern Flank in the context of Russia’s increased aggression. By supporting the expansion of partner and ally self-defense capability and interoperability that enables coalition operations, this funding provides significant budgetary efficiencies across government when measured against the cost of the potential alternative of long-term increased U.S. military overseas presence.
The third is to support the backfill of gaps created by direct donations of military equipment to Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022 and to incentivize future donations from allies and partners. Additionally, this will provide an increased demand signal to U.S. defense industry for long lead time items, which may in turn provide industry the reassurance needed to expand production capacity. As with grant security assistance to support EUR Regional/Eastern Flank military capability growth, this funding provides significant budgetary efficiencies across government when measured against the cost of the potential alternative of long-term increased U.S. military overseas presence.
The fourth is FMF loan support, for which funds will support FMF loan subsidies/guarantees and origination fees to enable the use of FMF loan authority.
And finally, we must seize the opportunity to offramp partners from Russian-origin defense equipment. As we have discussed previously, Allies and partners are increasingly concerned about their ability to obtain support (e.g., spare parts, technical assistance) for the Russian weapons systems currently in their inventory. As such, we intend to use some of this funding to incentivize select countries’ diversification of equipment inventories away from Russian systems.
For 11 weeks, Russia has intensified its savage assault against Ukraine, its sovereignty, its territorial integrity, its independence, its freedom, and its people. In addition to what we have provided, allies and partners from nearly 40 countries have joined us to deliver security assistance to Ukraine since Russia’s further invasion began. Together, we are working around the clock to expedite shipments of even more of the arms and defense equipment Ukraine is using to defend itself.
The strategy that the United States has put in place to support Ukraine, the massive pressure against the Russian Federation, and the solidarity with our Allies and partners engaged in these efforts is having real results. As Secretary Blinken has said, it is impossible not to be moved by what the Ukrainians have achieved. It is also impossible not to believe that they will keep succeeding, because they know why they fight. I want to reiterate that we, the people of the United States, can be proud of the role that U.S. security assistance has played since 2014 in contributing to the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ readiness and their ability to fiercely defend Ukraine against Russia’s invading forces. But there is more still that the United States and our partners can offer Ukraine. Sustained assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces will continue to be a key factor, and the contributions of the United States and its allies are critical.
In addition, the war in Ukraine has created a host of challenges – and opportunities – on a global scale. We should seek to backfill partners who are creating gaps in their own defense capabilities through the generosity of their donations to Ukraine. We must continue to strengthen NATO’s Eastern Flank. Based on making a choice to prioritize countering Russia, we must assist partners in reducing their reliance on Russian defense systems. Where we have concerns with these partners in terms of arms transfers, we will engage with Congress regarding how our policies will address those concerns. And, we must not just consider, but act upon, the implications of this conflict for the defense of Taiwan.
In all of these challenges, as with the defense of Ukraine, security assistance is a formidable tool. United with our Allies and partners, we will succeed, and Ukraine shall prevail.
Thank you, and I look forward to your questions.