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The use of the Presidential Drawdown Authority to direct a drawdown to provide military assistance under section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) is a valuable tool of U.S. foreign policy in crisis situations.[1]  It allows for the speedy delivery of defense articles and services from Department of Defense stocks to foreign countries and international organizations to respond to unforeseen emergencies.  Such assistance can begin arriving within days—or even hours—of approval.

Consistent with his overall responsibilities for the direction and coordination of foreign assistance, the Secretary of State plays a central role in the initiation and coordination of these drawdowns. After initial engagement with Congress, the Secretary requests the President’s authorization to notify Congress of the intent to exercise the drawdown authority under section 506(a)(1) of the FAA and seeks delegated authority from the President to make the necessary determinations and to direct the drawdown. The Department of State is also responsible for coordinating the implementation of the drawdown with the Department of Defense. For Ukraine, the Secretary has exercised authority delegated by the President to direct twenty-five drawdowns totaling approximately $11.3 billion in defense articles and services from the Department of Defense since August 2021, in response to Russia’s preparation to launch the 24 February full-scale invasion of Ukraine and continued war.[2]

Through this process, the United States is providing Ukraine vital military assistance to defend itself against Russia’s unprovoked and brutal aggression, which amounts to internationally condemned war crimes.  In support of this effort, Congress has progressively increased the cap on this drawdown authority from $100 million to $11 billion for Fiscal Year 2022, most recently in the Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (P.L. 117-128), which was signed into law by the President on May 21.  Since last August, the Administration has utilized this Presidential Drawdown Authority 11 times to provide military assistance to Ukraine.

Though the delivery of assistance under a drawdown is generally much faster than under other security assistance authorities because the Defense Department already has the articles or services in-hand, it comes with similar safeguards.  The Department vets Ukraine’s security force units nominated for assistance under the drawdown.  In compliance with the Leahy law and in coordination with the Government of Ukraine, the Department works to ensure assistance does not go to units credibly implicated in gross violations of human rights.  As with all transfers of defense articles and services to partners under the FAA, Ukraine is bound by an agreement with the United States not to transfer such items to third parties or unauthorized users.  In addition, the Department of Defense leads a technological security review to determine what items may be transferred without putting the U.S. warfighter’s edge at risk.  The Department is confident in Ukraine’s commitment and ability to uphold these agreements.

The authority to provide military assistance through a drawdown has been used to support Allies and partners in crisis all over the world.  It remains the U.S. government’s most responsive tool to rapidly transfer U.S. military and other equipment in an unanticipated emergency that cannot be addressed by other means.

A summary of the U.S. military assistance provided under drawdowns for Ukraine is available in our fact sheet on U.S. Security Cooperation with Ukraine.

For further information, please contact the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Congressional and Public Affairs at PM-CPA@state.gov, and follow the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs on Twitter, @StateDeptPM.


[1] This fact sheet focuses on drawdowns for Ukraine directed under section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act  (22 U.S.C. 2318(a)(1) ).  The President also has other authorities to direct drawdowns from DoD or other U.S. government agency stocks to provide assistance for other purposes.

[2] Several of these drawdowns have been in conjunction with the exercise of the authority under section 614 of the FAA.

U.S. Department of State

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