Sen. Rubio: DoD Using $6.2 Billion ‘Inconsistent Calculation’ to Skirt Congressional Caps on Ukraine Aid

Ken Meekins | June 21, 2023
Text Audio
00:00 00:00
Font Size

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that it had overestimated the value of the weapons it has sent to Ukraine over the last two fiscal years and, thus, has spent $6.2 billion less towards its cap on Ukraine aid than it originally reported.

In essence, the Pentagon went back and changed the value of the equipment it sent to Ukraine, from how much it would cost to replace it, to the price it originally paid for it. Thus, since the cost of purchasing the equipment in the past is lower than the cost of buying it today, the Pentagon can now claim it has spent $6.2 billion less on Ukraine aid.

This new valuation more than doubles the original $3 billion dollar “overvaluation” that the Department of Defense (DoD) initially reported last week.

Pentagon Spokeswoman Sabrina Singh revealed the accounting change at a press briefing on Tuesday:

“Following up from some announcements earlier this year, during the department's regular oversight of our execution of presidential drawdown authority for Ukraine, we discovered inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine.

“In a significant number of cases, services used replacement costs rather than net book value, thereby overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from U.S. stocks and provided to Ukraine.”

However, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says that the original valuations might not be the “errors” that the Pentagon now claims them to be.

On June 13, Senator Rubio sent a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding the original $3 billion dollar overvaluation, pointing out that the Biden Administration might be using its Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA) to purposely undervalue the equipment, in order to give more aid to Ukraine than what is actually being reported:

“While 22 U.S.C. §2318 gives the President leeway in the valuation of equipment it donates, this inconsistent calculation enables DoD to skirt Congressional caps on donations.

“Additionally, because Congress will need to appropriate funds to replace the equipment, lawmakers should be aware of DoD’s methodology when calculating equipment values.”

Rubio requested that the GAO review the entirety of the DoD’s accounting of all equipment provided to Ukraine, under the PDA since Russia invaded last year, and compare it to the valuation of equipment provided under the PDA to other countries.

“This [review] will ensure U.S. taxpayers are not footing an even larger bill to replace the equipment needed to defend the U.S. and its interests,” Rubio explains.

The Presidential Drawdown Authority allows the president to provide military assistance under section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA). It provides for the quick delivery of defense articles and services from Department of Defense stocks to foreign countries for response to emergencies, without Congressional approval, according to the U.S. Department of State.