Pentagon Discloses Significant Overestimation of $6.2 Billion in Weapons Sent to Ukraine

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The Pentagon has acknowledged a significant accounting mistake, admitting that it underestimated the value of the weapons sent to Ukraine over the last two years by $6.2 billion. The Pentagon’s final accounting error calculation is much higher than its initial estimate of $3 billion in May. The new estimate is about double what was initially estimated, resulting in a surplus that could be used to fund future security packages.

Sabrina Singh, a Pentagon spokesperson, explained that an in-depth review of the error revealed that the military services had used the replacement cost instead of the book values of the military equipment that was pulled from U.S. stock and sent to Ukraine. The error amounted to $3.6 billion for the current fiscal and $2.6 billion for the fiscal year 2022. Singh said:

Services in many cases used net book value instead of replacement costs, overestimating the value.

We confirm that the final FY23 calculation was $3.6 billion and FY22, $2.6 billion. This totals $6.2 billion. These errors do not limit the size of our PDAs or have any impact on the support provided to Ukraine.

The Pentagon used the presidential drawdown authority in the past to bypass the traditional purchasing process and expedite the delivery of weapons, ammo, and equipment to Ukraine. According to previous estimates, the United States has provided over $40 billion worth of security assistance to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. The new accounting error reveals that the United States has provided less than $34 Billion in security assistance.

The U.S. government reported last month that it had provided $75 billion in foreign aid to Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict, including humanitarian, financial, and military assistance.

The United States approved four rounds to Ukraine. Congress approved the latest package in December, which included $45 billion of aid for Ukraine and NATO Allies. The package was meant to last until the end of the fiscal year, which is September. However, the sustainability of the package depends on how the situation evolves on the ground.

Singh said:

The money will be returned to the fund that we’ve set aside for future Pentagon stock drawdowns.

Members of Congress have raised concerns about the effectiveness of tracking aid in order to prevent fraud and diversion. Pentagon assurances about a “robust” program are cold comforts when millions of dollars worth of weapons have been overvalued by mistake, casting doubts on the effectiveness of financial controls. Singh said that despite the accounting error, the delivery of aid would continue as usual to Ukraine.

Last month, when the first $3 Billion accounting error was made public, House Foreign Affairs Chair Michael McCaul, and House Armed Services Chair Mike Rogers both Republicans wrote a joint statement.

Instead of using these funds to last the rest of the fiscal year, they could have been spent on extra supplies and arms for the counter-offensive.

The updated calculation will reduce the likelihood that Congress passes an additional package of assistance, as the White House has stated it would not request before the fiscal year’s end in September. Some lawmakers and congressional staffers worry that funds could run out before mid-summer.