As Congress considers President Biden’s proposal for $75.7 billion to assist Ukraine and Israel further, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed on Tuesday that without U.S. support, neither nation will likely achieve victory in their respective conflicts.
Austin stated, “My assessment is that if the United States does not continue to support Ukraine, they will not succeed.” He further noted that Israel would also struggle to overcome Hamas in the ongoing Gaza Strip ground assault without U.S. aid.
During the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin advocated for the defense and diplomatic section of Biden’s $107 billion supplemental funding request, submitted to Congress on October 20.
The proposal from the White House includes $61.4 billion for Ukraine and $14.3 billion for Israel, along with approximately $10 billion designated for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza. The remaining funds aim to address the crisis at the U.S. southern border.
Earlier this month, NATO Military Committee head Admiral Rob Bauer indicated a looming shortage of Western munitions in Ukraine, stating, “the bottom of the barrel is now visible.” As of Tuesday, the U.S. had about $5.4 billion left for sending weapons and military equipment to Ukraine from the Defense Department’s stockpile, according to Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder.
The new $61.4 billion request for Ukraine includes $12 billion for purchasing new key weapons, $18 billion to replenish U.S. military stockpiles given to Kyiv, and $10.7 billion for cybersecurity, intelligence support, and maintaining the “enhanced presence of U.S. personnel deployed in Europe” since the war’s start explained Austin.
The U.S. has consistently supported Israel with $3.3 billion annually in military aid as part of a ten-year memorandum signed in 2018. This support has encompassed air-defense capabilities, small-diameter bombs, precision-guided munitions, and interceptors for Israel’s crucial Iron Dome system.
However, following the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack, U.S. defense officials acknowledge that Israel will require more than the annual funding for effective warfare. The funding request for Israel includes $4.4 billion to replenish Pentagon stocks of weapons provided to Israel, $5.2 billion to enhance the capacity of the Iron Dome and other air-defense systems, and $1 billion to increase U.S. production capacity for critical munitions, especially 155-millimeter artillery.
Austin highlighted the need to resource allies like Ukraine, stating that current production levels are adequate for the U.S. alone but insufficient for supporting allies. The DOD requests an additional $3.7 billion to expand production capacity within the industrial base to address this. He noted that approximately $50 billion of the request would flow through the U.S. defense industrial base, creating jobs in over 30 states and strengthening military readiness through replenishing stockpiles.