A Pentagon spokesperson issued a warning on Tuesday, highlighting potential disruptions to US military aid and training for Ukrainian forces in the event of a US government shutdown.
During a shutdown, the Pentagon will still have access to equipment from its own stockpiles, which is the primary source of equipment sent to Ukraine. This is possible because the department retains billions of dollars in funding under the Presidential Drawdown Authority. However, the delivery of this equipment and the ongoing training of Ukrainian forces could face challenges due to personnel furloughs and the suspension of non-essential activities by the Department of Defense (DoD).
Chris Sherwood, a Pentagon spokesperson, emphasized that any such impact on US support would occur at a critical juncture in the conflict, with Ukrainian troops engaged in a vital counteroffensive against Russia. Politico initially reported Sherwood’s remarks.
Additionally, a government shutdown could affect the delivery and execution of aid provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) program. USAI has funded the production of essential equipment like Abrams tanks and training programs such as F-16 pilot instruction. The US plans to deliver 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine soon and initiate F-16-related language training for Ukrainian pilots. Major Charlie Dietz, another Pentagon spokesperson, stated that work and delivery of equipment funded by previous USAI notifications would continue, but furloughs and the suspension of non-essential activities within the DoD could impact execution.
Furthermore, the Pentagon would be unable to establish new contracts with defense companies for additional equipment production under USAI during a shutdown. Sherwood clarified that the Department has already allocated all available USAI funding, and no new notifications can be made until additional appropriations are secured.
Last week, the Pentagon issued guidance on how the US military would operate in the event of a shutdown. While missions and functions not critical to US national security would be halted, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin retains the authority to make exceptions to this policy at any time.
The US government is currently facing the prospect of a shutdown, as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have acknowledged the insufficient time to pass all 12 appropriations bills before the September 30 deadline. Instead, the House and Senate must seek a short-term solution to extend negotiations, though the outcome remains uncertain.
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