Pentagon Mistake Gifts Ukraine $3 Billion More In Weapons

In an odd twist on accounting from officials responsible for spending billions of taxpayer dollars, the Pentagon admitted to a major mistake Thursday. Reuters revealed the Defense Department had overvalued arms sent to fight the Russian invasion by some $3 billion.

This means it can send many more arms to Kyiv without congressional approval because of a math error. That’s a rather enormous error to simply write off by any standards.

The Associated Press reported that the faulty arithmetic came when authorities calculated the value of equipment being shipped based on its value when new. By redoing its figures, the Pentagon found it could ship more to the war zone.

Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh revealed that accountants used “replacement cost” instead of “net book value” to determine the worth of the massive arms shipments.

Many of the aid shipments have been mostly older gear already in use because these stockpiles are easier to quickly deploy to Ukraine.

This coincides, and not coincidentally, with calls from critics from a much higher level of accountability for billions being poured into Eastern Europe.

From August 2021, the U.S. has delivered weapons to Ukraine with an estimated value of $21.1 billion from its stockpiles. Of course, that figure is subject to change at any moment.

An example of the type of accounting performed by the Pentagon is found in the 155 millimeter ammunition used in Howitzer cannons. Over 1.5 million of these pieces have been delivered.

The current price for each is $800, but senior defense officials say they were procured by the military over several years. This means the value can be averaged far lower.

Some see this as possibly providing wiggle room for the Biden administration in its fight with congressional Republicans over raising the debt ceiling. Sending the $3 billion in additional armaments could temporarily suspend the need to ask Congress for more allocations.

The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), was not pleased with the news that Pentagon bookkeepers made such a major mistake.

As he explained, “its effect would be to underestimate future needs for our European allies. Our priority should be a Ukrainian victory over Putin. Unilaterally altering military aid calculations is an attempt at deception and undermines this goal.”

The U.S. has delivered a total of 37 military packages for Ukraine’s defense. Included with standard military armaments are High Mobility Artillery System (HIMARS) launchers, Javelin anti-tank weapons, and a Patriot surface-to-air missile system.