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Pentagon Faces Accountability Crisis: Over $1 Billion in Tracked Weapons to Ukraine Missing

Pentagon Faces Accountability Crisis: Over $1 Billion in Tracked Weapons to Ukraine Missing
Pentagon Faces Accountability Crisis: Over $1 Billion in Tracked Weapons to Ukraine Missing

In a startling revelation, the Pentagon has come under scrutiny for its failure to track more than $1 billion worth of weapons sent to Ukraine between February and June of the previous year. A recent report from the Pentagon Inspector General highlights a lapse in monitoring the Defense Department’s “enhanced end-use monitoring” (EEUM) program, mandated for certain types of smaller arms prone to interception and redirection to the black market.

Pentagon Faces Accountability Crisis: Over $1 Billion in Tracked Weapons to Ukraine Missing

Pentagon Faces Accountability Crisis: Over $1 Billion in Tracked Weapons to Ukraine Missing

The EEUM-designated defense articles, including Javelin and Stinger missiles, were valued at approximately $1.7 billion over the period under examination. However, the report reveals that as of June 2, 2023, serial number inventories for more than $1.005 billion, constituting 59% of the total value, remained unaccounted for.

This news emerges at a crucial time as Congress debates the continuation of aid to Ukraine, marking the second anniversary of its invasion by Russia. While the U.S. has contributed more than $45 billion in military aid to Ukraine since 2021, concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of monitoring and accountability.

House Republicans, including Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene, have expressed reservations about ongoing aid, pointing to uncertainties about the proper use and handling of weapons. Taylor-Greene, in a tweet linking to the report, emphasized the lack of clarity on the whereabouts of billions in cash and weaponry sent to Ukraine.

Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, however, assured reporters that there is no credible evidence of illicit diversion of U.S.-provided weapons. Despite this, the Inspector General report did not actively investigate whether any untracked equipment ended up on the black market.

The Department of Defense Inspector General has since taken steps to address the issue by stationing personnel in Ukraine, and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) continues to investigate allegations of criminal conduct related to U.S. security assistance to Ukraine.

To enhance auditing procedures, the Inspector General recommended improvements in inventory procedures and collaboration with the State Department to enhance visibility of third-party transfers of EEUM-designated equipment before delivery.

As Congress reconvenes to discuss a supplemental funding bill for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and southern border security, the findings of the Inspector General report add a layer of complexity to the debate, urging a closer examination of the accountability mechanisms in place.

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