U.S. assistance to Ukraine doesn’t affect its focus on the Indo-Pacific region, or limit its ability to ensure partners in the Pacific get the hardware and supplies they need, according to a senior defense official.
Most of the hardware that’s been provided to Ukraine, the official said during a briefing at the Pentagon, comes through presidential drawdown authority — which means they are pulled directly from existing military stocks.
As of May 6, the U.S. has committed about $4.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. Thousands of pieces of military hardware and over 50 million rounds of ammunition were included.
“We’re taking things that are off our inventory shelves, and giving them directly to Ukraine,” the official said. “Most of the military capabilities, the systems, the weapons, the platforms that our allies and partners in the Pacific use, they get it through foreign military sales … It’s a completely different set of priorities, a completely different set of sources.”
The U.S. already has provided, over 1,400 Stinger anti-aircraft systems; more than 5,500 Javelin anti-armor systems; 700 Switchblade tactical unmanned aerial systems, 90 155 mm Howitzers and 208,000 155 mm artillery rounds; 17 counter-artillery radars; and over 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition to the Ukrainians.
“The president’s trip is proof positive of that, as well as everything else we’ve been doing in the Indo-Pacific,” the official said. “Everybody is focused on Ukraine, and we understand that. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped working with allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific, it doesn’t mean we stopped our air and naval activity in the Indo-Pacific — and we’ve been talking about that throughout the last 85 days.”