A U.S. government shutdown could halt shipments of critical weapons to Ukraine and military training of the Eastern European country’s forces, a Pentagon spokesman said.
Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government for the 2024 fiscal year. Failure to do so could shut down the government.
A shutdown scenario would force the Defense Department to implement wide-ranging furloughs and suspend nonessential activities that could interrupt the “delivery of defense articles, services and/or military education and training” for Ukraine, Pentagon spokesperson Chris Sherwood said in an emailed statement, Politico reported.
Reuters reported that Mira Resnick, deputy assistant Secretary of State for Regional Security, told a House panel that she could not say what would happen during a shutdown, but in the past the State Department’s bureau of political and military affairs has been unable to process new licenses or new military sales for any partner except in an emergency.
“This is something we would like to avoid,” she told a hearing on U.S. defense cooperation with Taiwan.
During the 2018 shutdown, U.S. forces continued to hunt terrorists in the Middle East, but training for tens of thousands of National Guard and reserve troops was canceled, Politico reported.
According to guidance issued by the Defense Department last week, military training and exercises “required to achieve and maintain operational readiness and to prepare for and carry out such operations” will be exempted during a shutdown.
Additionally, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin could designate certain activities as essential to national security.
U.S. and western military training has been key to Ukraine’s progress so far in the war against Russia, and a shutdown could delay training of Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, Sherwood said.
Even during a shutdown, funding for weapons shipments from the Defense Department’s stockpiles would continue.
Sherwood said the Pentagon can use billions of dollars “recaptured” as part of a “revaluation process” after an accounting error turned up $6.2 billion worth of aid available to send weapons to Ukraine, Politico reported.
The execution of the presidential drawdown “is not subject to a time limitation” and so “can extend across fiscal years,” Sherwood said, Politico reported.
Ukraine is expected to receive additional weapons shipments this month, including the first of a planned 31 U.S. Army M1 Abrams tanks.
Officials hope the tanks will give Ukrainian forces an edge during their counteroffensive.
Charlie McCarthy ✉
Charlie McCarthy, a writer/editor at Newsmax, has nearly 40 years of experience covering news, sports, and politics.
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