The US House Armed Services Committee passed its proposal for the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and approved $200 million on weapons and training for Ukrainian forces to “provide military training and assistance to Ukraine to allow it to better defend itself and increase the costs to Russia for engaging in such aggressive behavior against Ukraine.” The Bill was passed with a bipartisan vote of 60 to 2 on Thursday 30, 2015.
Section 1532 of the H.R. 1735 — FY16 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION BILL calls for the US to provide the support to the military and national security forces of Ukraine through September 30, 2016, including training, equipment, lethal weapons of a defensive nature, logistics support, supplies and services, and sustainment:
“This section would authorize the Secretary of Defense, in concurrence with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance and sustainment to the military and national security forces of Ukraine through September 30, 2016. This assistance would include the explicit authority for the Secretary of Defense to provide lethal weapons of a defensive nature to the security forces of Ukraine. This section would also require a notification to specified congressional committees containing a description of the plan for providing assistance, and require a quarterly report on the status of the activities and assistance. Lastly, this section would authorize appropriations of $200.0 million to carry out this authority.”
In addition to Ukraine will be provided nonlethal security assistance as it was recommended in the report “Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What theUnited States and NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Must Do“:
“While the committee acknowledges the Administration’s efforts to provide nonlethal security assistance to Ukraine, including its March 2015 announcement that $75.0 million in Department of Defense European Reassurance Initiative funds would be allocated to provide additional nonlethal equipment to Ukraine, the committee believes that defensive weapons and training are also necessary to enhance the defense of Ukraine. The committee notes that a February 2015 Atlantic Council, Brookings Institute, and Chicago Council on Global Affairs Report, “Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What theUnited States and NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization] Must Do,” authored by former senior U.S. diplomatic and military officials, came to a similar conclusion in its recommendation that the United States and NATO “bolsterUkraine’s defense and deter further Russian aggression by providing military assistance to Ukraine — including lethal defensive assistance.”
It is added that this Ukraine assistance authority is a part of a “larger policy to reassure U.S. allies and partners in Europe and to deter further Russian aggression”:
“The committee views this Ukraine assistance authority as part of a larger policy to reassure U.S. allies and partners in Europe and to deter further Russian aggression in both conventional and unconventional forms. Therefore, elsewhere in this Act, the committee includes a provision that would authorize funds for the Department of Defense to continue its European Reassurance Initiative activities, including increasing training, exercises, and partnership capacity with European allies and partners. Additionally, elsewhere in this report, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to undertake a study on how the Department should address unconventional warfare methods.”
The US House Armed Services Committee is chaired by Texas Republican Mac Thornberry who said that the weaponry and other defensive assets sent to Ukraine under this legislation would be for the country’s defense and to stop the Russian invasion:
“I think it’s wrong to say these people are going to lose, therefore, they should not even have the ability to defend themselves,” he said. “I think it’s really shortsighted to say Putin is going to win anyway, so everybody ought to just lay down and roll over us.”
“I guarantee you he will keep rolling over people until somebody stands up to stop him. The other side has plenty of weapons … the problem is the Ukrainians don’t have the weapons to fight back.”
“There is “a bad case of wishful thinking” in the United States and across the pond when it comes to trying to negotiate with someone like Putin to stop aggression against another country, it’s unfortunate the world has to keep learning that Putin now, and others before him, will keep pushing until someone stops them,” underlined Mac Thornberry.