Pentagon unveils new US command in Germany, more Ukraine aid
The Pentagon has revealed a fresh $400 million security assistance package to Ukraine.
The Pentagon said on Friday that the Defense Department is establishing a new command to supervise how the United States and its allies train and equip the Ukrainian military, along with a new package of $400 million in security support.
According to current and former senior US officials, the Pentagon's commitment to providing Ukraine with weapons and the establishment of the new command is crystal-clear indications that Washington anticipates the "threat" from Russia to Ukraine and its neighbors to last for a very long time, as reported by the New York Times.
The command will “ensure we are postured to continue supporting Ukraine over the long term,” Sabrina Singh, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, told reporters at a news briefing.
“We remain committed to Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
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The new command will be known as the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine, or SAG-U, and will be based within the Pentagon's European Command, with its headquarters in Germany. It will employ approximately 300 people and will be committed to providing Ukraine with military equipment and training.
It will streamline a training and aid structure that was thrown together on the fly in the aftermath of the Russian military operation in February. The New York Times reported in September that the new structure was under construction.
The revised support program will be directed by a high-ranking general who will replace General Christopher T. Donahue, the leader of the Army's 18th Airborne Corps, who has managed much of the United States military assistance to Ukraine from behind the scenes in recent months.
General Antonio A. Aguto, Jr., the commander of the First United States Army headquarters at Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, is a top candidate for the new role, according to military officials.
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Singh stated that the additional $400 million in security assistance will include, for the first time, funds to rebuild 45 tanks from the Czech Republic, which will begin arriving in Ukraine by the end of December. Contracts for 1,100 Phoenix Ghost drones and an extra 40 riverine boats will also be funded.
The latest commitment puts the total amount of military assistance provided by the US to Ukraine at $18.9 billion since the launch of the military operation. The monies are made up of both immediate shipments from stocks and contracts for weapons to be delivered over the following three years.
General Donahue, who commanded the American evacuation from Afghanistan in August 2021, has helped oversee training in Ukraine by discussing with Ukrainian generals their battlefield needs and drawing on his Special Operations background to advise his Ukrainian counterparts.
Since the beginning of the war, Donahue and his team have been stationed in Poland and Germany. Donahue's staff recently returned to its main headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C., where they were met this week by Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III. Pentagon officials indicated General Donahue will remain in Germany until his successor arrives.
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The new command, which will answer to General Christopher G. Cavoli, America's top officer in Europe, will carry out the choices made by the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a coalition of 40 countries formed by the Defense Department following the military operation to handle Ukraine's needs. That said, senior military officials from the member countries convened in Brussels this week.
There are changes, which aim to give a formal structure to what has been improvised since the war’s onset, which is roughly modeled on US train-and-assist efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades.