That a large sum of U.S. funding supports Ukraine’s defense against Russian aggression is well understood. What few people know is that the Pentagon, State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) have teamed up to create a comprehensive monitoring process to ensure that funding is used effectively and transparently. The process appears to be working.
On March 1, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) summed up what he saw on an official oversight trip that took him to Poland and Ukraine: “To date, no significant acts of fraud or misuse involving U.S. assistance have occurred.” Rep. Lisa McClain (R-Mich.) of the House Armed Services Committee reached a similar conclusion after her own visit to the front. She said, “[When you] actually see the inventory of weapons that we are sending and just how they are getting from Point A to Point B and how we’re tracking them … that, I can assure you, raised my level of confidence. There is a saying, ‘One look is worth 1,000 reports.’”
While the Ukraine mission commands significant bipartisan support, lawmakers want to be confident, ahead of additional funding votes, that the executive branch is being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. At an open House Armed Services Committee hearing on Feb. 28, lawmakers heard from military and civilian officials, including Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch, about how the department accounts for weapons and related support.
Maseh Zarif, a national security and foreign affairs policy professional, is director of congressional relations for FDD Action, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for effective policies to promote U.S. national security. Follow him on Twitter @masehz.