By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2022) -- On Friday, the Pentagon announced the latest security assistance package for Ukraine. It's worth around $725 million and contains additional munitions for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System along with ammunition for other systems, as well.
While the U.S. military has provided a substantial amount of material from its own inventory to Ukraine, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the Defense Department is always cognizant of its other security commitments and is ensuring it maintains what is needed to support those commitments.
"There is a very detailed process ... as we look at our security assistance to Ukraine, we weigh it against a lot of various factors to include our own readiness," said Ryder. "This is something that we constantly take into account."
Last month, for instance, William A. LaPlante, undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, chaired the first meeting of national armaments directors from member nations in the Ukraine Defense Contact Group to discuss the status of the defense industrial base and look at opportunities to increase production of capabilities critical to Ukraine's long-term defense.
Ryder said that type of meeting is part of an effort to ensure that the U.S. and partner nations continue to be able to support Ukraine while maintaining their own defense and keeping true to other commitments around the world.
"The key point here is that the United States, the international community, our allies and our partners are all working together as an international community to make sure that we can continue to meet our security commitments while at the same time supporting Ukraine -- and that we're doing this together," Ryder said. "At the end of the day, the United States military is going to be ready. We're going to ensure that we're ready to meet our security commitments around the world."
The latest assistance package includes, among other things, ammunition for the HIMARS system; 23,000 155 mm artillery rounds; 500 precision-guided, 155 mm artillery rounds; 5,000 155 mm rounds of remote anti-armor mine systems; 5,000 antitank weapons, high-speed anti-radiation missiles; and more than 200 Humvee vehicles.
As winter approaches, the weather will begin to affect fighting in Ukraine. Ryder said questions about how Ukrainian soldiers can be equipped for that fight are being addressed within the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and in discussions with Ukraine.
"Winter definitely will present some challenges to all parties on the battlefield," Ryder said. "I think that when you look at things like ... rain, snow, mud [and] the impact that it has on the terrain, it definitely will add another level of complexity to an already very dynamic battlefield. This is why ... you see us continuing to work very closely with Ukraine, with our international partners and allies to identify what Ukraine's needs are."
Ryder also told reporters that Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met today with British counterpart Ben Wallace. The two discussed support to Ukraine and the importance of cooperation between the two nations as it relates to Russia's invasion in Ukraine.