Watchdog Observes Lack Of Oversight, Says 'Increased Risk' US Arms Could Be Lost En Route To Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jun 15, 2023 - 12:20 AM

Authored by Kyle Anzalone via The Libertarian Institute,

report from the Department of Defense Inspector General found Pentagon employees in Poland failed to follow procedures to account for military equipment being transferred to Ukraine. In the shipments of weapons monitored by the office, Pentagon employees failed to properly track the weapons in three of five shipments.

"DoD personnel did not have the required accountability of the thousands of defense items that they received and transferred at Jasionka, [Poland]," it stated. "We observed that DoD personnel did not fully implement their standard operating procedures to account for defense items and could not confirm the quantities of defense items received against the quantity of items shipped for three of five shipments we observed."

File image via The Australian

The Pentagon does not "have reasonable assurance that their database of all defense items transferred to the [Ukraine] via air transport in Jasionka was accurate or complete." The report added, "14 The DoD may risk providing more or less equipment than authorized by [President Joe Biden], and may not be able to verify the quantity of all defense items before they are transferred to [Ukraine]."

One example in the inspector general report explains how weapons are shipped without a manifest. "One shipment containing thousands of small arms, night vision optics devices, and various types of cold weather gear did not include an air manifest." The report continues, "DoD personnel opened crates to identify the types of defense items contained within the crates, but even then the personnel could not verify whether the number of items they identified represented the true number shipped."

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Washington has shipped tens of billions in weapons to Ukraine, including advanced platforms. The Pentagon inspector general report examined arms shipped to Ukraine directly from American stockpiles. 

Further problems included Pentagon employees in Poland being unable to identify unlabeled weapons being shipped to Ukraine and incomplete training. "DoD personnel in Jasionka further stated that they developed their own [procedures] based on the procedures followed by the unit performing the mission before them," the inspector general explained. The Pentagon employees "added additional accountability measures based on their own judgment."

The failure to inappropriately monitor the shipments has created discrepancies. The inspector general found a "discrepancy between the number of night vision optics devices reported on paper documents and the number reported via electronic means."

The Biden administration and leaders in Congress have insisted that establishing an office to track the billions in weapons being sent to Ukraine is unnecessary. However, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction, John Sopko, said without more oversight, weapons will end up on the black market

Without sufficient oversight, aid "gets stolen or diverted to local oligarchs or local politicians, or just the average Ukrainian will see the waste," Sopko explained. The result would mean the loss of "support of the Ukrainian government by the average Ukrainian who’s fighting, dying and bleeding at the front. And that’s what we saw in Afghanistan… And we, the donors, the US, were identified as supporting the corrupt oligarchs."

Finnish authorities and leaders in Africa have complained that weapons intended for Kiev have been used by criminals and insurgents. President Muhammadu Buhari said in December that arms "being used for the war in Ukraine and Russia are equally beginning to filter to the region."