Written by David Zimmermann
What's Happening: Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) have introduced legislation aimed at "preventing further accounting issues" within the Defense Department. The joint proposal by the Republican senators comes over three weeks after the Pentagon admitted it had accidentally sent an extra $6.2 billion to Ukraine since the start of the war.
Why it matters: If approved, the bill would safeguard American taxpayer dollars by requiring the DoD to accurately report the total cost of defense spending sent overseas. Republicans in the House also sought to incorporate a provision in the annual defense policy bill to establish a special inspector general for Ukraine aid, an effort the White House has fought.
By the numbers: Over the past 17 months, the Biden administration has dumped at least $113 billion in the war with no apparent end in sight. It has been reported that a smaller-than-expected percentage of U.S. aid — just 30 to 40 percent at one stage — reaches the frontlines, while funds are misappropriated by Ukraine's corrupt politicians and weapons are diverted to the black market. Prior to the war, Ukraine was notoriously ranked as one of the most corrupt countries globally.
Uphill battle: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confronts a significant challenge as he steps up his fight against corruption within his own government — a move that could potentially garner him additional Western support. Earlier this year in January, he dismissed nine top officials due to allegations of bribery and embezzlement.
- Remember Afghanistan? It's not uncommon for countries to lose track of military funding during war due to theft and corruption. Over 20 years, the U.S. allocated $146 billion in aid to Afghanistan, with significant amounts being siphoned off by Afghan oligarchs.