OAN Deven Berryhill
UPDATED 1:45 PM PT – Tuesday, February 28, 2023
Armed Service Committee members directed questions at U.S. military officials about the future funding of the Ukrainian government’s war efforts against Russia.
Throughout the two-and-a-half hour hearing, Republican and Democrat committee members posed questions to Colin Kahl, Undersecretary of Defense; Robert P. Storch, Inspector General and Lieutenant General Douglas A. Sims surrounding the future funding of the Ukrainian military. Many questions indirectly surrounded the future funding of the war torn country with F-16 fighter jets. Democrat committee members framed questions in defense of the Biden administration’s funding policies regarding the war in Ukraine.
Armed Services Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) took the opportunity to accuse the Biden administration for “hesitating” in providing crucial weapons to end the war in Ukraine.
“Giving Ukraine what it needs to win would be too escalatory,” said Rogers. “This hesitation has only prolonged the war and driven up the cost in terms of dollars and lives.” Rogers continued saying, “The President must be willing to do what it takes to end it with victory.”
In response to Rogers, ranking minority leader Adam Smith (D-Wash.) stated that his assessment of the Biden administration’s handling of the war effort had performed well, with a “remarkable outcome.” Smith added that he had considered the request of the Ukrainian President to send Ukraine the F-16’s and had concluded that the Biden administration’s decision to only send ground assault weapons to Ukraine was the better choice.
Undersecretary Storch said before the committee that he thought it would take at least a year for the F-16’s to be deployed in Ukraine.
“Look, we’re sending [President Zelensky] what our seasoned military thinks he needs now. He needs tanks, he needs artillery, he needs air defense, including another HIMAR,” President Biden said in a recent statement.
Throughout the hearing, Democrat committee members drove home the narrative that Russian aggression in Ukraine has slowed down. One senior Pentagon official described the front lines in the year-long war in Ukraine as a “grinding slog.”
“You may see small portions of territory change hands in the coming weeks and months. I do not think that there’s anything I see that suggests the Russians can sweep across Ukraine and make significant territorial gains anytime in the next year or so,” said Undersecretary Colin Kahl.
After the public portion of the hearing, the House Armed Services Committee resumed in a classified form. Plans for the committee to vote regarding future appropriations are to be determined.