Ukraine Aid Vital to National, Global Security, Austin Says

  • Published
  • By David Vergun
  • DOD News

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III told lawmakers today that while he's grateful that Congress passed the fiscal year 2024 defense appropriations budget, there's also a $60 billion supplemental funding request awaiting lawmakers' passage that would support Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, as well as increasing submarine production.

About $50 billion of that supplemental would flow through the U.S. industrial base, sustaining American jobs in more than 30 states, he testified, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Department's FY 2025 budget request.

"Our security in these turbulent times relies on American strength of purpose," he said. Russian President Vladimir Putin "is betting that the United States will falter and abandon our friends and leave Ukraine in mortal danger. If the Kremlin prevails in Ukraine, it will embolden would-be aggressors around the globe and the United States would be far less secure if Putin got his way in Ukraine." 

"If America walked away, we would put the free world in peril and risk unimaginable costs and dangers. And we know that China and others are watching and learning from what Putin does and how we respond," he added. 

Despite being outnumbered and outgunned on the battlefield, Ukraine has done a remarkable job. They've taken back some 50% of the ground that the Russians initially occupied, he said.

Ukraine is not asking others to fight for them. They're asking for the means to sustain their efforts, he pointed out. 

Without security assistance, they won't be able to resupply the much-needed air defense systems that they need to protect their people and their other defense capabilities would atrophy, he said. 

Regarding the FY 2025 budget request and future budget requests, Austin said, "The single greatest way that Congress can continue to support the Department of Defense is to pass predictable, sustained and timely appropriations."

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