The new military unit will reportedly be modeled on “train-and-assist efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan” over the past 20 years
The Pentagon is working to establish a new military command dedicated to arming and training Ukrainian soldiers, US officials told multiple media outlets, suggesting the effort will be effective. “revision” the current process for arms transfers to Kiev.
The command would be based in Wiesbaden, Germany – where the US military has its European headquarters – and would consist of 300 staff members led by General Christopher Cavoli, who heads the army’s European command, according to unspecified said officials quoted by the New York Times and CNN on Thursday.
“The changes, which aim to give formal structure to what has been improvised since the start of the war, have been roughly modeled on the US train-and-assist efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past two decades,” reported the Times.
While the new unit aims to make major changes to the current train-and-equipment program for Kiev, Wiesbaden remains a key part of the plan, as most of the Ukrainian troops currently being instructed on US weapons do so in or near the city. .
Since Russia sent troops to the neighboring country in late February, US military aid to Ukraine has been largely managed from Germany and Poland by Lieutenant General Christopher Donahue, who also oversaw the chaotic evacuation of US troops from Afghanistan last year. However, Donahue and his staff will return home next month, creating the need for a specialized command focused on training and arming Ukrainian troops.
The proposal for the new unit was initially floated earlier in the conflict by General Tod Wolters, with Cavoli “refining” the idea after taking his place at EUCOM in July, the Times reported.
In late August, the Wall Street Journal similarly reported that Washington was looking for a general to lead the arm-and-train program in Ukraine, suggesting the initiative could be given an official mission name, as well as “long term, dedicated financing” of the US government. The outlet added that the changes a “Shifting the largely ad hoc efforts to provide years of training and assistance to the Ukrainians.”
The United States has approved nearly $17 billion in arms transfers to the Ukrainian military so far this year, and the vast majority of that aid has been approved since hostilities escalated in February. While large amounts of equipment and ammunition come directly from existing stockpiles, the Pentagon is also working with weapons suppliers to manufacture weapons specifically for Kiev, including 18 brand new High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) announced earlier this week — one of the platforms with the longest distance delivered by Washington to date.
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