The Joe Biden administration has come out in opposition to Congress creating an inspector general’s office to oversee weapons transfers to the Ukrainian government.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a provision that will create an inspector general for the proxy war in Ukraine modeled after the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
SIGAR John Sopko detailed the rampant American failures during the Afghan War for years. His quarterly reports routinely embarrassed American officials who tried to portray the situation in Afghanistan as improving.
Sopko has warned that an inspector general’s official for the Ukraine war needed to be established to prevent a repeat of the situation American aid created in Afghanistan, which saw massive corruption.
“There is an understandable desire amid a crisis to focus on getting money out the door and to worry about oversight later, but too often that creates more problems than it solves,” he wrote in a report submitted to Congress earlier this year. “Given the ongoing conflict and the unprecedented volume of weapons being transferred to Ukraine, the risk that some equipment ends up on the black market or in the wrong hands is likely unavoidable.”
Sopko continued, “You’re bound to get corrupt elements of not only the Ukrainian or the host government, but also of US government contractors or other third party contractors to try to steal the money. There’s just so much money going in, and it’s hard to keep track of.”
The White House argued that creating an inspector general for Ukraine was unnecessary as the Department of Defense was already monitoring transfers.
“This expansion is both unnecessary and unprecedented, as oversight of US assistance for the benefit of a country’s people is already provided by the Inspectors General for the Department of State and United States Agency for International Development,” a White House statement said.
However, a report published in June by the Pentagon inspector general found several issues with US weapons shipments to Ukraine. “DoD personnel did not have the required accountability of the thousands of defense items that they received and transferred at Jasionka, [Poland],” the report explained.
“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.”
The US has shipped tens of billions worth of weapons to Ukraine since the Russian invasion last year. While Washington and Kiev maintain all weapons are being used on the battlefield, governments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa report weapons from Ukraine have been used by criminals and militants.
Additionally, American weapons were used by openly neo-Nazi fighters carrying out cross-border attacks within the Russian mainland. Initially, American officials said they were “skeptical” of reports that the arms these militias used had been provided by the US. However, officials later admitted that, indeed American weapons were used during the raid.