The Pentagon is working to form a new command to coordinate the arming and training of Ukraine



CNN

The Pentagon is working to form a new command to coordinate arming and training Ukraine, according to two US officials, in an effort to streamline what has been a largely ad hoc process in the wake of Russia’s invasion.

The new command, which would be based in Wiesbaden, Germany, would report to General Christopher Cavoli, the commander of US European Command, who has led a multinational effort to train Ukrainian military forces in advanced Western weapons and deliver those weapons across the border. With Ukraine, said an official. He is expected to be led by a 3-star general.

But the U.S. has been careful how it discusses the plans, with officials stressing that it is not a major change to the current system for organizing and administering the shipments. Officials are careful not to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a reason to say the U.S. is involved in the conflict, especially given the heightened rhetoric coming from the Kremlin about the threat of using nuclear weapons.

The New York Times was the first to report on the new command.

The Biden administration has made clear its continued and long-term support for Ukraine. This week, the Pentagon announced another $1.1 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine, which a senior defense official called a “multi-year investment” in the country’s defenses.

Since the Russian invasion began in late February, the United States has committed more than $16 trillion in security assistance to Ukraine. Much of the aid is aimed at the demands of the current struggle, but increasingly, the administration has also focused on Ukraine’s medium- and long-term needs.

Since the first weeks of the war, the US has sought ways to quickly and efficiently translate Ukrainian orders for various types of equipment into arms shipments, turning a process that normally takes weeks or more into days.

As Ukrainian forces proved they could withstand a Russian invasion, and as Putin’s quick victory turned into a bruising war, the number of countries willing to provide security assistance to Ukraine grew.

The US and its allies and partners created the Ukraine Contact Group, a group of more than 40 countries that meet monthly to coordinate arms and equipment shipments to Ukraine.

The new command would create a more formal military structure to manage shipments, officials said. The planned location in central Germany puts it close to many training areas used by the US and Western countries to teach Ukrainian forces how to use Western weapons.

The command would also work closely with the International Donor Coordination Center (IDCC), which has played an important role in managing the logistics needed to match Ukraine’s arms needs with the stockpiles of potential donor countries.