‘We have a flow problem’: Retired major on Ukraine weapons

On Balance with Leland Vittert

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — U.S. President Joe Biden announced an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine on Wednesday, bringing the total military aid tally since Russian forces invaded in February to more than $2.5 billion.

While quite the price tag, Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) told “On Balance with Leland Vittert” on Wednesday that the issue in helping Ukraine is one of logistics, not finance.

“We have a flow problem,” Green said. “We’re never going to go below our strategic reserves but it’s about the diameter of the pipe — the company right now can’t make more.”

The scope of the systems provided include additional helicopters, armored personnel carriers, unmanned coastal defense boats and heavy artillery ahead of a wider Russian assault expected in eastern Ukraine.

Biden said equipment provided to Ukraine “has been critical” as it confronts the invasion in a statement after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“We cannot rest now. As I assured President Zelenskyy, the American people will continue to stand with the brave Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom,” Biden said in a written statement.

The question, however, is how long American can keep it up.

According to Green, that answer is contingent on the government, which has limited the capacity of their weapon system supply.

“It’s not all Biden’s fault on this one. This is a whole of government, Congress and administration’s past that have cut the size of our military-industrial complex — the base of industries and companies that supply our weapons systems.

Green went on to say that scaling back is also not an option, explaining to the program how resources to Ukraine have included training, as well, which has been pivotal to their success up until this point.

“I have told the big Army guys over at the Pentagon, don’t dare cut the soft budget, because what you’re seeing right now — the actual skills of the Ukrainian fighters — are because our special forces were in there training these guys. So we can’t make those cuts,” he said.

The largest issue going forward, Green says, is the length of the conflict, as the Russians continue to push to take over the Donbas region and create a land bridge connecting Crimea to the mainland.

Because the Ukrainians are committed to pushing Russian forces out, the fight is going to last a long time. Meaning, “we have to figure out, how do we sustain the Ukrainians in this long term fight without, you know, again, propagating the Russians to fight with us,” Green said.

The answer to that, he says, is staying course.

“What … we’ve got to do is commit ourselves to the long term here,” Green says. “This is going to be a long-term fight and Americans have to prepare our economy and our military industrial base.”

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