Retired Army general appointed by White House to manage military aid for Ukraine as country braces for Russian assault
Stars and Stripes April 22, 2022
WASHINGTON — A retired three-star Army general has been appointed to the National Security Council to manage military shipments to Ukraine as the embattled country braces for a new Russian offensive, the White House confirmed Friday.
Retired Lt. Gen. Terry Wolff will coordinate military assistance sent to Ukraine by the United States and its partners, including the $800 million weapons package that President Joe Biden authorized Thursday, a White House spokesperson said. The appointment follows a letter sent last week from a group of bipartisan senators to Biden urging him to name a security assistance coordinator for Ukraine to speed up deliveries.
Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said they were pleased the Biden administration heeded their calls. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., also signed the letter.
“Providing assistance to Ukraine is an ongoing national security priority – we need someone at the top,” Shaheen wrote on Twitter. “Glad to see LTG Wolff take this on.”
Wolff has experience working at the Pentagon and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department and the National Security Council — a group of senior officials that advises the president on military and foreign policy matters.
Wolff commanded at every level from platoon to armored division during his 34-year military career. He spent nearly 10 years in Germany beginning in 1983, serving with the 1st Armored Division, the 37th Armor Regiment and the 3rd Infantry Division.
In 2005, Wolff became the deputy commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division and Fort Carson, Colo. He completed three tours in Iraq, commanding the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team and the U.S. Division-Center of the 1st Armored Division.
After retiring in 2014, Wolff helped represent the U.S. in an international coalition to defeat the Islamic State. He has worked as director of the Pentagon’s Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies since 2019.
Senators had said the person tasked with coordinating aid will need to assess Ukraine’s defense needs, eliminate overlapping work between the Defense Department and the State Department and liaise with the defense industry.
“This person would also serve as the chief liaison between the United States government and our allies and partners abroad in matters relating to the transfer of existing stocks and assessment of partner capabilities, such as aircraft, heavy tanks and sophisticated weapons that could be made available to Ukraine,” they wrote to Biden.
The latest security assistance moving to Ukraine includes dozens of howitzers, tactical vehicles to tow them, 144,000 rounds of ammunition for the cannons and 121 tactical drones.
Biden said Thursday that he plans to ask Congress next week to approve a supplemental funding package to keep the aid flowing to Ukraine. Russia is expected to launch a fierce assault on Ukraine’s southern and eastern regions with the aim of conquering the Donbas, a territory partly controlled by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.
A White House spokesperson said Friday that the administration has nearly exhausted funds to supply Ukraine that Congress granted it for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. About $3.25 billion of the $3.5 billion that lawmakers allocated for pulling weapons and equipment from U.S. inventories for Ukraine has already been used, the spokesperson said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pledged to take up the legislation as early as next week. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Friday also called for urgency.
"When Congress returns next week, we must immediately turn to writing an aggressive supplemental for Ukraine that responds to the military and humanitarian needs of the Ukrainian people," he said. "The war is changing in the east, and the Ukrainians need much more to win and roll back Russian aggression. We'll need to get creative."