Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh conducts a news briefing May 4, 2023, at the Pentagon.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh conducts a news briefing May 4, 2023, at the Pentagon. (Joseph Clark/DOD)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon overestimated the value of weapons that the U.S. has sent to Ukraine by at least $3 billion, an accounting error that would allow the Defense Department to send more weapons now without asking Congress for more money.

The error was caused when officials used costs to replace some weapons rather than the current value of the weapons, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

“During our regular oversight process of presidential drawdown packages, the department discovered inconsistencies in equipment valuation for Ukraine,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said in a statement. “In some cases, ‘replacement cost’ rather than ‘net book value’ was used, therefore overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from U.S. stocks.”

Some U.S. aid is sent to Ukraine through the presidential drawdown authority, which means it will come directly from Pentagon stocks and be sent quickly on an emergency basis. Aid given this way typically reaches Ukraine in a matter of weeks.

Other U.S. aid is provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a program that procures new weapons and equipment from manufacturers. It takes several months for Ukraine to receive items given through the initiative.

The Pentagon’s error comes at a time when Ukraine is gearing up for a much-anticipated counteroffensive against invading Russian forces and U.S. defense officials face increased pressure from Congress about tracking the weapons and equipment given to Ukraine and questions whether support should continue.

Singh said the mistake has not constrained the U.S. support to Ukraine or hampered in sending aid to the battlefield. The accounting error was discovered back in March, according to a defense official.

Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who have generally supported the military aid to Ukraine, criticized the Pentagon and urged President Joe Biden’s administration to provide Ukraine with cluster munitions and long-range missiles to “fuel the counteroffensive and win the war.”

“The revelation of a $3 billion accounting error discovered two months ago and only today shared with Congress is extremely problematic, to say the least,” Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and McCaul, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Thursday in a joint statement. “These funds could have been used for extra supplies and weapons for the upcoming counteroffensive, instead of rationing funds to last for the remainder of the fiscal year.”

To date, the U.S. has given nearly $37 billion to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February 2022. The aid provided has consisted of weapons, millions of munition and ammunition rounds, trucks, sensors, radars and other equipment.

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Matthew Adams covers the Defense Department at the Pentagon. His past reporting experience includes covering politics for The Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle and The News and Observer. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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