Even if President Barack Obama decides to send U.S. weaponry to Ukraine, supply shortages and a bureaucratic procurement process mean delivery could take months-potentially blunting any battlefield impact, Censor.NET reports citing The Wall Street Journal.
Such logistical delays plagued the delivery of nonlethal aid: After Kyiv issued a plea for help early last year, meals ready-to-eat arrived in March. First-aid kits began arriving in June, hand-held radios in July, helmets in August, night-vision goggles in September and radar to locate enemy mortars in November and December.
"If it was that hard to get night-vision goggles to Ukraine, I don't know how hard it will be to get them Javelin antitank missiles," said a senior U.S. official.
Other officials say many of the bureaucratic hurdles affecting aid deliveries have been ironed out of the system, and note that Ukraine now is classified as a top-priority recipient.
But the U.S. doesn't have extra supplies of some of the weapon systems and equipment being considered by the White House. As a result, arms would need to be ordered from manufacturers, a step likely to take several months for some critical weapons systems, according to defense officials. U.S. intelligence officials have complained that Russians have penetrated many corners of the Ukrainian government. So deciding whether to transfer technology can become a lengthy interagency discussion, slowing the approval of even nonlethal equipment, officials said.
Although the White House hasn't approved lethal aid, Congress has passed a bill authorizing it, which should help smooth some hurdles. Ukraine also has been accorded the highest priority for a foreign military sales customer, moving them to the front of the line.
That has already resulted in benefits for Kyiv.
Kevlar vests headed to Pakistan were diverted to Ukraine, officials said. The U.S. used a contract for allies fighting in Afghanistan to speed up the delivery of radios to Ukraine. And the Pentagon was able to use special presidential drawdown authority to take equipment from its stockpiles to ship counter-mortar radar to Ukraine.