US to expand training of troops in Ukraine
The United States plans to expand its training of Ukrainian troops in Europe as Russia continues to bombard the country with missile strikes, the Pentagon announced.
“We will expand U.S.-led training for the Ukrainian Armed Forces, to include joint maneuver and combined arms operations training, while building upon the specialized equipment training that we’re already providing to the Ukrainians,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters Thursday.
The next step: Ryder called the combined arms maneuver training a “logical next step in our ongoing training efforts.”
The extra training — to take place in Germany by U.S. Army Europe and Africa Command’s 7th Army Training Command — will take on roughly 500 Ukrainians per month starting in January, he said.
What it’ll entail: The training will include “live fire exercises,” then squad, platoon and company-level training that will culminate in battalion-level maneuver training, in addition to battalion headquarters staff training.
Staying flexible: The Defense Department may adjust the program in the future “based on the needs of our Ukrainian partners and the evolving situation in Ukraine,” Ryder added.
Ryder was “not aware” of any need to increase U.S. forces in Europe to accommodate the training.
Earlier efforts: Over the last seven years, the U.S. has trained some 23,000 Ukrainian soldiers inside the country, a $126 million effort, with training provided mostly by National Guard troops.
But the Pentagon had to make some adjustments on how to go about such aid since Moscow invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The United States since spring has given Ukrainian forces weapons training for artillery systems, drones and radars. More recently, Washington has trained Kyiv’s troops on air defense systems recently given to the embattled country.
Defense budget soars, lawmakers clamor for change
Progressive lawmakers are raising the alarm over a behemoth $858 billion defense authorization bill sent to President Biden’s desk by the Senate on Thursday.
The price tag for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which lays out how the Defense Department will allocate its budget in fiscal 2023 in addition to funding various national security programs outside its jurisdiction — comes in
$85 billion higher than what the Biden administration first requested earlier this year prior to congressional negotiating.
Overblown: Democrats in both the House and Senate have labeled the final figure as a money grab that doe