Monday, December 5th, 2022

Pentagon Plans to Set Up a New Command to Arm Ukraine, Officials Say

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The proposal originated this year with Gen. Tod D. Wolters, General Cavoli’s predecessor, and was fine-tuned after General Cavoli took command in July.

Lt. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue, who commanded the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan in August 2021, has coordinated much of the U.S. military assistance to Ukraine from behind the scenes over the past several months.

From his forward headquarters in Wiesbaden, General Donahue, a former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division who now leads the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps, has helped oversee training, talking to Ukrainian generals about their battlefield needs and drawing on his Special Operations background to advise his Ukrainian counterparts.

But General Donahue and his command staff, who have been deployed to Poland and Germany since the early days of the war, are scheduled to return to their main headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the next month, Defense Department officials said.


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So the Pentagon would need someone else to lead the more formal command structure.

Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, the Pentagon press secretary, declined to discuss the proposal but added in an email, “We are continuously assessing and refining our internal posture and processes to ensure we provide Ukraine with timely, relevant security assistance to meet its most urgent needs on the battlefield and to build its enduring strength to deter future Russian aggression.”

U.S. officials have not publicly discussed the proposal, partly because Pentagon officials are still sorting through the plan but also to avoid feeding into the narrative of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that his country is at war with the United States and NATO, not Ukraine.

Still, the Pentagon has taken steps to begin the expected consolidation of the train-and-equip duties. Over the summer, a cell of logistics specialists that matches Ukraine’s requests with military donations from more than 40 nations moved to Wiesbaden from Stuttgart, Germany.

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