The US Department of Defense (DoD) has submitted an urgent supplementary budget request totalling $58bn, which, if approved, will go towards ongoing US support to Ukraine and Israel, as well as provide needed investment into the submarine industrial base.
During a 31 October press briefing at the Pentagon, defence officials said that the funding request made by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the US Senate comprised of $10.6bn “to help Israel defend itself”, a further $44.4bn “to help Ukraine continue to defend itself against Russia’s ongoing aggression” and $3.3bn “to meet US military requirements in our submarine industrial base and to fulfill our AUKUS commitments”.
US officials have stated that the country is able to sustain support to both Ukraine and Israel as each country is engaged in combat in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip respectively. Washington’s defence equipment support to Israel currently consists of air defence capabilities, artillery ammunition, and interceptors for the Iron Dome system.
On 26 October, the US announced its latest security assistance package to Ukraine, including provision of air defence missiles, 105mm and 155mm artillery shells, Javelin anti-armour systems, and more than two million rounds of small arms ammunition, among other equipment, valued at a total of $150m.
The supplemental budget request for Ukraine support alone amounts to more than the combined total value of the support packages Washington has committed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which totals $43.9bn. According to the DoD “a little more” than $5.4bn in restored US Presidential Drawdown Authority funding remains available for Ukraine.
The US has provided more than 4,000 armoured and military vehicles to Ukraine and over three million rounds of medium and high calibre artillery ammunition and rockets.
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US military advisors assisting Israel’s hostage response
Israel’s response to attacks by Hamas militants on 7 October, which left around 1,400 Israeli’s dead and a further 200 taken hostage, has resulted in widespread destruction of northern Gaza as a sustained air campaign has recently been augmented with ground incursions to eliminate Hamas’ military capability. Hamas-run civilian authorities in Gaza say that thousands of civilians have been killed by Israeli military operations.
US military advisors, often a euphemism for Special Forces, are confirmed to be advising Israel on best practices for hostage recovery protocols. The US DoD also confirmed that a further 300 military personnel have deployed to the Central Command area of operations – which is tasked with Middle East security – also pointedly stated that the forces had not been sent to Israel itself.
The US has also committed two naval carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean region to act as a deterrent to regional actors intent on expanding the current Gaza war elsewhere into neighbouring countries.
Iran provides, in part or whole, political, military, and financial support to a wide range of groups in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, and Iraq, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Houthi movement.