The Pentagon made a $3 billion accounting blunder that could mean the US can send more arms to Ukraine, reports say

Ukrainian soldiers fire US-made "M109" self-propelled howitzer on the frontline, in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine on February 17, 2023.
Ukrainian soldiers in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.Photo by Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • The Pentagon overvalued the cost of weapons sent to Ukraine by $3 billion, Reuters reported.

  • Biden's administration could now send more weapons without having to get budget approval from Congress.

  • The error was caused by the Pentagon using replacement costs to value the arms.

The Pentagon overvalued the cost of weapons it sent to Ukraine by $3 billion, in a blunder that may allow the US to send further weaponry to the besieged country to help in its fight against Putin's forces, Reuters reported.

Two senior defense officials told Reuters on Thursday that the error was due to the Pentagon valuing the weapons at their current replacement costs rather than their depreciated values.

One of the sources added that the figure could grow even higher as the investigation continues.

"We've discovered inconsistencies in how we value the equipment that we've given," one official also told Reuters.

The accounting error could enable the Department of Defense to send more weapons to Ukraine without the Biden administration needing to get budget approval from Congress, Reuters reported.

The officials said that Congress was to be informed of the issue on Thursday.

A Ukrainian solider shows the rockets on a HIMARS vehicle between some trees
A Ukrainian unit commander shows the rockets on a HIMARS vehicle in Eastern Ukraine on July 1, 2022.Anastasia Vlasova for The Washington Post via Getty Images

US Senator Roger Wicker, the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Reuters that "the Department of Defense's change in evaluating the costs of arms sent to Ukraine is a major mistake."

"Its effect would be to underestimate future needs for our European allies. Our priority should be a Ukrainian victory over Putin. Unilaterally altering military aid calculations is an attempt at deception and undermines this goal," he added.

According to the German research institute the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the US promised just over 71 billion euros, which is around $77 billion, in humanitarian, financial, and military aid to Ukraine between January 24, 2022, and February 24, 2023.

Of this, just over 43 billion euros, or around $46.5 billion, was for military support.

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