WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army is already executing on a plan to send M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, the Army’s acquisition chief said Wednesday.
The Pentagon announced early this year it would send General Dynamics Land Systems-made Abrams tanks to Ukraine. Since then, Defense Department officials have said they were weighing a variety of options, including building new tanks or drawing existing older tanks from U.S. inventory.
But speaking at a webcast hosted by Defense News, Doug Bush said Wednesday the Army already has a plan. “We’re executing it,” he said. “We just can’t talk about the details.”
Late last month, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said the Army would not be able to get tanks to Ukraine for at least months and quite possibly not before the end of this year.
“There are longer timelines involved, but I think there are options that are less than two years, less than a year-and-a-half,” she said.
Sending tanks to Ukraine is not a simple process, Bush said.
“It’s not just sending a tank,” he said. “A tank by itself is not a military capability, you have to send the whole package. That includes ammunition, vehicles to maintain it, fuel, you have to do the training on the system so that it can be sustained in combat.”
Making the effort more complex, “we have to prepare equipment to go in a way that doesn’t impact readiness of U.S. Army units and it doesn’t affect deliveries of equipment to other allies, who we are also working to fulfill their order for M1 Abrams tanks,” Bush said.
The Pentagon is not yet ready to announce a timeline for delivering Abrams to Ukraine, he added, and likely will never announce an “exact” schedule. “We don’t want to give the Russians certainty about when something’s going to arrive, but efforts are underway to do it as quickly as possible,” Bush said.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.