The Biden administration announced this week that the U.S. will provide 31 Abrams M-1 tanks to Ukraine, and Germany said it will send 14 of its Leopard tanks to Kyiv.
The tank deal and the first anniversary of the start of the war next month offer an opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness and future direction of U.S. military aid to Ukraine, which has been authorized at more than $27 billion in the last year alone — an annual amount not seen since the height of the Vietnam War.
American arms and training, combined with the skill and courage of Ukrainian forces, have been highly effective in blunting Russia’s attack and rolling back some of its initial territorial gains. The question is how to continue supporting Ukraine without inching closer to a direct U.S.-Russian confrontation.
The tank deal itself will not be a game-changer militarily. The relatively small numbers involved, and the fact that the U.S. systems reportedly may not arrive in Ukraine for six months to well over a year, are just part of the issue. Daniel Davis, who served in an armored cavalry regiment in a devastating tank battle with Iraqi forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf war, has pointed out that to be fully effective in using them, U.S. personnel required more than a year of training.
Read the full piece in the Los Angeles Times.