The Army is still working through options for how Abrams tanks will be supplied to Ukraine, with the service’s secretary adding it’s not determined yet if tanks will be delivered before the end of year.

“We’re looking at what’s the fastest way we can get the tanks to the Ukrainians. It’s not going to be a matter of weeks, I will say that. None of the options that we’re exploring are [for] weeks or two months. There are longer timelines involved. But I think there are options that are less than two years, less than a year and a half,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told reporters during a Defense Writers Group discussion on Thursday.

U.S. Soldiers, assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, secure their Battalion headquarters in a M1 Abrams Tank, during Decisive Action Rotation 17-04 at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., Feb 19, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. JD Sacharok, Operations Group, National Training Center)

The Biden administration announced plans in late January to supply Ukraine with 31 General Dynamics Land Systems [GD]-built M1A2 Abrams tanks as part of a $400 million weapons aid package to be procured with Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds, rather than drawn from existing Pentagon inventories (Defense Daily, January 25). 

Doug Bush, the Army’s top acquisition official, told reporters following the announcement that senior DoD leaders will be presented with options on how the USAI funds will be used to procure the tanks.

“You can build the tanks from scratch, for example, as we’re doing for [Poland]. We had a big sale with the Poles recently,” Wormuth told reporters. “There are countries that we’ve sold tanks to previously. So we’re looking at all of those options. They have pros and cons. Some could presumably get tanks to Ukrainians more quickly but might, you know, disrupt relations with important allies and partners. So we’re laying that all out and the secretary will look at that and make recommendations to the president.”

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh previously told reporters the decision to procure the Abrams for Ukraine with USAI funds was due to the Pentagon not having the tanks “available in excess in our U.S. stocks” (Defense Daily, Jan. 26).