The White House announced plans to strengthen "cooperation and co-production" between the U.S. and Ukraine's Defense Industrial Bases following the first day of meetings of the U.S.-Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference at the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 6.
The U.S.-Ukraine Defense Industrial Base Conference convened more than 350 U.S., Ukrainian, and European industry and government representatives in Washington, DC to enhance collaboration and production between U.S. and Ukrainian defense companies and increase overall weapons production.
According to the White House statement, the U.S. State Department plans "to send an advisor to the Ministry of Strategic Industries of Ukraine to support and accelerate Ukraine's transition to an interoperable military force, combat corruption, and attract foreign investment in critical industries."
Additionally, new plans include an Interagency 'Ukraine Deal Team' as well as 'Co-production and Technical Data Exchange.' The Interagency team will consist of representatives from the Department of Defense and Commerce as well as the State Department that will support and guide potential deals and export requirements for Ukraine's defense industry.
The data exchange will more specifically address operational needs in Ukraine's air defense systems, repair and sustainment, and production of critical munitions as well as "facilitate the quicker movement of investment deals."
The Department of Defense and industry partners will also provide Ukraine with relevant technical data to start local domestic production of FrankenSAM projects "that seek to enable Ukraine’s legacy air defense systems by integrating certain Western munitions."
The announcement comes as Senate Republicans block a supplemental funding bill that included aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan in a procedural vote held on Dec. 6. The funding package includes $61 billion in aid to Ukraine.
Funding for Ukraine has become a source of controversy among U.S. lawmakers in recent months, bringing the government to the brink of a shutdown.
Ahead of the vote, President Joe Biden emphasized the urgency of passing the funding bill, as aid is set to potentially run out in the coming weeks. He strongly encouraged Congress to pass the bill before the holiday recess.