Are U.S. Capacity-Building Efforts in Ukraine Making an Impact? An Analysis of U.S. Government Spending and Foreign Aid Programs in Ukraine
In 2019, the United States government spent over $588 million to build partner capacity (BPC) in Ukraine. Within the U.S. government, departments and agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of Defense (DoD), and Department of State (DoS) spend tens of millions of dollars each year developing, funding, and conducting programs that primarily focus on three things—governance, security, and the economy. One of the primary goals of capacity-building efforts in Ukraine is to legitimize the government and strengthen our alliance. The DoD focuses capacity building efforts on improving the security and defense capabilities of Ukraine. As a U.S. Army Special Operations Forces Civil Affairs officer, I spent six years focused on capacity-building efforts in Eastern Europe. A key component of the Civil Affairs mission was strengthening our relationships and deterring foreign aggression through defense capacity-building operations. Working closely with U.S. allies and partners, I gained considerable experience developing, refining, and practicing crisis response coordination programs through the U.S. embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation. In my experience working with allies in Eastern Europe, capacity-building efforts had marked success, but in a non-NATO ally such as Ukraine are U.S. investments making long-term positive change?
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