Saturday, January 17, 2015

Feds Buy 'Cossack' Armored Border Guard Truck … For Ukraine

    In April, the Obama administration announced plans for financial aid, advisers, and 'non-lethal' security assistance for Ukraine in its struggle against Russian encroachment on its territory. Eight months later, citing the "urgent and compelling need to establish security and stability," the White
House National Security Council staff approved the purchase of an armored “Cossack” truck, a rapid-reaction military vehicle, for use by the border guard service of Ukraine.

    The $189,000 vehicle was purchased from the Practika PJSC company, in Ukraine, and is being handled by the state department's procurement office in Germany.
    Despite the lapse of eight months since the assistance was announced by President Obama, the Justification and Approval document cited "unusual and compelling urgency" as the reason that full and open competition was precluded for the contract. When asked about the timing of the vehicle purchase, a state department official replied, "The United States has committed over $118 million to Ukrainian forces since the start of the crisis, including over $47 million in equipment to border guards.  The urgent and compelling requirements are derived from Ukraine’s ongoing operations to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity." The official also said that the vehicle is scheduled to be delivered to Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service on January 19th: "The “Cossack” armored truck, designed and manufactured by the Ukrainian company 'Practika,' is one of a variety of armored vehicles that we are providing to Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service to help it better monitor and secure its borders and operate more safely and effectively."
    A June 4, 2014, "fact sheet" issued by the White House said that as of that date, "President Obama has approved more than $23 million in additional defensive security assistance since early March," and went on to detail the assistance already provided to the Ukrainian border service:
Embassy Kyiv has purchased and delivered 20-person shelters, sleeping bags, fuel filter adapters, barbed wire, patrol flashlights, perimeter alarm systems, fuel pumps, concertina wire, vehicle batteries, spare tires, binoculars, excavators, trucks, generators, food storage freezers, field stoves, and communications gear to the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service, for use in monitoring and securing their borders.
    THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported in August that the state department spent $435,000 on security fencing for the Ukrainian border.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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