Inside the Civil Society Campaign to Improve the Lethality and Survivability of the Ukrainian Military
Wednesday, December 7, 2022
Dirksen Senate Office Building
A unique aspect of Ukraine’s decentralized defense has been the rise of civil society organizations marshalling grassroots support for the Ukrainian war effort and humanitarian response. Unlike the USO or care packages Americans send our overseas troops, NGOs are effectively serving as the quartermaster for Ukraine’s troops, supplying tactical gear such as commercial drones, night and thermal vision optics, encrypted radios, and body armor. In many cases, these organizations have supplied this war-winning gear in greater volumes than Ukraine’s government itself, freeing agencies like the Ministry of Defense to focus on securing advanced weapons systems from Western suppliers. These civil society organizations exemplify the total mobilization of Ukrainian society at levels that have only been seen in the West during the Second World War.
The hearing will examine logistical and regulatory challenges that often stymie efforts to surge needed gear to the front and will identify policy options for Washington and Brussels to declutter and harmonize an export framework that was never intended for a massive land war in Europe. It will also seek to answer the question of why frontline units with advanced Western weaponry still lack battlefield essentials such as combat optics, secure communications, and vehicles needed to transport casualties from the red zone to hospitals in the rear.
The following witnesses are scheduled to testify:
- Dora Chomiak, President of U.S.-based NGO Razom for Ukraine
- Taras Chmut, Director of the Ukraine-based foundation Come Back Alive
- Serhiy Prytula, Founder and Chairman of the Ukraine-based Prytula Charity Foundation
- Jonas Öhman, Founder and Head of the Lithuania-based NGO Blue/Yellow for Ukraine