By Kaitlan Collins, Alex Marquardt, Barbara Starr and Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Two administration officials say Terry Wolff recently joined the National Security Council to help coordinate the security assistance the US and partners are providing to Ukraine. Wolff is a retired three-star general and Army armor officer, with experience at the Pentagon, Joint Staff, State Department and the NSC.
“His experience as the deputy for the defeat ISIS coalition will be amazing in making sure this coalition maintains momentum,” one official told CNN. Nathan Sales, who served as the US coordinator for counterterrorism at the State Department under then-President Donald Trump, similarly praised Wolff as “an inspired choice for this role.”
“After a decades-long career operating at the intersection of diplomacy and war, he’s the right person to make sure Ukraine gets the weapons it needs to defeat Russia’s bloody war of aggression,” Sales said.
The Biden administration is working to get the military assistance to Ukraine as quickly as possible because it believes the war is in a critical stage and the continued US assistance could make a difference when Russia’s more aggressive assault on eastern Ukraine ramps up.
President Joe Biden made that clear on Thursday when he announced the US is sending an additional $800 million package to Ukraine, including dozens of howitzers, tactical drones and 144,000 rounds of ammunition.
Speaking about the importance of getting aid to Ukraine, Biden paraphrased a famous quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, telling reporters: “Sometimes we will speak softly and carry a large Javelin, because we’re sending a lot of those in as well.” He was referring to an anti-tank missile the US has provided to the Ukrainian military.
This would be the last presidential drawdown until Congress approves more money for weapons to Ukraine. In a presidential drawdown, the Defense Department pulls weapons and equipment from US inventories instead of purchasing new weapons from manufacturers.
Biden said Thursday he will make a formal request next week for Congress to approve a second supplemental funding package to aid Ukraine, adding that he expected Congress to “move and act quickly” on the package.
This story has been updated with additional information Thursday.
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CNN’s Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.