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Old 08-29-2022, 03:04 PM
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Angry Ukraine War Is Depleting U.S. Ammunition Stockpiles, Sparking Pentagon Concern

Ukraine War Is Depleting U.S. Ammunition Stockpiles, Sparking Pentagon Concern
By: Gordon Lubold - Nancy A. Youssef & Ben Kesling - WSJ News Dept 08-29-22

[I've been waiting for this type of report - here it is below - Boats]

WASHINGTON—The war in Ukraine has depleted American stocks of some types of ammunition and the Pentagon has been slow to replenish its arsenal, sparking concerns among U.S. officials that American military readiness could be jeopardized by the shortage.

The U.S. has during the past six months supplied Ukraine with 16 U.S. rocket launchers, known as Himars, thousands of guns, drones, missiles and other equipment. Much of that, including ammunition, has come directly from U.S. inventory, depleting stockpiles intended for unexpected threats, defense officials say.

One of the most lethal weapons the Pentagon has sent are howitzers that fire high-explosive 155mm ammunition weighing about 100 pounds each and able to accurately hit targets dozens of miles away. As of Aug. 24, the U.S. military said it had provided Ukraine with up to 806,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition. The U.S. military has declined to say how many rounds it had at the start of the year.

In recent weeks, the level of 155mm combat rounds in U.S. military storage have become “uncomfortably low,” one defense official said. The levels aren’t yet critical because the U.S. isn’t engaged in any major military conflict, the official added. “It is not at the level we would like to go into combat,” the defense official said.

The U.S. military used a howitzer as recently as last week to strike at Iranian-backed groups in Syria, and the depletion of 155mm ammunition is increasingly concerning for a military that seeks to plan for any scenario.

Photo link:
As of Aug. 24, the U.S. military said it had provided Ukraine with up to 806,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition. A Ukrainian service member with howitzer shells this summer.

The Army said the military is now conducting “an ammunitions industrial base deep dive” to determine how to support Ukraine while protecting “our own supply needs.” The Army said it also asked Capitol Hill for $500 million a year in upgrade efforts for the Army’s ammunition plants. Meanwhile, the service is relying on existing contracts to increase production of ammunition, but it hasn’t signed new contracts to account for the higher amounts it will need to replenish its stocks, according to Army officials.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark Milley has been conducting monthly reviews of the U.S. arsenal to determine whether the readiness levels are still appropriate given the needs for the ammunition in Ukraine, according to U.S. military officials. The U.S. last week provided Ukraine with a different size howitzer ammunition, 105mm, a reflection, in part, of the concern about its stocks of 155mm ammunition, the officials said.

The looming ammunition shortage isn’t for lack of funds, according to those familiar with the issue. The U.S. announced this week that it was setting aside nearly $3 billion for long-term aid intended to help Ukraine, bringing the total spent on weaponry for the country to $14 billion, and the Biden administration’s Pentagon budget request for next year is $773 billion.

“This was knowable. It was foreseeable. It was forewarned, including from industry leaders to the Pentagon. And it was easily fixable,” said Mackenzie Eaglen, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington.

What is needed, she said, is for the government to spend money to fix the problem.

“There are some problems you can buy your way out of,” she said. “This is one of them.”

The Pentagon’s buying process generally starts with the military determining its requirements, which are then reviewed and then bids solicited from the private sector. But since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, industry officials have complained that the Pentagon hasn’t always communicated those requirements, which often change, creating delays, and leaving defense contractors unable to prepare for more production.

Dormant supply lines often can’t be switched on overnight, and surging production of active lines can take time. Companies are already producing 155mm ammunition,
but not at the capacity yet that the Pentagon will need to replenish its stocks.

2nd photo link:
Ukrainian troops with an American-made howitzer in the Kharkiv region this summer.

In the U.S., it takes 13 to 18 months from the time orders are placed for munitions to be manufactured, according to an industry official. Replenishing stockpiles of more sophisticated weaponry such as missiles and drones can take much longer.

Even a yearlong delay is a problem precisely because ammunition shortages can pop up quickly given the rate they can be drawn down in a conflict.

“Nations assume the risk that war is not going to take place, and have the assumption they can react when they need to,” said Brad Martin, director of the Institute for Supply Chain Security at the Rand Corp. “It simply might not be true that you can ramp up” production quickly, he added.

Defense and congressional officials familiar with the issue attribute the looming shortage to a number of factors. The Pentagon’s bureaucracy has been slow to provide new contracts to replenish its stocks and has been reluctant to share its long-term needs with industry.

They also attribute part of the problem to the lack of coordination between part of the Pentagon that works to quickly supply Ukraine with weapons and the bureaucracy responsible for buying equipment. “The contracting process is much slower than the drawdown, and there is just not a lot you can do about that,” one congressional staffer said.

Speaking on an earnings call July 19, Jim Taiclet, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Corp., said the Pentagon has yet to put the contracts in place or coordinate with industry to buy more supplies, a process that often takes two to three years.

The Defense Department needs to “shift gears” if it wants industry to prepare for more orders, he said. “And I can tell you the clutch isn’t engaged yet.”

About these writer(s): Write to Gordon Lubold at, Nancy A. Youssef at and Ben Kesling at

Personal note: What the hell! I thought about this when it all started and then
more and more and more was being shipped over. I don't know about you guys
but if you deplete our stock weapons - just how long will it take to C.O.A. (cover
our ass) should China or North Korea or even Russia kick in and other's who may
have plenty of stockpiles - and we don't! What's wrong with this picture!
What will we throw rocks!
Billions of tax payer dollars for Defence - and we've about depleted our stock to
defend ourselves - should it be needed! What's wrong with this picture!
Well weapons plants will be working overtime to make up the losses of stock.
DOD will have to get additional funds (most likely by high taxes) and how
long will it take to replentish our depleted stock piles? Wow! great management
and foresight. I've read many post where many tanks - aircraft - and field
artillary - and personnel troop weapons have been sent.
As well as body armaments.
When we are waring whose sending us supplies? But here we are giving
these to those nations who inturn need addtional parts and ammunition
as well.
We send our troops in to give them 24 hours on how to use them and then
they get ass kicked = and leave them behind for the bad guys to back at them.
We arm world and come up short on our supplies - wow! Isn't that great.
Great foresight and long term thinking isn't always factored in. We are
the good guys - we arm those who need to defend themselves. And inturn
they end up leaving them when they get over run. Now in turn the bad
guys get (our weapons) and use them on their own people or us.
Sick isn't it!

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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