Pentagon and industry struggle to arm Ukraine, saying “We haven’t got this figured out just yet.”

Date:

Pentagon and industry struggle to arm Ukraine

  • news by AUN News correspondent
  • Monday, December 05, 2022
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • In the event of a crisis, officials are also thinking about setting up a fund for the Pentagon to purchase weapons that can be quickly sold or transferred to allies like Taiwan.

  • Any additional funding source for the manufacture of munitions would need at least $100 million to be effective.

  • Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former DoD and CIA officer, stated, “I think the Ukrainians have inspired us all, and you’ve got to help them as much as you can.” “

  • And there is undoubtedly a group in Congress on the right and the left that wants to end the conflict with Ukraine.

  • Dov Zakheim, who worked for Presidents George W. Bush and Reagan as the top budget official, claimed that “nobody anticipated this would happen again.” “

According to the senior budget director for the Pentagon, Mike McCord, “high-end fighting consumes a lot of munitions and a lot of hardware.” “We are also considering supply chain constraints. We are still working to solve this.

Top Officials from the Pentagon and the defence industry claim that efforts to replace the weapons that the United States and its allies have shipped to Ukraine are now picking up steam. These weapons have been depleted stockpiles that are essential to deterring China or other potential adversaries for years to come.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told reporters, “There’s a lot of urgencies.” “Congress is sending the Department of Defense billions of money, and we are processing that and getting that on contract — I would say two to three times faster than we normally do,” said the official

She mentioned recent agreements for thousands of 155mm artillery rounds, which the Ukrainians are quickly depleting. She said we would be able to perform 20,000 cycles each month by the spring.

She added that the U.S. will receive up to 40,000 rounds a month in the spring of 2025, but it would take time to create enough of them.

Reopening factories that produce air defences, rockets, and artillery designed for peacetime efficiency rather than wartime output is a huge undertaking.

Gregory Hayes, CEO of Raytheon Technologies, said during a panel discussion, “We spend a lot of money on some exquisite huge systems, and we do not spend as much on the munitions essential to sustain those.” “We haven’t given up completing the war reserves. We need to win a long-term conflict a priority.”

According to the Army’s top weapons dealer, a “true large-scale war” won’t be resolved overnight.

Doug Bush stated in an interview that since they haven’t been seen in a while, “people have forgotten that actual industrial mobilization always has a time component to it and is never instantaneous.”

He continued, “I think we’re getting closer to a wartime mode, something I’ve been working on constructing.

As planners create the budget request for the following year, the Pentagon is working to get around the constraints, according to McCord.

He is, for instance, speaking to congressional military committees about the first-ever purchase of munitions through multiyear contracts, a method the DoD use for ship and aircraft programs to cut costs and guarantee a steady manufacturing flow.

In the event of a crisis, officials are also thinking about setting up a fund for the Pentagon to purchase weapons that can be quickly sold or transferred to allies, like Taiwan.

According to McCord, the Covid-19 epidemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have demonstrated that “having the ‘exactly what you need, just in time approach is maybe not the answer.”

According to McCord, lawmakers are still hesitant to write the Pentagon a blank check. He does, however, hope they can come to a compromise. Even while some conservative members objected to the cost, both parties’ lawmakers insisted that the money must remain in the upcoming Congress.

Any additional funding source for the manufacture of munitions would need at least $100 million to be effective. Still, McCord emphasized that the sum was also required to be in line with the capacity of the industrial base.

He questioned, “With the industrial base labor and supply chain as it is today, what is feasible in the next 12 months?”

He added that the upcoming $38 billion emergency financial request for Ukraine from the Biden administration should be helpful. The pending supplementary includes some direct financing for increasing the industrial base capacity.

Others claimed that the contractual procedure is too slow and weak to get the industry firing at the required level.

Ellen Lord, a former Pentagon weapons officer and current CEO of Textron Systems, said, “We have to get production contracts out there to manufacture all these munitions we need.”

She criticized “lumpy contracts” and advocated for longer-term agreements to compel businesses to make the investments necessary to increase productivity.

Lord said that by disclosing the engineering specifications, the United States should make it simpler for its allies to produce American weapons.

“We need to consider our extremely close partners and allies… … remove the obstacles posed by these technological data packages so that Australia, Canada, and the UK might start producing if they so desired, she told reporters. “Since we are not manufacturing, we do not have the items.”

However, everything will require a lot more time and money.

“The thing that gives me most pause if I watch what’s happening right now with depletion of armaments is that the U.S. industrial base couldn’t just spin up and do massive World War II-type production or even for a regional conflict,” said Dan Jablonsky, the CEO of Maxar, the commercial satellite imagery company that has played a significant role in providing the world with a view of the Ukraine conflict.

In an interview, he continued, “We can do those things, but we can’t do them at a big scale like we used to.” It’s not set up that way,

The American public’s increased desire in light of the ever-rising price tag is another issue lawmakers are worried about.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former DoD and CIA officer, stated, “I think we all have been so inspired by the Ukrainians, and you’ve got to help them as much as you can.” “However, Ukraine came up in my election in Central Michigan as I knocked on 80,000 doors. I absolutely believe in them and want them to succeed, but when do we stop donating billions of dollars, and is there a finish line?

In an interview, she continued, “So I think political officials have to be able to define the goal here.” And there is undoubtedly a group in Congress on the right and the left that wants to end the conflict with Ukraine.

All the discussion about having to outlast the Russians was more than a little weird for the Reagan administration veterans present. Dov Zakheim, who worked for Presidents George W. Bush and Reagan as the top budget official, claimed that “nobody anticipated this would happen again.” “We nearly made Russia join NATO.”

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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