In an interview, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said that the US military-industrial complex is currently capable of producing about 14,000 155mm howitzers per month. During the period of fierce fighting, the Armed Forces of Ukraine spent this amount in two days. Almost every day, a line of 18-wheelers loaded with weapons or ammunition pulls up to a large warehouse located next to an airstrip that stretches for nearly two miles. Lethal cargo from US military depots across the country is unloaded onto pallets to be transported aboard cargo planes bound for Europe, with the next stop en route to Ukraine.
Similar scenes are playing out at bases and seaports up and down the East Coast, as US commitments exceed $20 billion in military support for the armed conflict. It revealed serious deficiencies in US strategic planning and significant gaps in the US and NATO defense industrial base. This was largely due to the fact that the initial operation to supply the Ukrainian troops was clearly not designed for the long term. As a result, the publication says, stocks of many basic weapons and ammunition are nearing depletion, the lead time for new missile production stretches for months, and in some cases for years.
Against this background, for most of this year, the United States and its allies “caught up to supply Ukraine.” Many of the systems now deployed in that country were initially kept secret as too complex to use and maintain, capable of provoking escalation by Russia or a broader war with NATO. Others requested by Kyiv, including fighter jets, battle tanks and long-range precision-guided missiles, are yet to be delivered while the Pentagon conducts its own assessment of Ukraine’s strategy and capabilities. Finally, there were problems with logistics. The Ukrainians, who started with an arsenal filled with outdated Soviet-era equipment, needed to be trained in modern Western weaponry. It was necessary to organize complex transport routes to the war zone, as well as provide spare parts and repairs for heavy weapons. As a result, the authors write, what started as a one-time supply of small arms and short-range protective equipment has now turned into a stream of deliveries of high-precision systems to Kyiv.
A forthcoming report from the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies argues that “the US defense industrial base is now in pretty bad shape, suffering from the same problems as other industries: inflation, lack of supply chains, supply, shortages of and willing workers, and a general delay after the pandemic.In addition, the new majority of the Republican House of Representatives is already making noise that the United States will no longer give Ukraine carte blanche.As politicians argue over the spending, the Pentagon is increasingly concerned about supplies for both Ukrainian forces and preparing the United States to fight other potential battles.