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US Munitions Stockpiles Low, Army at ‘Absolute Edge’ of Industrial Capacity: Army Secretary

The U.S Army is running low on munitions as the country struggles to arm Ukraine and sustain its own defense. Christine Wormuth, Secretary of the Army, reports that over 60% of security assistance provided to Ukraine by the U.S. came from the Army. The United States has given over $32 billion in lethal aid to Ukraine since Russia’s conquest attempt began last year, most of which came from the Army’s stocks of munitions. To continue aiding Ukraine and support the U.S.’s own defense efforts, the Army is trying to increase munitions production but is reaching the absolute limits of their industrial capacity. Wormuth says that the U.S. is buying at the maximum limit of defense industrial capacity at present. To replenish the nation’s stockpiles and support Ukraine, the Army is spending $1.5 billion on new munitions production and depots, in partnership with industry.

US Munitions Stockpiles Running Low

Despite the investment in increasing production, Wormuth notes that hurdles remain in creating an “organic supply base” for these munitions. The U.S. depends heavily on sophisticated munitions that require specialized equipment and supply chains to produce, and many of these systems will take years to build up. Furthermore, the Army’s most advanced munitions are built by private companies, thus amplifying the challenge. Douglas Bush, the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology, emphasizes the need to increase munitions production to create more choices for future decisions. The long-term challenge will be whether the U.S. can sustain the capacity post-conflict, as they do not know how long conflicts will last and how much their stocks will be affected. The U.S. military’s readiness is at stake, and experts have expressed concerns about it.

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