America’s weapons stockpiles are being depleted amid President Joe Biden’s push to ship more equipment to Ukraine.
The House passed a nearly $40 billion bill – a significant increase compared to past packages and intended to further help Ukraine in its fight against Russia – Wednesday. This bill alone includes over $20 billion in new weapons and security aid for Ukraine and also marks an increase from the $33 billion initially proposed by Biden in April.
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With the nearly $40 billion bill heading to the Senate, where it reportedly has bipartisan support, some lawmakers have been sounding the alarm that U.S. weapons’ stocks will – and are already – being depleted as the country continues giving equipment over to Ukraine. (RELATED: Biden Says Putin Committing ‘Genocide’ In Ukraine)
“We’ve blown through seven years worth of Javelin missiles in Ukraine, 30% of our Stinger stockpile – these are missiles systems that we are going to need going forward, particularly if we are going to try and help Taiwan defend itself from a prospective Chinese invasion of the island,” Republican Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, told Fox News on Tuesday. “And that is what really worries me over the next few years.”
Gallagher continued on to accuse the Pentagon of providing “no plan” on the process of buying certain equipment to replenish the stockpile over time.
“We urgently need to rebuild our stockpiles,” he reiterated later on in the segment.
Bloomberg, in an opinion piece published April 14, warned that a whopping one-third of America’s “overall stockpile of Javelin anti-tank missiles” had already been provided to Ukraine.
“It [the U.S.] cannot easily deliver more without leaving its own armories badly depleted — and it may take months or years to significantly ramp up production,” the opinion piece noted.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin appeared unconcerned about depleting the stockpile, telling Congress on May 3 that the U.S. can replace its stocks in less than one year using supplemental funds that were requested, AirForceMag.com reported.
“It’s very critical to maintain what we consider to be minimum-required stockage levels, and you can rest assured that I will not allow us to go below that in critical munitions,” Austin said at the time. “At this point, I think we’re in pretty good shape, and industry is responding.”
Still, some appear worried that manufacturers will struggle to produce the amount of weapons necessary to keep up with the demand of arming Ukraine and replenishing America’s stockpile.
Democratic Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for the Defense Production Act (DPA) to be used to help continue arming Ukraine in a way that will also ensure America’s stockpiles can be replenished.
Blumenthal argued in late April that the “latest surge of weapons to Ukraine marks a major challenge to manufacturers.” The DPA, an initiative Blumenthal wants used, gives the president significant control over domestic industries in case of a national emergency.
“America is rapidly depleting its inventories of key arms – needing urgent restocking,” Blumenthal said at the time. “Utilize the Defense Production Act. U.S. has given 1/3 of our Javelin missiles to Ukraine — with many more needed. At current pace — unacceptably — a year is necessary to produce 1,000. Proof that we need the Defense Production Act.”
“Thankfully, America is sending Ukraine weapons like Howitzers, M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, Javelins & Stingers from our own supplies. Our cupboards will be bare — endangering our security — without the DPA. Manufacturers need a clear demand signal,” he added.