The United States is working to overhaul its acquisition of certain high-end munitions which experts fear would be depleted in the event of a war with China.
U.S. Army officials are in the process of ramping up production to overcome challenges associated with replenishing domestic stockpiles of munitions that were either sold to Ukraine or which would be needed for a fight in the Indo-Pacific, according to Assistant Secretary of the Army Douglas Bush.
“Starting early last summer… we went through a deliberate effort to start planning for the production ramp-ups that are now underway,” Bush said during a March 3 talk at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a security-focused think tank.
“We are creating this production capacity, trying to create options for future decisions in terms of how much we’ll need. But if we don’t do the production ramp-ups we won’t have those choices to make in the first place.”
Bush said that the Army is “now in execution mode,” ramping up production to refill quickly draining stockpiles, but that production timelines for many munitions were complicated by complex supply chains and security requirements.
Moreover, Bush said, it was impossible to tell just what the United States’ stockpile needs would be in the future due to the open-ended nature of the war in Ukraine, but stocking requirements would likely be higher due to heightened international tensions.
“The long-term challenge will be how much of that capacity can we sustain over time, post conflict,” Bush said.
“… We don’t know how long the conflict will last. We don’t know how low our stocks will be.”
To overcome the uncertainty and supply chain weaknesses, Bush said the United States was working closely with allies in Europe and elsewhere to create redundancies and increase production capacity.
“We have to have more than one source for these things and an allied source, that they sustain but we can draw on that’s just a total win-win,” Bush said.
“That’s all the democracies in the world working together to be a giant arsenal and not just us doing it.”