The Biden administration is scrambling to increase the amount of munitions it can produce as there are big concerns that the supply of weapons the U.S. has is quickly dwindling.
The National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby, said over the weekend that he was working with companies in the defense industry to ramp up this production. While appearing on the “Fox News Sunday” program this weekend, he said:
“We’re working very closely with the defense industry to try to ramp up production, particularly for artillery shells. You saw that we gave some cluster munitions to Ukraine as a bridging solution here while we ramp up production. We’re having very, very strong conversations with the defense industry, and we believe that we’ll be able to get there.”
Kirby’s comments came in light of a recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies that found that replacing ammunition inventory could take anywhere from four to seven years. The report said, for instance, that replacing Javelins might take as much as eight years, and Stingers could take as much as 18 years.
He said that the issue at hand in replacing the ammunition isn’t funding. As he explained:
“The defense industry obviously wants to make sure that if they’re going to increase production, that that production rate is going to stay elevated for a period of time. Because that means hiring more workers, it means retooling and adding capacity in their factories and manufacturing capabilities. So, we understand that and that’s sort of the central thesis here of the discussions that we’re having with them, is to get them to increase production and let them know that we’re serious about doing that for some period of time.”
All of this became a major national security issue as President Joe Biden told the whole world on national TV that the U.S. was running low on its 155 mm artillery rounds.
While appearing on CNN, the president said:
“This is a war relating to munitions, and they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it. And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to – not permanently – but to allow for this transition period while we get more 155 weapons, these shells for the Ukrainians.”
Biden was trying to defend the decision he made to send Ukraine cluster munitions during a “transition period,” while the country could produce more of those munitions. In typical Biden fashion, though, he let slip some information that would have been much better kept under wraps.
Some people on social media shared sarcastic comments that they loved when Biden went on TV to tell the whole world that the country is low on ammunition. Conservatives in particular slammed Biden’s slip of tongue – or his all-out lack of awareness about what he was saying at the time.
Now, the country is scrambling to produce this ammunition so it’s not vulnerable on the world stage.