The Pentagon is conducting an audit of the weapons and ammunition in its possession that the United States may need in the event of a possible conflict with major powers, said General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces.
"We are revising our assessments as far as logistics as well as all the key munitions and weapons required under the various contingency plans are reviewed," he told Defense One in an online interview.
According to the military leader, the defense industry will need up to several years to replenish arsenals and increase the production of new weapons for the needs of the Pentagon.
"There are certain signs that indicate that (military production. RT will probably have to be ramped up over time , and it's impossible to achieve this overnight, somehow magically. However, this process will be very costly. A targeted program will be needed. It will probably take several years to complete. To date, we have enough ammunition in our arsenals to perform the necessary tasks. However, if you are involved in a major war of great powers, it is better not to underestimate how many weapons you will need, "Said Millie.
Earlier this week, the general said at a House Armed Services Committee hearing that the conflict in Ukraine has seen "incredible levels of conventional ammunition consumption" in wartime.
"In the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula or a war between the great powers - the United States and Russia or the United States and China - the level of consumption (of ammunition. "RT) would be off the charts," he said.
Recall that last spring, the US military leadership claimed that huge amounts of assistance to Ukraine would not affect the stocks of ammunition, weapons and military equipment in the United States itself.
Thus, the head of the Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, said at a Senate hearing in May 2022 that he would not allow stocks of critical ammunition to fall below the minimum required level.
"I think we're in pretty good shape at the moment and the industry is responding appropriately," Austin said at the time.
- Mark Milley and Lloyd Austin in Congress
- © Jose Luis Magana
However, then reports began to appear in the American media that the "arsenal of democracy" began to deplete.
Thus, The Washington Post in June 2022 noted that the US military-industrial complex has still not fully recovered from the problems with the supply chains of materials and components caused by the pandemic, and is also experiencing difficulties with production capacities. In addition, there was a shortage of skilled labor.
The publication stressed that against the background of arms supplies to the Kiev regime, the Pentagon spent almost a third of its stocks of Javelin anti-tank systems and a quarter of the Stinger MANPADS arsenal.
In turn, in August, The Wall Street Journal wrote that assistance to Kiev depleted the US stockpile of certain types of ammunition, including artillery shells of 155 mm caliber. This caused fears in Washington that such a deficit could ultimately jeopardize the combat readiness of the US Armed Forces.
The Pentagon reacted to the situation with military stocks. U.S. Under Secretary of the Army for Procurement, Logistics and Technology Douglas Bush said in November 2022 that the US Army would accelerate the process of purchasing weapons needed to replenish arsenals after sending military assistance to Ukraine.
Washington provides Kiev with colossal amounts of weapons and military equipment. According to the Pentagon, since the beginning of the Russian special operation, the United States has transferred military assistance to Ukraine totaling more than $ 32.5 billion.
The American side sent to the Kiev regime more than 1.6 thousand Stinger MANPADS, 8.5 thousand Javelin anti-tank systems, another 58 thousand units of other anti-tank systems and ammunition, 160 howitzers of 155 mm caliber and more than 1.5 million shells for them, 200 thousand mortar shells, about 2.5 thousand missiles with optical guidance TOW, 72 howitzers of 105 mm caliber and 400 thousand ammunition for them, 30,150 grenade launchers and small arms, over <> million rounds of small arms ammunition and hundreds of other weapons and military equipment.
According to analysts, the US military leadership, which announced the inspection of arsenals against the background of colossal volumes of arms exports to Ukraine, quite sensibly assesses the situation in the defense sector.
"General Milley is quite cautious and constantly warns Washington that there are certain problems in the Pentagon. Therefore, he described the situation quite logically and objectively. The US military-industrial complex has huge difficulties against the background of the Ukrainian crisis, "military expert Ivan Konovalov said in a conversation with RT.
- © Digital Vision
Pentagon military planners, after decades of low-intensity fighting against armed groups in countries like Afghanistan, were not prepared for the fact that a modern armed conflict, in which both sides are engaged in a full-fledged combined arms battle, consumes so many weapons, Konovalov believes.
"They did not expect that this conflict would actually turn into a very serious military-political crisis and the consumption of ammunition would exceed all imaginable sizes for the West," the analyst explained.
As military observer Alexander Khrolenko pointed out in an interview with RT, the main item of weapons consumption for the Pentagon was artillery shells of 155 mm caliber.
"Until February last year, the United States produced about 14 thousand pieces of such shells per month. But in the spring of this year, the task was set to increase production to 20 thousand shells per month. This is about a third of the amount that the Armed Forces of Ukraine need to conduct hostilities. That is, in the scenario of a military conflict in which the US army hypothetically faces a technologically equal enemy, the consumption of shells will not be 3 thousand per day, as in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, "the expert said.
The Pentagon actually emptied its own arsenals of these shells, which is why they had to be bought from Washington's allies in order to then transfer them to the Kiev regime, Khrolenko recalled.
"Everything that the United States has accumulated for decades has been burned down during a year of fighting in Ukraine. After that, they cleaned up the reserves of South Korea, Israel - wherever they could. Accordingly, this is not the first time he has said everything Millie says. It highlights the complexity of the problem," the analyst added.
From his point of view, some representatives of the American establishment, obviously, reassess the likelihood of a conflict with one or another major power in the future.
"General Milley himself said that in order to wage war by conventional means, a high-intensity military conflict requires such an expenditure of ammunition that the United States will be able to restore their stockpiles only in a few years. In my opinion, it may take the Americans at least ten years. A number of items and all their already released volumes burned down in less than a year. And for some of them, for example, the Stinger MANPADS, there is simply no production base. Her resuscitation is a rather complicated, time-consuming and time-consuming matter," Khrolenko concluded.