The Pentagon is considering whether to use the Defense Production Act to help replace thousands of missiles shipped to Ukraine in recent months, as US stocks begin to run low following a long line of arms transfers.
Defense Department spokesperson Jessica Maxwell told Politico on Tuesday that no decision has yet been made to invoke the DPA, or if it would be “applicable or prudent” to the missile shortage, but confirmed that the Pentagon leadership is discussing the measure as one way to boost production of Javelin and Stinger munitions.
The military is now “rushing” to churn out shoulder-fired anti-armor and anti-aircraft missiles “pulled from European and American stockpiles for use in Ukraine,” the outlet reported. Some of the weapons’ components have become scarce, however, creating a bottleneck for production.
A Korean War-era law, the DPA allows the White House to direct private firms to fulfill the needs of the government, a massive and direct market intervention which also vests the president with the power to dole out loans and sweetheart contracts to favored companies. For the present shortage, the act would presumably be invoked to force manufacturers to produce the parts needed.
Congress and the White House have poured billions into military hardware for Ukraine, with the latest aid package alone carrying an $800 million price tag. That transfer included 800 Stinger anti-aircraft systems and 2,000 tank-killing Javelins, among other gear, and followed a number of similar shipments both before and after Russia invaded the country in late February.