As Washington ships billions of dollars in arms to Kiev, a General is warning that American weapons stockpiles are becoming dangerously low. The Defense Department official called for the weapons industry to increase production.
General James Hecker issued the stark warning in London during The Chief of the Air Staff’s Global Air & Space Chiefs’ Conference 2023. “Now you add that we’re giving a lot of munitions away to the Ukrainians — which I think is exactly what we need to do — but now we’re getting dangerously low and sometimes, in some cases even too low that we don’t have enough,” he said.
According to the Joe Biden administration, the US has approved transferring $42 billion in weapons to Ukraine. The latest security assistance package for Ukraine, authorized on July 7, included cluster munitions. Early in the war, the use of cluster bombs had been condemned by the White House. However, President Biden said his administration reversed its refusal to send the controversial weapons to Kiev because Washington was running out of conventional ammunition.
Hecker went on to call for more production to refill American arms depots but warned that the process will take time. “We need to get industry on board to help us out so we can get this going,” the general explained. “[NATO is] dreadfully below where we need to be. And it’s probably not going to get better — well, it’s not in the short term — but we’ve got to make sure in the long term we have the industrial base that can increase what we have.”
A former Department of Defense employee has warned that the drastic increase in demand for weapons is allowing arms manufacturers to price gouge the American people. Shay Assad, a former contract negotiator at the Defense Department, said the military-industrial complex was taking advantage of the American taxpayer by exploiting the war in Ukraine. “We have nowhere else to go. For many of these weapons that are being sent over to Ukraine right now, there’s only one supplier. And the companies know it,” he explained.
Despite these issues, Hecker explained the military convinces Congress that the threats posed by Russia and China cause a need for an increase in defense spending and weapons manufacturing. “The Air Force is talking to our political leadership in the House and the Senate about the threat that China has on us. And I think that has energized [the Congress] given our defense budgets are going up.” He continued, “I think they finally realize you know what a threat China will be, and then, of course, it’s pretty obvious the threat that Russia [poses].”