Thursday, November 2, 2023

America Has a 155mm Artillery Munitions Problem

America Has a 155mm Artillery Munitions Problem 

The United States is at risk of depleting large amounts of its munitions stockpiles as it struggles to arm Israel, Ukraine, and other allies against increased aggression.

The United States may have some leeway in developing its defense-industrial base, however, as the military capabilities required by Israel and Ukraine don't currently share significant overlap.

Worries over increased strain to an already thinly spread munitions supply chain began when it was revealed that the Biden administration had ordered munitions back to Israel that it had initially removed in support of Ukraine.

The United States previously stored 300,000 rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition in Israel but moved half of that to Europe in January to support Ukraine’s defense against a Russian invasion. It has since returned the rounds to Israel, however, following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks and Israel’s subsequent declaration of war on the terrorist organization.
“As for 155 ammunition, what had happened prior to the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, is some had been withdrawn from the war reserve stockpile in Israel to replenish U.S. stocks in Europe,” Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters on Oct. 23.

“Much of that has been redirected and provided to the Israel Defense Forces for their use.”

 Artillery shells ready for shipping are stored at the Scranton Army ammunition plant in Scranton, Pa., on April 12, 2023. (Hannah Beier/Getty Images)
Artillery shells ready for shipping are stored at the Scranton Army ammunition plant in Scranton, Pa., on April 12, 2023. (Hannah Beier/Getty Images)

Israel, Ukraine Require Different Capabilities

The back-and-forth has caused some confusion about U.S. strategic priorities, with various experts and pundits offering conflicting views as to whether Israel or Ukraine would be more negatively affected by the move.

Retired U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Schaffer said that the move demonstrated that the Biden administration was unable to provide support to Israel because of its Ukraine aid.

“The United States raided its stock of weapons to support Ukraine earlier this year,” Mr. Schaffer said during an Oct. 18 interview with Epoch Times sister media outlet NTD.

“Much of the military stock that the United States would have provided to the Israelis regarding the offensive just isn’t there.”

Conversely, some media outlets have insisted that the transfer of 155 mm rounds from Ukraine to Israel will instead harm Ukraine and help Russia in its attempted conquest of the nation.

Ukrainian officials, however, say that both arguments are wrong.

The current wartime situations in Israel and Ukraine are different, and the two powers require quite different military capabilities, Oksana Markarova, Ukraine's ambassador to the United States, said.

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