Following a massive, multi-year arms transfer program to Ukraine, a top U.S. official is now warning that American and NATO stockpiles are becoming “dangerously low.”
Gen. James Hecker, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) Commander, said during a panel discussion last week that NATO member countries need to begin assessing their weapon stockpiles.
“I think it’s very important that we kind of take stock of where we are in our weapons state across the 32 nations of NATO, and we’re getting way down compared to where we were,” Hecker said, as reported by Breaking Defense.
“If you look at the U.S. itself — and let’s not just talk about the munitions we recently have given away to Ukraine — but we’re [at] roughly half the number of fighter squadrons that we were when we did Desert Storm,” he added. “So we don’t have nearly what we had at the heart of the Cold War. 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. And we need to get industry on board to help us out so we can get this going.”
Hecker’s comments came less than a week after the State Department released a fact sheet showing that the U.S. has sent Ukraine more than $41.3 billion since its conflict with Russia began in February 2022.
Additionally, since 2014, the U.S. has provided more than $44.1 billion in security assistance for training and equipment, the State Department said.
So far for fiscal year 2023, the Defense Department has provided $10.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.
A partial list of the gear sent to Ukraine includes:
- Over 2,000 Stinger anti-aircraft systems
- Over 10,000 Javelin anti-armor systems
- Over 70,000 other anti-armor systems and munitions
- 198 155mm Howitzers and over 2,000,000 155mm artillery rounds
- Over 7,000 precision-guided 155mm artillery rounds
- Over 14,000 155mm rounds of Remote Anti-Armor Mine (RAAM) Systems
- 100,000 rounds of 125mm tank ammunition
- 10,000 203mm artillery rounds
- Over 50,000 152mm artillery rounds
- Approximately 40,000 130mm artillery rounds
- 40,000 122mm artillery rounds
- 60,000 122mm GRAD rockets
Much of the supply sent to Ukraine came from existing U.S. stockpiles, which has led to shortages U.S. officials are working to address.
“We’ve been working with the DoD [Department of Defense] for the last couple of weeks,” Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes said. “We’re actively trying to resource some of the material. Unfortunately, DoD hasn’t bought a Stinger in about 18 years. Some of components are no longer commercially available, and so we’re going to have to go out and redesign some of the electronics in the missile of the seeker head.”
Hayes said it will likely take through the remainder of this year or through 2024 to refill the stockpile.
Retired Marine Col. Mark Banian told CBS News that Ukraine is “using about as much in a month as we produced in the year,” leading to a dwindling U.S. stockpile.
The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has identified six critical systems that Pentagon officials must replace, with several key systems being unable to have their inventories refilled within the next five years.