“we’re not in a war right now, the United States itself, but if we were, on day one the situation would be critical”
Jim Nault Discusses the U.S. Weapons Stockpile Disaster on Rod Arquette’s Radio Program
On Tuesday, March 28, 2023, I had the privilege to represent Legal Insurrection on “The Rod Arquette Show,” based on 105.9 KNRS out of Salt Lake City, Utah:
At 6:05 pm today on the @RodArquette Show on @1059KNRS – @LegInsurrection Contributing Author @JamesRNault on his piece about the low military weapons stockpile in the United States and why it limits the power of the U.S. to deter a Chinese invasion of Taiwan
— 105.9 KNRS (@1059KNRS) March 28, 2023
I discussed with Rod the current state the United States military weapons stockpile disaster, which I have reported on here:
- U.S. Weapons Stockpiles “Uncomfortably Low” Due To Arms Shipments to Ukraine
- U.S. Weapons Stockpile Disaster Limiting Our Ability To Deter China In Taiwan
Rod was extremely engaging during the segment. We both decried the fact that the current state of our military’s weapons stockpiles is shockingly bad, especially in light of the seemingly open-ended commitment the Biden Administration has made to Ukraine as it defends itself from the Russian invasion.
I covered three main topics during the show:
- The raw numbers showing the heinously bad state of our weapons munitions stockpiles
- The Biden Administration’s open-ended commitment to Ukraine, which has caused the staggering drawdown of our munitions
- The impact the abysmal stockpile situation has on U.S. national security
The Raw Numbers
“We are in pretty rough shape, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that we have provided to date 33 billion worth of military equipment to Ukraine. And much of it is frontline United States ammunition and missile systems. Just to run some raw numbers by you we provided Ukraine over 1.5 million rounds of 155 millimeter howitzer artillery ammunition, which is one of the key things that you need in a ground war. We provided over 8,500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, which is our main frontline anti-tank weapon. We provided over 1600 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which is one of our main anti-aircraft weapons. And we provided for those 155 millimeter howitzers over 5,200, what’s called an Excalibur precision round, which, you know, you launch it and then it finds the target itself.
And interestingly, the Javelin and the Stinger missiles that we provided, we’ve given Ukraine over one third of our current frontline inventory of those weapons systems. And part of the issue is, is that the, the supply chain is in backlog big time for all of that stuff. And to get our Stinger stockpile back up to snuff, it’s gonna take 13 years to replenish that stockpile. The Excalibur precision rounds for the howitzers. It’s gonna take seven years to replenish those rounds. Five years for the Javelin and four years for the regular 155 millimeter rounds. And there’s a a couple of different outfits that run war games and things like that. And one of them, as I quoted in one of my articles, reported that when they ran a war game, we don’t get four to five days into a war game before we run out of precision missiles. And there was a Pentagon spokesman who kind of came out and used some Pentagon speak, said that our stockpiles are quote unquote uncomfortably low, which I translated that means we’re in the middle of a disaster.
If you think about that, what that means is, we’re not in a war right now, the United States itself, but if we were, on day one the situation would be critical. Well, that’s not good.”
The Biden Administration’s Open-ended Commitment to Ukraine
“Part of the issue, I think is that we have this open-ended commitment to Ukraine. I’m looking at a quote from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley, and he said, quote, we will continue to support Ukraine all the way, unquote, and quote, we will be there for as long as it takes takes to keep Ukraine free. Um, if that’s the case, I mean, what if the Ukraine War goes on for another five years? Yeah, we just keep giving them this stuff. You know what? Wow, what are we gonna have left.”
The Impact on National Security
“When we start giving our frontline stuff that our soldiers are taking on deployment and that they are gonna use to defend our interests around the world, that can be a problem.
And another problem is with Taiwan, Taiwan has asked our defense contractors for 19 billion worth of weapons to help them defend against the Chinese invasion. That’s all backlogged right now because the defense contractors just can’t ramp up fast enough. And as I mentioned in one of my articles, a part of the strategy for the defense of Taiwan is to use this, what they call porcupine strategy, where we use precision missiles to inflict such harm on the invading Chinese should they ever decide to do something like that, that they would have to back off. But if all of those precision missiles that we’re gonna use to do that with are depleted, then, it’s not that great of a strategy maybe.”
In summary, it was great fun being on Rod Arquette’s show, and we both agreed that this situation is something that must be addressed and fixed ASAP.
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If this level of waste was happening under Eisenhower there would be court martials for everyone at the top of the pentagon.
Let that sink in 800 BILLION
We are in axis between the wars spending territory.
That is bad enough but if anything about what is coming out about our stockpiles is true someone needs accountability. What exactly are we paying for? Our peace time spending is unprecedented for us to not even be getting anything we are paying for.
Our spending allows our rich parasite class to dig deep and gorge themselves on stolen money.
So basically if we get into a war it’s either surrender or go straight to nukes on day eight.
Almost makes me believe that conspiracy theory that China wants the war to last a long time in Ukraine so it can bleed our military dry of weapons and prevent us from defending Taiwan.
This article is a complete load from the south end of a north facing horse. The Javelin isn’t our main anti tank weapon, That would be the Abrams, Apache, and various USAF ground attack aircraft.
The main anti aircraft weapons of the US are the F22, F15, and F16. I doubt there has ever been an enemy aircraft shot down by a US soldier with a stinger and I’m hard pressed to imagine a scenario where it would happen.
I don’t claim any personal expertise, but the U.S. military appears to disagree with you on the effectiveness of Stingers and the need to replenish our supply https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/exclusive-us-army-replenishes-stinger-missiles-after-ukraine-shipments-2022-05-27/
“The U.S. Army said on Friday it has awarded a contract worth $625 million to Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX.N) for anti-aircraft Stinger missiles in order to replenish stocks sent to Ukraine. The shoulder-fired anti-aircraft Stinger missiles made by Raytheon were in hot demand in Ukraine, where they have successfully stopped Russian assaults from the air, and in neighboring European countries which fear they may also need to beat back Russian forces.”
With Biden’s assault on oil, how long would we be able to keep aircraft flying?
By day 8, all military vehicles, including planes, will be electric.
On day 9, all vehicles will come to a stop due to cloud cover preventing solar power being collected.
I could equally argue that the best ‘anti aircraft’ weapon is a reinforced Ranger Company dropped onto the airfield to seize control and kill the many specialists, pilots, mechanics, ATC, the aircraft require to be operational.
The best anti tank weapon is another tank for sure in direct ground conflict but pure infantry units are SOL in your scenario. They require an organic anti tank capability to survive. The javelin missile is a devastating anti tank missile and shipping off a large % of our supply and growing each month in excess of industrial replacement rate isn’t a good idea. Same with Stinger missiles which ground forces need to combat enemy attack helicopters, ISR assets and yes ground attack aircraft.
Pointing out that the proxy war is siphoning off a disturbingly large percentage of our advanced missile systems, which cannot be quickly replaced, needs far more attention and public scrutiny isn’t equivalent to support for Putin. It is a mature recognition of reality.
A bunch of Rangers dropped onto an enemy airfield under enemy air superiority will have a very short life expectancy. The best way to destroy an enemy air force is with your own and nobody does that like we do.
I have concerns about the amount of support and lack of scrutiny. However, the large fraction of our Javelin stocks are devastating a large fraction of the potential enemy tanks. There are about 2800 fewer reasons for having a Javelin now than there were a year ago.
Outside of isolated special forces units it’s hard to imagine a scenario where American ground forces would fight where the USAF wouldn’t be overhead. From the article the main purpose to which the stingers will be put is to give them to our allies to attach our enemies. Sounds to me like those missiles are doing their job.
That’s what HALO is designed for. Not for nothing but seizing enemy airfields via vertical envelopment is a one of the calling card mission set of the Rangers. Perhaps THE raison d’etre of the Rangers existence.
For stingers your tense is wrong; the Ukrainian forces have expended what we sent and are demanding more. Same for Javelin which means US service members potentially have less to use in any future near term conflict.
If you believe the Russians have had 2800 main battle tanks destroyed in Ukraine you are misinformed. As for air cover I can tell you from personal experience we lacked constant air cover in Ramadi Iraq during my 16 months there Aug 06 to Dec 07. Afghanistan the same problem with air support.
There is a big difference between what happens above 5000 feet in air to air combat in achieving local or strategic air superiority, air dominance or air parity and what happens in ground combat. When the tank killing air platforms can’t/won’t fly or are out of fuel/range possession of anti tank missile capability is critical. As is organic air defense capability provided by stinger missiles.
What is the strategic difference between supporting a proxy war between Taiwan and China versus that of Ukraine and Russia? Would a blank check to the Taiwanese feel better than that of the current absurdity? What about shipping our frontline weapons to Taiwan? Improved feelz? Historically? Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang milked us – the taxpayers – out of a cool two billion+ by 1944-45. Someone mentioned Eisenhower. Marshal washed his hands of it all back in 1949. And when the KMT Taiwanese came to us (later) via diplomatic backdoors we again told them to pound sand.
Taiwan is a hypothetical ploy. We can play at wargames and model anything we, or the pentagon or the Bidren chickenhawks desire. Reality dictates realpolitik. Give the Taiwanese a nuke and let that be a deterrent to Chinese aggression.
I don’t agree with the way the current regime is conducting their proxy war – and at the same time know a hypethetical proxy war with China would be far more dangerous than Russia. If we lose to China we lose navigation and transit through the Yellow Sea.
Besides sending our stock piles of conventional weapons overseas the current administration is fast tracking removing the B83 nuclear weapons from the arsenal. This is or would have been the most lethal nuke available in our inventory. The problem is they are just now studying how to replace this weapon and the purpose it serves, attacking hard, deeply buried targets.
the article is from last year and the plans are currently being drawn up to retire them.
You’re pointing your peashooter the wrong direction. Opposing Russia isn’t causing the problem. Opposing Russia is revealing the problem and Western governments are waking up.
The purpose of a stockpile isn’t to sit there and look pretty. The purpose of a stockpile is to be drawn down (then rebuilt over time.)
Opposing Russia also reduces the future need of that stockpile, but displaying weakness of will by abandoning Ukraine would tell China we’d do the same with an attack on Taiwan.
I am confused….if the replacement time is years and we draw down to a few months supply. …that is that. Wishful thinking and as for tactical and strategic doctrine….I don’t think so.
I am confused by your confusion. The goal is constant low-rate production to keep the institutional knowledge intact, factories running, and provide for training. Then if the time comes you can expend munitions relative to the threat (which Biden isn’t doing, he’s under-supplying) instead of being limited while surging to full production capacity.
The current DoD budget from Biden proposes to double spending on purchase of advanced missile of all types. They also propose no bid contracts over a long-term contract to create incentives for a build out of additional production capacity. New plants, equipment and hiring + training new workers to build the damn things.
Even with those measures the replacement missiles are years away from being delivered while the number of these scarce missiles being expended grows each month. There is basically one company that makes the motor for most missile systems.
This proxy war is putting legitimate US National Security at risk by siphoning off scarce resources. There isn’t a switch to flip that causes a secret armament cornucopia to magically dispense the needed weapons on demand.
“There is basically one company that makes the motor for most missile systems.”
Wonder what would happen if in a war with China that factory got destroyed. There are a whole lot of Chinese that have come across the Mexican border. There’s no telling what Chinese assets are in country and what they are capable of doing.
Munitions half life?? The U.S. Was using left over WW I munitions in WW II. Why do you think McArthur demanded the M1 Garand be redesigned from 276 Pederson to 30-06? Scaling up production is constrained by real world limitations of sipply. Components just don’t magically appear. “Well…just make more!” Isn’t going to make it happen. Your concept is logistically immature.
I didn’t claim that munitions have a half life. You do accidentally bring up a good point. Munitions, details depending on the type of course, eventually expire or become obsolete and need to be demilled and disposed of which costs money. Using them to weaken a major self-declared enemy offsets that cost.
I also did not claim that new production capacity would appear by magic. You made that up.
The real war the USc faces is they battle of pronouns and drag shows. Sun Tzu would consider the U.S. Military as a basket case. Taking from Churchill….a sheep in sheep’s clothing.
I worry about — what good is an army of wokesters? The youth of this country being taught to hate it, to see it as illegitimate. How’s that supposed to work??? Then with traitors like Milley and affirmative-action star Austin running the show? Might as well surrender preemptively
Another factor seldom taken into consideration by laymen is that of munition shelf life, Ammo eventually gets unreliable if not expended and must be disposed of and replaced. The more complex the munition, the more vulnerable it is to such issues.
So to some degree, the US military might be using Ukraine as an excuse to rotate their stock.
We have been giving Ukraine our old stock. ..it goes bang everytime. Half life of munitions in measured in decades. I would comfortably bet that when our battleship were taken out of mothballs in the 80’s and 90’s that the ammo for the 26″ guns was WWII stock. Modern electronics doesn’t she badly. The most vulnerable component may be capacitors and they last decades.
16″ guns. ..
Old weapon systems that rely on electronics age *quick* The operating systems on many Navy ships can’t be upgraded or they’ll break so much stuff that it’s easier to just rip the whole mess out and replace it. Five years is still pushing it, since the design phase comes so much before production you can wind up with a widget that uses parts from an antique store when it actually winds up in a trigger-puller’s hands.
We will vanquish our enemy with biting DEI put downs and moral superiority.
The tragic, perhaps karmic, irony of DIEversity practiced under the Pro-Choice ethical religion of the secular State.. #HateLovesAbortion
War games?? is that some kind of code for simulations? This situation is thin ice in July..
TY Jim… great interview, great article.
Do we even know if our weapons will be effective on an enemy that is able to field their own advanced technology?
And that is yet another a probable motivation for sending weapons to Ukraine, getting them field tested in combat conditions.
Most of the gear was tested in Afghanistan. Tactics are tested in the field. Combat isn’t a place to figure out if it works. McNamara proved that in Viet Nam with the M-16.
There were no tank battles or anti-aircraft engagements (for example) in Afghanistan.
There have been many new or recently modified weapons (such as UAVs and employment tactics for them on a modern, high intensity battlefield) added to US inventories which have never been used in battlefield conditions.
Ukraine is an opportunity to do that. Whether it is a wise choice to do so is another issue.
McNamara proved that in Viet Nam with the M-16.
mcnamara–lord–at least ridgeway was truthful with ike and advised him/us to stay out of indochina–especially after dbp–ike, a soldier himself, listened–hard to think of a pair of more culpable clowns than the dulles bros and their roadshow–jfk then lbj both ignored ridgeway’s / ike’s counsel–and thus, nam
should have left stoner’s orignal design of .30 cal alone–1.7 lbs lighter?–right–tell that to the guy who’s fighting for his life–and after 50 years going to 6.8 / .270 ?–no hurry, of course–lord
Yes we do and yes they do work as advertised.
Good to know. That is a far cry from my area of expertise. I have a nightmare where our cyber security is so weak none of our stuff works and soldiers get slaughtered next to their multi-million dollar paper weights.
Well hold on about cyber domain b/c that is another ball of wax and we do face some level of vulnerability. Our current Comms systems haven’t really faced an enemy capable of using technology to defeat them in a long time. Not the radios so much as the cool ‘gee whiz’ ground combat battlefield tracking/IFF architecture that SR officers love to view. That said NTC rotation pit a maneuver BDE v need peer competition and build in all sorts of scenarios including ‘hey, your cool toys don’t work today’.
I took your question to refer to the missile systems referenced here; stinger javelin and in general such as hellfire along with GPS guided ‘dumb’ munitions. Those will hit and destroy the target as advertised.
So you’re saying this is the ideal time to start the next civil war/revolution 2.0
Get your own act together before you take it on the road….
You can have the most precise, deadly, most advanced weapons in the world, you can have an unlimited stockpile with soldiers, sailors and pilots who know how to use them, a support and logistics system that keeps an inventory at the ready is completely useless if the decision makers won’t allow them to be used. The people who decide the rules of engagement have the ultimate power.
Consider the opportunities. Ship everything to Ukraine, then when our army is down to its last box of ammo, red states secede. It’s either a national divorce or live under tyranny.
Not Yet. But Orban says that the EU is contemplating sending EU peacekeepers into Ukraine. So soon?
A Slavic Spring, an American-led NATO invasion (since coup-day)… peacekeepers (shades of Russian intervention) of Ukraine, revisited (nine years later).
US out of Ukraine, out of NATO, out of UN.
Ukraine is a European problem so let them solve it. No US blood and no further US treasure for Europe.
Russia is a global problem. Ukraine is just the opportunity they handed us.
The problem is the “open ended” commitment to Ukraine?
What if the U.S. was itself fighting the same small theater land war?
There would be the exact same shortages.
So it’s not Ukraine.
I bet the $70 million for DEI that is in Biden’s proposed Defense budget would buy a few weapons we are short of.
Every branch of the US military is struggling to meets its enlistment goals and that’s after enlistment standards were lowered (and lowered). That problem exposes serious weaknesses in military preparedness that are separate and apart from the support of Ukraine. Even if you had the weapons, you don’t have enough personnel. The US is weaker militarily every day. And it has less deterrent credibility every day. Biden (and Obama before him) abandoned key allies Saudi Arabia and Israel (and the UAE). Obama simply forgot about his red line in Syria. Biden cut and ran in Afghanistan. Because of those actions, the US is almost forced to support Ukraine to salvage its deterrent credibility. If Ukraine falls now, it will mean more war for an even weaker US.
(Having written this, I admit to waffling on nearly a daily basis on continuing US support for Ukraine. I can make either argument. It seems like a damned if you do, damned if you don’t sort of moment. But I certainly wouldn’t sacrifice my life for a decision to fight made by Biden (Jill or Joe), Milley and Austin–with the advice of Jake Sullivan and Anthony Blinken.)
We need to provide and install nukes in Taiwan for self-defense adequate to destroy China. Include Guam, Japan, and South Korea!