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US and NATO grapple with critical ammo shortage for Ukraine

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US and NATO grapple with critical ammo shortage for Ukraine​


By Natasha Bertrand, Oren Liebermann and Jennifer Hansler, CNN
Published 5:01 AM EDT, Tue July 18, 2023


A Ukrainian serviceman, of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, prepares to fire a mortar at their positions at a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 13, 2023.

A Ukrainian serviceman, of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, prepares to fire a mortar at their positions at a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 13, 2023.

Sofiia Gatilova/Reuters

WashingtonCNN —
The US and Europe are struggling to provide Ukraine with the large amount of ammunition it will need for a prolonged counteroffensive against Russia, and Western officials are racing to ramp up production to avoid shortages on the battlefield that could hinder Ukraine’s progress.

The dwindling supply of artillery ammunition has served as a wake-up call to NATO, US and Western officials told CNN, since the alliance did not adequately prepare for the possibility of a protracted land war in Europe following decades of relative peace.

UK Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace told CNN last week that while NATO was poised early on for a “night one, day one” offensive, “no one had really asked themselves the question, well, what if ‘day one, night one’ becomes ‘week two, week three, week four?’ How much of our exquisite capabilities have we actually got in stock? And I think that’s been the broader question.”

US officials emphasized to CNN that there is a set level of munitions in US stockpiles around the world, essentially an emergency reserve, that the military is not willing to part ways with. The levels of those stockpiles are classified.

But officials say the US has been nearing that red line as it has continued to supply Ukraine with 155mm ammunition, the NATO standard used for artillery rounds. The US began ramping up ammunition production last year when it became clear that the war would drag on far longer than anticipated. But the ammunition will still take “years” to mass produce to acceptable levels, National Security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN Sunday.

The US decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help alleviate a potential shortage in the meantime, providing Kyiv with a supply of American weapons that haven’t been tapped into so far. But because cluster munitions can pose a long term risk to civilians, their transfer to Ukraine is only intended to be a stopgap measure until more unitary rounds can be produced, officials said.

A German government source told CNN that Berlin has taken steps to try to close existing gaps in ammunition stocks and to increase ammunition reserves, noting that the munitions for the Swiss-made Gepard tank, which has been provided to Ukraine, is now being produced in Germany. Ammunition from that new production line is expected to be delivered this summer, the source said, allowing Germany to ship its own rounds since Switzerland remains unwilling to send its supply.

Meanwhile, the UK will invest an additional £2.5 billion into stockpiles and munitions, and will also increase “investment in the resilience and readiness of the UK’s munitions infrastructure, including storage facilities,” according to the country’s newly released Defence Command Paper Refresh.

A strain on global supply​

To date, the US has provided Ukraine with over 2 million 155mm artillery rounds, according to the Pentagon. The Defense Department has set a goal of producing 70,000 artillery shells per month and is now producing just under 30,000 shells monthly, according to an Army spokesperson – up from around 15,000 per month when the war in Ukraine began in February 2022.
But Ukraine is still burning through the available supply.
Ukrainian forces fire a TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy thermobaric rocket launcher toward Russian positions near Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, on July 7, 2023.

Ukrainian forces fire a TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy thermobaric rocket launcher toward Russian positions near Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, on July 7, 2023.
EyePress News/Reuters

“This is an artillery intensive fight,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told CNN last week. “You know, we’ve seen large amounts of artillery be employed on both sides of the fence. And so that puts a strain on the international supply of munitions, artillery munitions.”

A year and a half into the war, Ukraine’s rate of artillery fire has hardly abated, even as its own stockpiles have been on a slow, steady decline. Ukrainian troops now typically fire between 2,000 and 3,000 artillery shells per day at Russian forces, a US defense official told CNN. The rate was higher before the counteroffensive began, as Ukraine conducted shaping operations to prepare to advance on Russian positions.

Some US officials had hoped the Ukrainians would be relying less on artillery at this point and more on combined arms maneuvers, a more efficient and sophisticated style of fighting that the US has been training Ukrainian forces on for months.

But Russia extensively mined the land Ukraine is trying to recapture, slowing down the counteroffensive and forcing the Ukrainians to use artillery to destroy targets from further away.

‘All the ammunition we could ever need’​

John Kirchhofer, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief of staff, said at a national security conference last week that the fighting is now “at a bit of a stalemate.” Other senior US officials have not gone that far, but have acknowledged that the counteroffensive is moving more slowly than anticipated.

“This [counteroffensive] is happening more slowly than people predicted,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the National Press Club last month. “I am not surprised by this. They are advancing confidently, purposefully, making their way through very difficult minefields.”

08 Defense Industry Ukraine

Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce it. Inside the Pentagon's plan to close the gap

But US officials became so concerned in recent weeks about the US’ ability to resupply Ukraine that President Joe Biden decided to send Kyiv highly controversial cluster munitions. The move was politically dicey and risked alienating European allies, many of whom have banned the munitions because of the risk they pose to civilians.

It was necessary, though, because of how low US stockpiles are, Sullivan told CNN Sunday.

Upon taking office, the Biden administration “found that overall stocks of 155 munitions…was relatively low,” he said.

Biden ultimately ordered the Pentagon “to work rapidly to scale up the ability of the United States to produce all the ammunition we could ever need for any conflict at any time,” Sullivan said. “Month on month, we are increasing our capacity to supply ammunition.”

Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer, a member of Senate’s Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, told CNN, “I think members of the military had to be concerned from the get-go on this.”
Using the example of a Lockheed Martin production line for Javelin anti-armor missiles that could produce 2,100 missiles a year while Ukraine was using 500 of the missiles a day, Fischer said, “That’s a red flag right there.”

Fischer is pushing for a greater investment in arms manufacturing to meet the challenge of a belligerent Russia in Europe and a Chinese military asserting its presence in the Pacific.

“It’s serious stuff. I’m not out there saying the sky is falling, but we need to be focused on this,” said Fischer. “We can’t lose the focus, and we need to be able to ramp up production.

‘Not days or weeks or months, but years’​

Army spokesperson Ellen Lovett told CNN last week that “the Army’s production ramp up of 155mm artillery ammunition continues as planned. We have already nearly doubled monthly production and contracts are in place to rapidly increase production over the next year and a half.”

Lovett added that the Army’s plans to significantly increase production of other key systems going to Ukraine, including GMLRS, Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, “are also on contract and underway.”

The initiative has underscored to US officials just how long it takes to significantly ramp up production, including the expansion of existing plants and the building of new ones, and how the US should have taken meaningful action in this space far earlier to prevent ammunition stockpiles from dwindling to dangerously low levels.

“We discovered that the ability to mass produce that ammunition would take not days or weeks or months, but years, to get to the level that we needed,” Sullivan said. “It’s interesting, the previous president used to talk frequently about how his generals told him that they were running out of bullets. When we came into office, nothing was underway to solve that problem. We are solving that problem.”

Wallace, the UK defense secretary, said the UK has “just started buying production line places to manufacture 155 shells, of which some of those manufacturers will go to Ukraine.”

Said a UK source to CNN, “The UK, like other allies, is constantly looking at production expansion to replenish our stockpiles as well as being able to continue supporting Ukraine.”

Incentivizing the defense industry​

But another problem NATO has run into writ large is incentivizing contractors to substantially ramp up production of supplies that governments have not been purchasing en masse in recent years, specifically the 155mm artillery shells, a senior NATO official told CNN last week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (2nd L) applauded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (3rd R) and US President Joe Biden (2nd R) as he is introduced at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (2nd L) applauded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (3rd R) and US President Joe Biden (2nd R) as he is introduced at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023.
Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Financial commitments from the US and Europe have helped ease some of those concerns. As part of a European Union initiative deemed the Act in Support of Ammunition Production, EU leaders reached a deal last week to spend 500 million euros to subsidize European arms manufacturers. That deal allows for changes to existing framework agreements around the production of ammunition.

At the NATO summit in Vilnius last week, the French and Ukrainian defense ministers signed an agreement which includes the establishment of a framework for the joint production of spare parts and maintenance of foreign weapons and equipment.

The Pentagon has also asked Congress, as part of the 2024 defense budget, to provide enough funding to allow DoD to strike multi-year contracts with defense contractors.

“For all the services in this year’s budget submission, we asked for multi-year procurement,” US Air Force General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Biden’s nominee to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a congressional hearing last week. “And that multi-year procurement was designed to help increase our stocks, but it also – what it does for us is help provide predictability to the Defense Industrial Base, to their supply chains, and to their workforce.”

Wallace said that NATO is realizing the importance of not allowing certain crucial supply chains to fall dormant.

“All of us have had to struggle stimulating our supply chains, some of which went to sleep,” he told CNN. He added that “as an alliance, we can’t just take for granted” the idea that another country will step in to fill the gap, like the US did with cluster munitions.

“What is clear is that we don’t have in our inventories at the moment the necessary munitions to shut down airfields and break through lines, like we might have done in the old days,” Wallace said. “If you can’t use cluster munitions, because we’ve all quite rightly signed this treaty [banning them], you need to innovate and come up with something else.”

 
It has been the "mother of all" wake-up calls to the west and NATO - i agree - but they will learn and they will execute a change of direction for sure.
 
I mentioned that earlier. Stocks of ex-soviet equipment in Europe have been drained to zero, there are literally no more to send. Ditto for all ammunition stocks. New production will take time, and probably will never be enough to meet demand.

No matter which policy Nato adopts, Ukraine will receive between little and nothing in the future.

The Russians will take Kiev.
 
just look at the wording of the article and others like it

and it sums up the entire Western strategy

We wont reach 70,000 shells per day until end of 2025, we are investing in ramping up our production and need the war to go until then so we can justify the procurement

that says it all
 
just look at the wording of the article and others like it

and it sums up the entire Western strategy

We wont reach 70,000 shells per day until end of 2025, we are investing in ramping up our production and need the war to go until then so we can justify the procurement

that says it all
I believe that on some days, the Russians have been firing 60,000 shells per day.

This will put figures into context.

On a different thread, this makes the stocks of ammunition in Transnistria (Moldova) much more attractive to the Ukrainians. A Ukrainian push in that direction? Start a false flag, and the 'defend' itself and occupy Transnistria?

 
We will watch with pop corn and see how long each party can last and who's going to be bled dry first.
 

US and NATO grapple with critical ammo shortage for Ukraine​


By Natasha Bertrand, Oren Liebermann and Jennifer Hansler, CNN
Published 5:01 AM EDT, Tue July 18, 2023


A Ukrainian serviceman, of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, prepares to fire a mortar at their positions at a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 13, 2023. 's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 13, 2023.

A Ukrainian serviceman, of the 10th separate mountain assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, prepares to fire a mortar at their positions at a front line, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, near the city of Bakhmut in Donetsk region, Ukraine July 13, 2023.

Sofiia Gatilova/Reuters

WashingtonCNN —
The US and Europe are struggling to provide Ukraine with the large amount of ammunition it will need for a prolonged counteroffensive against Russia, and Western officials are racing to ramp up production to avoid shortages on the battlefield that could hinder Ukraine’s progress.

The dwindling supply of artillery ammunition has served as a wake-up call to NATO, US and Western officials told CNN, since the alliance did not adequately prepare for the possibility of a protracted land war in Europe following decades of relative peace.

UK Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace told CNN last week that while NATO was poised early on for a “night one, day one” offensive, “no one had really asked themselves the question, well, what if ‘day one, night one’ becomes ‘week two, week three, week four?’ How much of our exquisite capabilities have we actually got in stock? And I think that’s been the broader question.”

US officials emphasized to CNN that there is a set level of munitions in US stockpiles around the world, essentially an emergency reserve, that the military is not willing to part ways with. The levels of those stockpiles are classified.

But officials say the US has been nearing that red line as it has continued to supply Ukraine with 155mm ammunition, the NATO standard used for artillery rounds. The US began ramping up ammunition production last year when it became clear that the war would drag on far longer than anticipated. But the ammunition will still take “years” to mass produce to acceptable levels, National Security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN Sunday.

The US decided to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to help alleviate a potential shortage in the meantime, providing Kyiv with a supply of American weapons that haven’t been tapped into so far. But because cluster munitions can pose a long term risk to civilians, their transfer to Ukraine is only intended to be a stopgap measure until more unitary rounds can be produced, officials said.

A German government source told CNN that Berlin has taken steps to try to close existing gaps in ammunition stocks and to increase ammunition reserves, noting that the munitions for the Swiss-made Gepard tank, which has been provided to Ukraine, is now being produced in Germany. Ammunition from that new production line is expected to be delivered this summer, the source said, allowing Germany to ship its own rounds since Switzerland remains unwilling to send its supply.

Meanwhile, the UK will invest an additional £2.5 billion into stockpiles and munitions, and will also increase “investment in the resilience and readiness of the UK’s munitions infrastructure, including storage facilities,” according to the country’s newly released Defence Command Paper Refresh.

A strain on global supply​

To date, the US has provided Ukraine with over 2 million 155mm artillery rounds, according to the Pentagon. The Defense Department has set a goal of producing 70,000 artillery shells per month and is now producing just under 30,000 shells monthly, according to an Army spokesperson – up from around 15,000 per month when the war in Ukraine began in February 2022.
But Ukraine is still burning through the available supply.
Ukrainian forces fire a TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy thermobaric rocket launcher toward Russian positions near Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, on July 7, 2023.

Ukrainian forces fire a TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy thermobaric rocket launcher toward Russian positions near Kreminna, in the Luhansk region, on July 7, 2023.
EyePress News/Reuters

“This is an artillery intensive fight,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told CNN last week. “You know, we’ve seen large amounts of artillery be employed on both sides of the fence. And so that puts a strain on the international supply of munitions, artillery munitions.”

A year and a half into the war, Ukraine’s rate of artillery fire has hardly abated, even as its own stockpiles have been on a slow, steady decline. Ukrainian troops now typically fire between 2,000 and 3,000 artillery shells per day at Russian forces, a US defense official told CNN. The rate was higher before the counteroffensive began, as Ukraine conducted shaping operations to prepare to advance on Russian positions.

Some US officials had hoped the Ukrainians would be relying less on artillery at this point and more on combined arms maneuvers, a more efficient and sophisticated style of fighting that the US has been training Ukrainian forces on for months.

But Russia extensively mined the land Ukraine is trying to recapture, slowing down the counteroffensive and forcing the Ukrainians to use artillery to destroy targets from further away.

‘All the ammunition we could ever need’​

John Kirchhofer, the Defense Intelligence Agency’s chief of staff, said at a national security conference last week that the fighting is now “at a bit of a stalemate.” Other senior US officials have not gone that far, but have acknowledged that the counteroffensive is moving more slowly than anticipated.

“This [counteroffensive] is happening more slowly than people predicted,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the National Press Club last month. “I am not surprised by this. They are advancing confidently, purposefully, making their way through very difficult minefields.”

08 Defense Industry Ukraine
Ukraine is burning through ammunition faster than the US and NATO can produce it. Inside the Pentagon's plan to close the gap
But US officials became so concerned in recent weeks about the US’ ability to resupply Ukraine that President Joe Biden decided to send Kyiv highly controversial cluster munitions. The move was politically dicey and risked alienating European allies, many of whom have banned the munitions because of the risk they pose to civilians.

It was necessary, though, because of how low US stockpiles are, Sullivan told CNN Sunday.

Upon taking office, the Biden administration “found that overall stocks of 155 munitions…was relatively low,” he said.

Biden ultimately ordered the Pentagon “to work rapidly to scale up the ability of the United States to produce all the ammunition we could ever need for any conflict at any time,” Sullivan said. “Month on month, we are increasing our capacity to supply ammunition.”

Nebraska Republican Sen. Deb Fischer, a member of Senate’s Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, told CNN, “I think members of the military had to be concerned from the get-go on this.”
Using the example of a Lockheed Martin production line for Javelin anti-armor missiles that could produce 2,100 missiles a year while Ukraine was using 500 of the missiles a day, Fischer said, “That’s a red flag right there.”

Fischer is pushing for a greater investment in arms manufacturing to meet the challenge of a belligerent Russia in Europe and a Chinese military asserting its presence in the Pacific.

“It’s serious stuff. I’m not out there saying the sky is falling, but we need to be focused on this,” said Fischer. “We can’t lose the focus, and we need to be able to ramp up production.

‘Not days or weeks or months, but years’​

Army spokesperson Ellen Lovett told CNN last week that “the Army’s production ramp up of 155mm artillery ammunition continues as planned. We have already nearly doubled monthly production and contracts are in place to rapidly increase production over the next year and a half.”

Lovett added that the Army’s plans to significantly increase production of other key systems going to Ukraine, including GMLRS, Javelin anti-tank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, “are also on contract and underway.”

The initiative has underscored to US officials just how long it takes to significantly ramp up production, including the expansion of existing plants and the building of new ones, and how the US should have taken meaningful action in this space far earlier to prevent ammunition stockpiles from dwindling to dangerously low levels.

“We discovered that the ability to mass produce that ammunition would take not days or weeks or months, but years, to get to the level that we needed,” Sullivan said. “It’s interesting, the previous president used to talk frequently about how his generals told him that they were running out of bullets. When we came into office, nothing was underway to solve that problem. We are solving that problem.”

Wallace, the UK defense secretary, said the UK has “just started buying production line places to manufacture 155 shells, of which some of those manufacturers will go to Ukraine.”

Said a UK source to CNN, “The UK, like other allies, is constantly looking at production expansion to replenish our stockpiles as well as being able to continue supporting Ukraine.”

Incentivizing the defense industry​

But another problem NATO has run into writ large is incentivizing contractors to substantially ramp up production of supplies that governments have not been purchasing en masse in recent years, specifically the 155mm artillery shells, a senior NATO official told CNN last week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (2nd L) applauded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (3rd R) and US President Joe Biden (2nd R) as he is introduced at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023. 's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (3rd R) and US President Joe Biden (2nd R) as he is introduced at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (2nd L) applauded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (3rd R) and US President Joe Biden (2nd R) as he is introduced at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 12, 2023.
Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Financial commitments from the US and Europe have helped ease some of those concerns. As part of a European Union initiative deemed the Act in Support of Ammunition Production, EU leaders reached a deal last week to spend 500 million euros to subsidize European arms manufacturers. That deal allows for changes to existing framework agreements around the production of ammunition.

At the NATO summit in Vilnius last week, the French and Ukrainian defense ministers signed an agreement which includes the establishment of a framework for the joint production of spare parts and maintenance of foreign weapons and equipment.

The Pentagon has also asked Congress, as part of the 2024 defense budget, to provide enough funding to allow DoD to strike multi-year contracts with defense contractors.

“For all the services in this year’s budget submission, we asked for multi-year procurement,” US Air Force General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Biden’s nominee to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a congressional hearing last week. “And that multi-year procurement was designed to help increase our stocks, but it also – what it does for us is help provide predictability to the Defense Industrial Base, to their supply chains, and to their workforce.”

Wallace said that NATO is realizing the importance of not allowing certain crucial supply chains to fall dormant.

“All of us have had to struggle stimulating our supply chains, some of which went to sleep,” he told CNN. He added that “as an alliance, we can’t just take for granted” the idea that another country will step in to fill the gap, like the US did with cluster munitions.

“What is clear is that we don’t have in our inventories at the moment the necessary munitions to shut down airfields and break through lines, like we might have done in the old days,” Wallace said. “If you can’t use cluster munitions, because we’ve all quite rightly signed this treaty [banning them], you need to innovate and come up with something else.”

They have been sucking up trillions of dollars of public money but that still isn't enough for the pigs.
 
South Korea is the worlds largest untapped ammo production maker for 155mm shells. Than the US , South Korea will be contracted now to fill the short fall and restock the stocks of friendly countries
 
South Korea is the worlds largest untapped ammo production maker for 155mm shells. Than the US , South Korea will be contracted now to fill the short fall and restock the stocks of friendly countries

If certain European countries wake up and decide to go full war production footing, then UK, France, and Germany can quickly produce enough to restock on an emergency basis. Then you have the U.S. that can outproduce the first three.

But when you look at it, they expended war material but didn't waste their service men and women's life, which is the biggest asset, and the same can't be said for Ukraine and Russia.
 
European production capacity of 155 mm shells is actually 50.000 per month, and another 10.000 per month if counting Rheinmetalls capacity at Denel Munition in South Africa.
The US and Europe combined is already outproducing Russia in terms large caliber artillery shells, and could tripple the production in 2024.
The amount of shells Russia is reported to be using is not sustainable, and tells us nothing about their production capacity. They are wasting their sovjet inheritance, and it would take Russia decades to restore stockpiles back to pre war level, and it is probably never going to happen.
 
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European production capacity of 155 mm shells is actually 50.000 per month, and another 10.000 per month if counting Rheinmetalls capacity at Denel Munition in South Africa.
The US and Europe combined is already outproducing Russia in terms large caliber artillery shells, and could tripple the production in 2024.
The amount of shells Russia is reported to be using is not sustainable, and tells us nothing about their production capacity. They are wasting their sovjet inheritance, and it would take Russia decades to restore stockpiles back to pre war level, and it is probably never going to happen.
China is not in a hurry to find it out.
 

The US is heavily reliant on China and Russia for its ammo supply chain. Congress wants to fix that.​

By Bryant Harris
Jun 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — The United States has relied almost entirely on China — and to a lesser extent Russia — in recent years to procure a critical mineral that is vital to producing ammunition.

The mineral antimony is critical to the defense-industrial supply chain and is needed to produce everything from armor-piercing bullets and explosives to nuclear weapons as well as sundry other military equipment, such as night vision goggles.

Antimony is now on the front lines of recent congressional efforts to shore up the strategic reserve of rare earth minerals, known as the national defense stockpile. The stockpile includes a multitude of other minerals critical to the defense-industrial supply chain such as titanium, tungsten, cobalt and lithium, but lawmakers expect will become insolvent by fiscal 2025 absent corrective action.

The House Armed Services Committee took its first stab at addressing China’s grip on the antimony supply chain in draft legislation it released Wednesday. A report accompanying the bill would require the manager of the national defense stockpile to brief the committee on the status of antimony by October while providing “a five-year outlook of these minerals and current and future supply chain vulnerabilities.”

“The committee is concerned about recent geopolitical dynamics with Russia and China and how that could accelerate supply chain disruptions, particularly with antimony,” the report noted.

The draft legislation would also require the Defense Department to instate a policy of recycling spent batteries to reclaim “precious metals, rare earth minerals and elements of strategic importance (such as Cobalt and Lithium) into the supply chain or strategic reserves of the United States.”

The House’s readiness subcommittee is expected to approve the draft text on Thursday, and the Armed Services Committee is set to advance the legislation as part of its annual defense authorization bill later this month.

After Japan cut off the U.S. supply of antimony from China during World War II, the United States began procuring the mineral from ore in an Idaho goldmine. However, that mine ceased production in 1997.

“There is no domestic mine for antimony,” according to a 2020 report from the U.S. Geological Survey, a government agency. “China is the largest producer of mined and refined antimony and a major source of imports for the United States.”

The report noted that China is “losing market share with Russia, the world’s second-ranked producer,” with Tajikistan gaining ground in the global market as the world’s third-largest supplier of antimony.

Lawmakers’ recent interest in shoring up the national defense stockpile of strategic minerals marks a significant about-face for Congress, which had repeatedly authorized multimillion-dollar sales of the reserve over the past several decades to fund other programs.

At its peak during the beginning of the Cold War in 1952, the stockpile was valued at nearly $42 billion in today’s dollars. That value has plummeted to $888 million as of last year.
The Defense Department submitted its own legislative proposal to Congress last month, asking lawmakers to authorize $253.5 million in the defense authorization bill to procure additional minerals for the stockpile.

Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, led seven Republicans in April in asking the defense appropriations subcommittee to provide an additional $264 million in funding for the stockpile for FY23.

“The current stockpile is inadequate to meet the requirements of great power competition,” the lawmakers wrote. “The [national defense stockpile] is no longer capable of covering the Department of Defense’s needs for the vast majority of identified materials in the event of a supply chain disruption.”

 

Germany struggles to get China parts to replenish ammo stockpile​

Supply of military aid to Ukraine is depleting Germany's inventory
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A German armed forces vehicle fires a self-propelled gun at the shooting range of Baumholder near Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Nov. 17. © Reuters

JENS KASTNER, Contributing writerDecember 6, 2022 17:46 JST

HAMBURG, Germany -- The supply of military aid to Ukraine is depleting Germany's stockpiles of ammunition -- an issue that may be exacerbated by the slowdown of component imports from China.

German ammunition makers at a recent defense symposium near Munich flagged that the lead time for orders of cotton linters from China -- a key component for propelling charges for both small guns and artillery -- has tripled to up to nine months, German-language daily Die Welt reported.

While cotton linters are a commodity material produced and traded across the globe, the report cited unnamed industry sources saying that all European ammunition manufacturers rely on China for them.

The massive bottlenecks in raw material supply "concern especially ammunition and special steels," Wolfgang Hellmich, the defense affairs speaker for the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) in parliament, told Nikkei Asia, when asked whether there are supply bottlenecks for China-sourced materials for military equipment.

On Nov. 28, the German government held an ammunition roundtable with arms-makers, but concrete results were not publicized.

"[At the ammunition roundtable], it was discussed how the ammunition bottlenecks can quickly be reduced, and all sides are working at full steam for solutions to prevent serious inventory gaps," he added.

The German defense ministry has not replied to an inquiry for this article as of press time.

The management of German ammunition manufacturer MEN Metallwerk Elisenhuette, was cited by Die Welt as criticizing the government for being slower in placing orders with the defense industry than other European countries. A spokeswoman for the company confirmed the statements in the report but declined to make further comment.

The delay comes against the backdrop of Beijing refusing to condemn Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine, and China continuing to hold frequent joint military drills with Russia. But at the same time, Russia's firing of tens of thousands of artillery rounds per day in Ukraine have made the Bundeswehr, the German military, realize that its own stockpiles would be grossly inadequate for such high-intensity warfare.

Like other countries, Germany keeps its ammunition stockpiles secret, but many observers believe that the Bundeswehr would run out of ammunition within days or even hours in the event of war. In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the SPD-led government under Chancellor Olaf Scholz established a special 100-billion-euro ($106 billion) fund to upgrade its underequipped armed forces.

With Germany simultaneously transferring ammunition to Ukraine's military, such as for multiple rocket launchers, anti-aircraft guns and machine guns, the slowdown of imports of key components from China obviously puts the government in a dilemma.

"There is a reliance on China, and this is posing challenges for the stockpiling effort," said Henning Otte, a parliamentarian for the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), who serves as the deputy chair of the Bundestag's defense committee.

Across the Atlantic, Timothy Heath, a senior international defense researcher at RAND Corp., points out that U.S. defense companies also use Chinese rare earth, raw materials and components.

"This reflects the globalized nature of production. Department of defense policy makers are trying to persuade the companies to reduce or eliminate their reliance on Chinese suppliers," Heath said.

 
Better to find out now where the shortages can be instead of when the war is in your own yard and it is too late.

This shelling game these two are playing seems stupid and shows what an absence of any credible air war abilities looks like.

I wondering if they are firing more than the US did in over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 
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Not sure why Europe who invented modern war, would disable its self by not having military factories all over still. They are starting rebuild and won’t make this mistake again.
 
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