In response to growing concerns over the nation’s dwindling weapons supply, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, revealed that the Biden administration is actively working with the defense industry to increase munitions production. The move comes as tensions continue to rise in Ukraine and Taiwan, warranting a swift response to ensure national security.
During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Kirby emphasized the administration’s close collaboration with the defense industry, specifically focusing on ramping up production of artillery shells. He acknowledged the recent provision of cluster munitions to Ukraine as a temporary measure to bridge the gap while production is being increased. Kirby further assured that the administration is engaged in robust discussions with defense industry stakeholders, expressing confidence in the eventual attainment of production goals.
The urgency to address the nation’s munitions shortage was underscored by a recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The study estimated that replenishing inventories for critical ammunition, including 155 mm shells, Javelins, and Stingers, could take several years. To this end, Kirby clarified that funding was not the primary issue but rather the need to sustain increased production levels over an extended period. He acknowledged the defense industry’s concerns about capacity, workforce expansion, and manufacturing capabilities, noting that the administration is committed to addressing these challenges.
President Biden himself acknowledged the scarcity of 155 mm artillery rounds during an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. In defense of his administration’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, Biden explained that it was a temporary solution until the production of additional munitions could be ramped up. However, his remarks faced criticism from conservatives on social media platforms, with some questioning the necessity of the president discussing the nation’s ammunition shortage publicly.
Biden on sending cluster munitions to Ukraine:
“They’re running out of that ammunition — and we’re low on it.” pic.twitter.com/bkJEsZbrq5
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 8, 2023
Efforts to address the munitions shortage align with the administration’s commitment to supporting allies and maintaining global stability. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine and escalating tensions in Taiwan highlight the need for a proactive approach to national security. By collaborating closely with the defense industry, the administration aims to ensure the availability of crucial munitions in a timely manner.
As discussions between the Biden administration and defense industry stakeholders continue, it remains to be seen how quickly increased production can be realized.