WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The U.S. military “has a long way to go” to increase its defense resources and ensure the nation is prepared for all-out war, the top U.S. government told Congress Wednesday.
Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the war in Ukraine, highlighted the enormous amount of ammunition required in any conflict.
Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin echoed repeated questions from members of Congress this week about the impact of the war being held at the Pentagon, which is providing Ukraine with the large fortifications it needs to repel US forces.
They and top military officials have said the conflict will lead to the United States increasing its production and the amount of ammunition it really needs as tensions with China and Russia continue to escalate.
“If there was a war on the Korean peninsula or a larger war between the United States and Russia or between the United States and China, consumption rates would be through the roof,” Milley said in testimony Wednesday before the U.S. Armed Services Commission. House of representatives. “So it moves me. I know the writers too. We have a lot to do so that our arsenal is ready for real contingencies.”
Milley and Austin ordered the military to carry out a complete review of all military equipment and estimate the cost of its fortifications, which could serve as the basis for future economic claims.
The Pentagon requested $30 million in the 2024 fiscal year to invest in the industrial base and “purchase as many munitions as possible that the American industry can produce,” Augustine said in the same hearing.
Earlier this week, Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth told lawmakers that at this point the Army “is more comfortable with the amount of lethal support that you have provided us, not to undermine our readiness, but to follow closely.”
Of particular concern is the 155mm ammunition. The United States has sent 160 missiles to Ukraine and more than 1 million 155mm rounds, with an estimated 3,000 rounds fired per day, according to the Pentagon.
Wormuth, who visited the Army Cartridge Plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania, said the Army has requested $1.5 billion in the budget to bolster production. He added that the United States wants to increase production from 20,000 to 70,000 rounds a month by 2025.
“We are working closely with the industry to do everything we can to make it easier for us to grow and the volume of their production and the speed of their production,” he said.
As for the impact of the US military, Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said the military spends about 150,000 a year on training, or about 14,000 a month.
Another point of need is the defense of the Multiple Launch Guided Rocket System (MLRS), which the United States also sent to Ukraine. Wormuth said the United States will increase production from 6,000 to 15,000 jobs per year.
Austin and Wormuth also said that Congress hopes the Pentagon will allow multi-year acquisition plans to save money and provide stability to the industry.