Ongoing air wars in Middle East have caused an unexpected dip in the Pentagon’s stockpile of air-to-ground munitions — and Washington has been slow to address the supply problem.
The Pentagon has had months to deal with it.
“We’re expending munitions faster than we can replenish them,” USA Today quoted Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh as saying in December.
Since then Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has asked Congress to include funding for 45,000 smart bombs in the Defense Department’s 2017 budget. But it could take a while to rebuild the stockpile.
“The US maintains a pretty steady inventory of bombs and missiles for full-on war scenarios,” says Roman Schweizer, aerospace and defense policy analyst at Guggenheim Securities in Washington. “But 2 1/2 years of fighting ISIS and continued bombing in Afghanistan have exceeded weapons-use projections.”