Emptying Stocks to Arm Ukraine Leaving U.S. Military ‘Extremely Weak’ – Brigadier General Warns

Amid rising controversies over the massive transfers of American arms stockpiles to the Ukrainian Armed Forces for operations against Russia, which has worsened considerably due to the emergence of a need to arm Israel for its war effort against the Hamas militant group, retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc emerged as the latest to warn that this had compromised America’s defences. Serving from 1981–2017, and having earned two Purple Hearts and headed the Army’s Special Operations Command in Africa, Bolduc has aroused controversies with multiple political statements in the past. Nevertheless, his position on aid to Ukraine has gained growing reception in the United States particularly on the political right. “I think it’s a wake-up call to the American people that you know during the Biden administration our military has become extremely weak. We’ve become overstretched. Logistically, we could not support really a lot of things that would go on simultaneously in this world,” he stated. He added that he was “very concerned” about “a very serious problem for America and its national security apparatus.” 

Continued assistance to Ukraine has been justified on the basis that the kind of armaments being used in Eastern Europe are from different classes to those which would be needed in a war in the Pacific against China. The emergence of the possibility of a major war in the Middle East, however, as well as the ever present challenge posed by North Korea’s massive and very heavily armed ground forces, mean that assets for a large ground campaign such as artillery pieces, 155mm munitions and armoured vehicles will remain in demand, while even in East Asia some contingencies for war with China will require the U.S. Military to undertake significant ground operations. The failure of Ukrainian forces’ massive and months long summer offensives, during which they took casualties in the high tens of thousands, follows widespread predictions that failure in the Western funded push eastwards would only further strengthen calls to reevaluate future aid. American asset classes such as Bradley fighting vehicles have suffered extreme attrition in combat. 

In the final week of September an amendment to a defence funding bill to prohibit all further military assistance to Ukraine won 93 Republican votes, and on September 30 the Republican controlled Congress blocked further aid. The removal of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had played a key role in facilitating the passage of further aid packages, only further worsened the outlook for Kiev, with the House unable to pass legislation without its speaker. The cutting off of Western arms supplies and funding has long been expected to potentially turn the tide of the war, with the conflict’s existential importance for Russia placing it in a stronger position to make sacrifices in the longer term to continue sustaining the war effort.