U.S. Senator Warns Decades’ Worth of Weapons Production Expended on Ukraine War: Readiness of American Units Threatened

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, United States Senator from Ohio James David Vance has warned that supplies of armaments to Ukraine have been totally unsustainable when considering the productive capacities of the American defence sector. He stated that American output of military equipment was far from sufficient to sustain the war effort, and that even if the Joe Biden administration were able to pass over $60 billion in new military aid to the country, this would not “fundamentally change the reality on the battlefield.” “We have expended decades’ worth of supplies of American weapons” on the Ukraine conflict, Vance stated, adding that as a result of decades of contraction of the American industrial base “we don’t make enough of that stuff on our own.” “Yet at the same time they want us to send all of our critical weapons overseas,” he exclaimed. His statement comes as Western sources on the ground in Ukraine have reported with growing frequency and seriousness that the combat capability of even Ukraine’s most elite frontline units has been very seriously undermined by severe and worsening equipment shortages.

Reflecting widespread concerns among American conservative voters and Republican lawmakers, Senator Vance further elaborated regarding his position: “It is absurd for the U.S. to devote so many resources, so much attention, and so much time to a border conflict six thousand miles away while out own U.S. southern border is wide open.” “We now no longer have the weapons in store to actually prosecute our own national security. Let’s focus on our own problems,” he added. With the bulk of attendees at Munich coming from European states, which have been the strongest state lobbyists for greater American financing and arms transfers for the Ukrainian war effort rather than less of it, the senator’s comments were likely to be far from welcome. Countries in Europe have shown willingness to take increasingly extreme measures to sustain a Ukrainian combat capacity, an example being a decision by the government of Denmark less than a week before Senator Vance’s statement to provide the entirety of its artillery stockpiles to the Ukrainian Army as aid, leaving the country with no artillery whatsoever.

The latest statements questioning the sustainability of arms transfers to Ukraine follow the release of reports by Pentagon Inspector General Robert P. Storch, which highlight that vehicles and missile systems provided to Ukraine were taken from the U.S. Army’s own stocks “without limits.” Such transfers had been made under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, with inspectors informed by an official that if this practice continued, it “may require the [Department of Defence] to choose between the readiness of [Ukrainian] units or the readiness of U.S. units.” Parts shortages and a lack of sufficient production lines or trained personnel have been leading factors restricting the American defence sector’s ability to replenish donated equipment. Shortages in the United States have been exacerbated by the acceleration of supplies of many kinds of equipment to respond to significant attrition on the battlefield from the early summer of 2023. Bradley fighting vehicles have been a leading example, with over 60 lost in combat at the most conservative estimates leading the Biden administration to increase supplies.