Sunday, October 06, 2002
National Defense Magazine has a truly frightening article.
A brief breakdown of the article: We're running out of stuff. All the money is going to those pretty smart bombs, made by Boeing and Raytheon (a Carlysle subsidiary, imagine that!).
Some choice quotes:
The U.S. engineering and production capabilities for cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions are adequate, despite the consolidation of the industry in recent years, Palaschak said. “The problem with precision-guided munitions is not the health of the industry, but the fact that they can’t produce them fast enough to replenish the inventories after a conflict.”
After the Gulf War, he noted, “it took us a long time to replenish precision-guided bombs and cruise missiles.”
During his confirmation hearing in August as chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. John Jumper said that the service has a $2 billion shortfall in its munitions accounts.
Even though there are still significant amounts of conventional ammunition in war reserve, the stockpile is aging and needs to be modernized, said Col. James Naughton, deputy chief of staff for ammunition at the Army Materiel Command.
In a briefing to industry executives in February, Naughton said that there is not enough money to remanufacture obsolete ammunition stockpiles. Outdated ammunition not only poses a safety hazard, but also is unusable for combat.
According to statistics provided by the Munitions Industrial Base Task Force, the U.S. military munitions accounts are under-funded by more than $400 million in fiscal year 2002.
At the briefing, officials from the Industrial Committee of Ammunition Producers said that the Defense Department should be concerned about the “availability of product or re-supply” during a conflict and the “ability to replenish inventories” after a conflict.
Here's the most critical part of the article, I think:
“The problem with the base is not with the exotic stuff,” he said. A more troubling situation is that “we can’t even make routine, old-generation items.”
In his opinion, the ammunition industrial base is “very sick” in several areas.
The United States, for example, only has one manufacturing plant that makes ammunition links (tiny metal clips) for small arms — the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. The company that operated the plant, Valentec, was about to go out of business, and subsequently was bought by Alliant Techsystems.
“As you go around the base, in most items, we are literally one-deep,” said Heyderman. “These companies are on the jagged edge.”
Oh, and we're running out of fuzes and batteries. Dumb people ordering smart weapons.
Let's have a war, eh?
posted by lazarus |