Monday, July 11, 2022

Check Your Magazine Inventory Recently? missile>bomb>shell>bullet>blade>club>fist>teeth

Some warning will only be given so many times.

We were warned a few months in to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

We were warned again five years later when we were trying to source what was needed to support the uplift in forces in Afghanistan while Iraq still had high demands. 

Our allies pretty much went Winchester in the 2011 operations against Libya.

We can barely partially source small and medium sized conflicts ... we are not ready for a larger one.

That is a simple fact that seems too painful for people to clearly look at. 

Like the US Navy excels in damage control by design and training, in theory the US military writ large excels in logistics.

What good is the culture and practice if you lack the inventory to move, the production to create ... and even if you did, the strategic sealift and airlift to bring the weapons to the fight?

In peace and in bushwars you can get by with shortages as you can always scrounge around to fill gaps (I have fun stories from AFG, but maybe later), but in a great conflict - there is no untapped resource. You either have it or you don't.

At peace, "experts" will sell you comfortable theories about "short, decisive wars" and "72-hr war-winning CONOPS" that never pan out once the first ITL button is pressed. 

Over at FT, John Paul Rathbone and Steff Chavaz join the chorus trying to wake everyone up;

In May, when Washington ordered 1,300 Stinger anti-air missiles to replace those sent to Ukraine, the chief executive of Raytheon, the defence company that makes them, replied: “It’s going to take us a little bit of time.”

Paris, meanwhile, has sent 18 Caesar howitzers to Kyiv — a quarter of its total stock of the high-tech artillery — but it will take French company Nexter around 18 months to make new ones.

The Ukraine war has exposed the skimpiness of western defence stockpiles — especially of unglamorous but crucial supplies such as artillery shells that have been the mainstay of fighting. Lack of production capacity, labour shortages and supply chain snafus — especially computer chips — mean long lead times to replenish them.

The shortages, defence officials and analysts say, reveal the west’s complacency about potential threats since the end of the cold war, now shown up by the desire to shore up Ukraine with military support. Fetishes for high-tech weaponry and lean manufacturing have obscured the importance of maintaining stockpiles of basic kit, they add.


“It’s like the first world war’s great shell crisis,” said Shea, recalling a 1915 scandal when massive artillery use in trench warfare depleted British stocks, a shortage that led to high troop casualties and the resignation of prime minister HH Asquith.

Ponder this as well. The maritime domain has not been as tested as the land component the last few decades. As such, we can assume that our magazine inventory is even more "exquisitely" designed. 

In closed door sessions, I hope that Congress is demanding answers and hard numbers in this area ... and then will fund to fix them.

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