Citing what warmongers in Washington call the ever-growing threat of Russia and China, the Pentagon announced last week that the military-industrial complex is producing weapons of death at maximum capacity, which will be increased in the next few months.
The plans aim to produce enough weapons to backfill the equipment sent to Ukraine and to match the “growing threat of a conflict with China.”
“We are buying to the limits of the industrial base even as we are expanding those limits,” Kathleen Hicks, the deputy secretary of defense, told reporters last Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The paper said the Defense Department will increase spending on various munitions in response to China, a “pacing threat,” while continuing to provide weapons to Ukraine. Defense contractors are struggling to meet the demand, the paper said.
The Pentagon has laid out plans on how it will counter China in its $842 billion budget request. The top brass in the Pentagon said the Ukraine War, which involved massive amounts of munitions, exposed a vulnerability in how the U.S. prepares for conflict. (Last week we reported on how China is spending more on its own military. See “CHINA BEEFING UP MILITARY AMID GROWING TENSION WITH U.S.,” 14 Mar 2023.)
Politico noted that the Defense Department will approach ammunition and missile production the same way it approaches aircraft development: through multiyear contracts. The claim is that this approach will save money in the long run and “ensure a steady flow of production.”
One senior Defense Department official told Politico that the Pentagon has observed the Ukraine War and had an ‘aha’ moment.
“Maybe we need to have a healthier munitions industrial base for ourselves beyond what’s happening in Ukraine,” the official said.
The Pentagon plans to ask Congress for $30.6 billion in fiscal 2024—an increase of $5.8 billion from the 2023 request—for the increase of munition production. The Pentagon is launching a Joint Production Accelerator Cell that will oversee a permanent production accelerator, instead of it being reactive and standing up in a crisis.
“The question we are now posing to this new team is how do we ramp production up and down more flexibly and cheaply in the future,” Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon acquisition chief, said, according to Defense News.
TRENDPOST: The Revolving Door in Washington continues. Besides Lloyd Austin’s having sat on the board of directors of Raytheon, the second largest defense contractor in the United States, before appointed as U.S. Secretary of Defense by President Biden, the head of this Joint Production Accelerator Cell will be Erin Simpson, who worked at Northrop Grumman.
LaPlante, in a 10 March memo obtained by Defense News, said the military needs may evolve with the “threat environment.” His vision of the future involves a world where weapon production is always humming.
“While I’m confident we will manage our way out of this current crisis, we cannot stop managing this once fighting in Ukraine ends, we need to change. To ensure we pace the threat posed by China throughout the Indo-Pacific, we cannot return to the feast or famine behavior which is typically employed as the crisis comes and goes,” he said.
The Trends Journal has reported extensively on how peace negotiations have been banned. (See “CHINA’S CEASEFIRE PITCH IN UKRAINE DENOUNCED BY THE WEST AS PRO-RUSSIAN SABOTAGE” 28 Feb 2023, “GERMANY’S CHIEF WAR HAWK CONFIRMS CELENTE’S FORECAST: EUROPE IS AT WAR WITH RUSSIA” 31 Jan 2023 and “TOP EU LEADERSHIP VISITS KYIV TO PROMOTE MORE WAR, LIES ABOUT A FUTURE UKRAINIAN UTOPIA” 7 Feb 2023.)
And who benefits? Politicians and their defense-industry donors. The Financial Times noted that the fiscal 2024 budget request from the Defense Department is a 12 percent rise to $30.6 billion just in missiles and rockets. Part of that budget will be earmarked for more advanced missiles, like the hypersonic platforms and defense against missiles that can travel five times the speed of sound.
“Ukraine has certainly informed us of the lack of flexibility in our industrial base … We are going to up our game,” Michael J. McCord, undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer, said last week.