- - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The U.S. military is running out of bombs. It is running out of bombs half-heartedly fighting an Islamic caliphate using medieval techniques and old pickup trucks.

In this reduced budgetary environment, the U.S. is having to raid overseas stockpiles in other theaters to keep the bombing going against ISIS. Over 40,000 bombs have been dropped on the Islamic State by the coalition fighting ISIS.

Defense Department officials are trying to figure out “how we balance the weapons we have,” U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, the man overseeing the airstrikes, said Thursday.

“We have to do some analysis of where we take risk,” Brown said in a video conference with reporters from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, home to the American-run combined air and space operations center. “What I mean by that is: where do we pull some weapons from that we were saving for other contingencies,” he said. “And do we use them now or do we save them for later?” reports Defense One.

It seems the U.S. military did not forecast nor budget for enough munitions to maintain the conflict in the Middle East at the current low burn rate. “I know the Air Force has taken some steps to increase in the next [budget cycle], to buy more weapons,” Brown said. “[T]hose weapons are about two years or so away, if not more.”

This begs the question, what would happen if we have a real global conflict with a powerful adversary? I’m sure we will have enough ammunition to maintain the facade of defeating ISIS but what happens if we get into a shooting war in the South China Sea?

This status-quo smacks of sheer incompetence and weakness; it only serves to further embolden our adversaries. Russia is fighting the Islamic State using old, unguided bombs. I’m sure the cost is orders of magnitude cheaper and the collateral damage much higher. To hear the U.S. Air Force and Navy are running low on precision-guided munitions and are two years away from relief does not provide a warm and fuzzy feeling.


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