Are we reducing our weapon and equipment stocks too low, what’s the plan?
The administration’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan last year left $80 billion in military equipment behind to the Taliban. Pentagon officials tell us some of that equipment was obsolete, or otherwise un-useable.
But still, that’s somewhere around a $134 billion drawdown in our weapon and supply inventories in a very short period of time. Again, defense officials tell us even quickly going through this much material does not put our country at risk if faced with another conflict.
At the same time, other DoD officials tell us it will take years to replenish our supply of certain items such as Javelin anti-armor systems and Stinger anti-aircraft systems. While this is a boon to defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others who build these systems and equipment, it creates headaches for those who work to keep U.S. weapons at the ready.
The latest $40 billion package for Ukraine easily passed the U.S. House on a 368-57-vote margin. Most pundits believe the bill will also pass the Senate on a somewhat closer vote, and maybe with some changes along the way.
With the ongoing battle for Ukraine time is of the essence. The courageous Ukrainian military needs these weapons and supplies quickly to continue to fend off and push back the superior numbers of Russian forces.
It would behoove our Senate to embrace its role as a ‘cooling saucer’ and slow things down just a bit to make sure our country is judicious in providing the necessary aid. Rushing in with more help, but without a good plan moving forward could lead to disaster. There does not yet seem to be an end in sight to the war in Ukraine, so how many more times will our country be expected to provide expensive assistance?
Are we in for a penny or a pound? Are we in it to make sure Ukraine wins it? Or are we just helping them stave off eventual capitulation?
It is time for our nation to have this discussion. No other NATO nations are taking on the mantle of leadership in this conflict, should we? At the very least our leaders should have a goal and a plan for our role there, and we should all know what that goal and plan is. Only then can we, as a country, have the necessary discussion leading to consensus or rejection of their intentions. Otherwise our leaders will simply continue to react to events as they occur with no clear purpose.
Heaven knows this administration has led us into a multitude of problems at home: inflation, no economic growth, supply chain issues, disunity, and others. We do not need to become embroiled in more problems abroad.
But if we do not decisively deal with these problems we will find our adversaries taking advantage of our lack of focus to challenge us in other ways, as they perceive our weakness and fecklessness.
Problems need solutions, not just more rhetoric or blaming others. Our leaders need to take responsibility for the problems we face, and then develop some real solutions. If they are unable or unwilling, then they must step aside, or the voters must replace them.