The West is not ready to battle China in a war. Reports are confirming that think tanks in the United States have investigated the ammunition shortages caused by the attempt to arm Ukraine and found them to be dire.
Ammunition stockpiles in the West have been found wanting, the Financial Times reported. The military-industrial complex of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies is not able to help, either. The think tank, the Center for New American Security (CNAS), said the existing missile inventory is “too small to blunt an initial invasion, let alone prevail in a protracted conflict against China.” To deter and defeat Beijing, the Pentagon “needs large stockpiles of stand-off missiles, maritime strike weapons, and layered air and missile defenses,” CNAS concluded.
Another think tank called the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) wargame of a conflict with China over Taiwan showed that the U.S. had only about 450 long-range anti-ship missiles, enough for about a week.
According to a report by the Financial Times, the US Department of Defense has asked for $1.1 billion in the 2024 fiscal year to buy 118 long-range anti-ship missiles (LRASM), compared to half that amount for 83 missiles the year before. The Pentagon also wants $30 billion for ammunition, a 23% increase over 2023 levels, and $315 billion for new weapons.
The war in Ukraine “reminds us about the risks of being slow” to produce weaponry, says Cynthia Cook, director of the Defense-Industrial Initiatives Group at US think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies. CSIS calculated in its Taiwan war games this year that the US would use its entire stock of long-range anti-ship missiles — approximately 450 — within a week of conflict. LRASMs would be valuable for striking “Chinese naval forces and directly [reducing] Chinese invasion capabilities”, it says. –Financial Times
Western nations supplying weapons to Ukraine are struggling to replenish their depleted weapons stockpiles, leaving experts concerned about the West’s preparedness for a potential conflict — for instance, with China over Taiwan. “The defense industry is so consolidated that it can’t very quickly expand to support a greater demand,” warns Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defense program at the Center for a New American Security, a think-tank. “So we’re slow and behind and don’t have enough of anything” in munitions.