WASHINGTON — The production of critical Stinger and Javelin missile systems can be boosted, said the U.S. Army’s acquisitions and logistics head, allowing the United States to refill its arsenals after sending thousands of the systems to Eastern Europe in support of Ukraine.
“I think, really, those are two opportunities for the Army to rapidly move ahead, the way Congress wants us to replenish those stocks,” Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Doug Bush said during a March 25 Defense News event. “I think we can do it.”
Speeding or increasing production of the anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons, though, involves heaps of considerations: long-lead procurement, ancillary equipment, field needs and supply chain concerns. Those “exact issues,” Bush said, are being looked at “right now.”
“Congress provided a large amount of money in the omnibus to help us replenish our stocks, which we greatly appreciate,” he said. “And we are very close to being ready to inform Congress of our first moves in that direction.”
Passed by Congress earlier this month, the $1.5 trillion fiscal year 2022 government funding package included $728 billion for national security.
The legislation also sets aside $13.6 billion in aid to Ukraine, $3 billion of which is dedicated to supplying new weapons — such as Javelins — to the besieged government.
Russia’s massing of troops on the Ukrainian border, its invasion in late February and the ongoing war there have put Stingers and Javelins in the spotlight. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly sought the arms, which they say will give their country an upper hand on the battlefield.
“We need as much Stingers and anti-tank equipment as possible to protect our peaceful cities,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said in a video shared to Youtube Feb. 24. “In order to provide for reliable procurement of equipment, you may deliver it to Poland. From there, we will transport them across the land and quickly saturate our defense.”
The U.S. has sent Ukraine an array of weapons and other military equipment in recent weeks. An $800 million security package announced March 16 included 800 Stinger and 2,000 Javelin systems. The White House at the time said the gear would help the Ukrainian military “defend their country against Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion.”
Previous commitments included more than 600 Stingers and roughly 2,600 Javelins.
The Russia-Ukraine war has publicly proven the value of logistics, Bush told Defense News.
“The Army, of course, one thing we bring to the fight for the joint forces is logistics capability at massive scale,” the acquisitions chief said. “If you can look at anything, you could point at that and say that this is a reminder of just how important that is. We kind of take it for granted, because the Army is so good at it. But it doesn’t just happen.”
Colin Demarest is a reporter at C4ISRNET, where he covers networks and IT. Colin previously covered the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration — namely nuclear weapons development and Cold War cleanup — for a daily newspaper in South Carolina.
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