Massive air wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan are just the beginning of the story for the United States military, with regular strikes in places like Somalia and Yemen, and constant risks of the US launching a massive war on North Korea at any moment. That’s a lot of bombs being dropped, and mostly in open-ended conflicts.
A year ago, the Pentagon was warning that it was forced to raid its world-wide stockpiles of bombs because they were using so many. Now,, they’re running through those too, and are using smart-bombs faster than they can buy them from massive US arms makers.
That’s a big problem for the Pentagon, because as already the biggest consumer of bombs on the planet by far, there isn’t exactly a ton of leftover capacity for them to draw on. That makes the US air wars literally unsustainable at current levels, because there just aren’t enough bombs on the planet to supply them all.
Pacific Commander Admiral Harry Harris told Congress that the bombs are absolutely critical, citing the wars in the Middle East, and also for use “against North Korea.” While this is probably to mean more funding for bombs,, it’s not at all clear that even those huge US arms makers can produce all the bombs that the Pentagon intends to use, let alone enough to keep up the pace at which it’s already using.