Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said Wednesday that it might become “challenging” for the US military to continue arming itself as it continues to pour weapons into Ukraine unless the arms industry can significantly boost production.
The majority of the weapons being sent to Ukraine are used on land and come from US Army stockpiles, although the Pentagon did just announce it’s sending Ship-based Sea Sparrow missiles. But Del Toro said the Navy was still concerned about if the arms industry could meet its demands.
Del Toro was responding to a journalist who asked if the Navy was at the point where it had to choose between arming itself or Ukraine. “Yeah, that’s always a concern for us. And we monitor that very, very closely. I wouldn’t say we’re quite there yet, but if the conflict does go on for another six months, for another year, it certainly continues to stress the supply chain in ways that are challenging,” he said.
The US has already pledged over $20 billion in just military equipment alone to Ukraine since Russia invaded and is sending an enormous amount of ammunition to the country. The policy is a boon for the arms industry, and extraordinary measures are being taken to boost production, including granting the Pentagon wartime purchasing powers.
Del Toro mentioned some of the steps that were being taken to boost production that are being coordinated by Kathleen Hicks, the deputy secretary of defense. The purchasing powers granted to the Pentagon by the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act allow non-competitive, multi-year contracts for certain arms, most of which are made by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, the former employer of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.