WSJ | August 29, 2022
The war in Ukraine has depleted American stocks of some types of ammunition and the Pentagon has been slow to replenish its arsenal, sparking concerns among U.S. officials that American military readiness could be jeopardized by the shortage.
The U.S. has during the past six months supplied Ukraine with 16 U.S. rocket launchers, known as Himars, thousands of guns, drones, missiles and other equipment. Much of that, including ammunition, has come directly from U.S. inventory, depleting stockpiles intended for unexpected threats, defense officials say.
One of the most lethal weapons the Pentagon has sent are howitzers that fire high-explosive 155mm ammunition weighing about 100 pounds each and able to accurately hit targets dozens of miles away. As of Aug. 24, the U.S. military said it had provided Ukraine with up to 806,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition. The U.S. military has declined to say how many rounds it had at the start of the year.
In recent weeks, the level of 155mm combat rounds in U.S. military storage have become “uncomfortably low,” one defense official said. The levels aren’t yet critical because the U.S. isn’t engaged in any major military conflict, the official added. “It is not at the level we would like to go into combat,” the defense official said.