Coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, John Kirby, said the Biden administration is working with the defense industry to ramp up the production of munitions amid growing concerns that the nation’s weapon supply is dwindling.
“We’re working very closely with the defense industry to try to ramp up production, particularly for artillery shells,” said Kirby during an interview Sunday.
“You saw that we gave some cluster munitions to Ukraine as a bridging solution here while we ramp up production. We’re having very, very strong conversations with the defense industry, and we believe that we’ll be able to get there,” said Kirby.
Kirby responded to a recent segment reporting that a Center for Strategic and International Studies report found that replacing industries for ammunition, including 155 mm shells, could take as long as between four and seven years. According to the report, replacing Stingers could take up to 18 years and up to eight years.
Kirby said replacing the munitions while tensions rise in Taiwan and the war in Ukraine continues is not a matter of funding.
“The defense industry obviously wants to make sure that if they’re going to increase production, that that production rate is going to stay elevated for a period of time. Because that means hiring more workers, it means retooling and adding capacity in their factories and manufacturing capabilities. So, we understand that, and that’s the central thesis here in the discussions we’re having with them, is to get them to increase production and let them know that we’re serious about doing that for some time,” said Kirby.
Kirby’s comments follow Biden’s that the U.S. is low on ammo
Kirby’s comments follow President Biden’s comments on television that the United States is low on 155 mm artillery rounds.
“This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunitions, and we’re low on it,” said Biden last Sunday. “And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to — not permanently — but to allow for this transition period while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians.”
President Biden made the remarks while defending the move by his administration this summer to send cluster munitions to Ukraine as a “transition period” until more munitions are produced.
Conservatives slammed the president on social media after the comment. In contrast, others said facetiously that they “love when the president of America goes on CNN to tell everyone we’re low on ammo.”