Pentagon faces challenges supporting Ukraine and Israel in separate wars

White House

Concern is growing within the Pentagon over the potential need to stretch its increasingly scarce ammunition stockpiles to support Ukraine and Israel in two separate wars, CNN reported on Oct. 11,citing multiple U.S. defense officials.

At the moment Ukraine and Israel require different weapons: Ukraine wants massive amounts of artillery ammunition while Israel has requested precision guided aerial munitions and Iron Dome interceptors. But if Israel launches a ground incursion into Gaza, the Israeli military will create a new and entirely unexpected demand for 155mm artillery ammunition and other weapons at a time when the U.S. and its allies have been stretched thin from more than 18 months of fighting in Ukraine.

Israel has its own capable industrial base and produces many of its own advanced weapons, but a prolonged ground campaign could drain the country’s stockpiles, officials said. The Pentagon’s Joint Staff and Transportation Command have been working around the clock since Hamas launched its war on Israel to identify extra stores of munitions around the world and how to move them to Israel quickly, officials said.

Read also: Zelenskyy wants to visit Israel — report

The Pentagon is contacting U.S. arms manufacturers to speed up existing Israeli orders for military equipment that may have been considered less urgent just days ago, a senior defense official said on Oct. 9.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended the ability of the U.S. to support both Ukraine and Israel, as the U.S. announced another $200 million in security assistance for Kyiv, including artillery ammunition.

The United States. moved hundreds of thousands of munitions out of its reserves in Israel earlier this year as the U.S. and its allies were searching the world for ammunition to provide to Ukraine, prompting concerns among Defense Department officials and crystallizing the challenges the country faces as it grapples with supporting two wars abroad. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to carry out a “prolonged” campaign against Gaza, one that could put extant U.S. stockpiles under more pressure than they already face.

Defense officials are also anxious about the dysfunction in Congress and whether lawmakers will approve additional funding for U.S. support to Israel and Ukraine.

The White House plans to include assistance for Ukraine and Taiwan in its request for congressional approval of funding for Israel, NBC News reported on Oct. 11, citing White House and Capitol Hill sources.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin assured that U.S. support for Ukraine will continue this year and beyond, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said on Oct. 11.

The United States will deliver another security assistance package to Ukraine, worth $200million which includes HIMARS rocket artillery munitions, 155mm and 105mm artillery shells, precision-guided aerial munitions, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Oct. 11.

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