Weapons Industry Unprepared for China Clash


An image of the Taiwanese flag | Image by Kaufdex/Pixabay

As tensions with China rise and the fight over Taiwan gets worse, the U.S. defense industrial base is better suited for “peacetime” than for a long war with China.

“The U.S. defense industrial base is not adequately prepared for the competitive security environment that now exists,” think tank authors from the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) wrote.

In a major regional conflict, like a war with China in the Taiwan Strait, the U.S. would probably use more weapons than the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has on hand. This would leave the DoD with “empty bins,” according to the report.

Seth Jones, who is the senior vice president of CSIS, wrote the report based on CSIS war games, interviews with dozens of national security officials, public data, and other CSIS analyses, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

“The bottom line is the defense industrial base, in my judgment, is not prepared for the security environment that now exists,” Jones said to The Wall Street Journal.

Some U.S. government estimates say that China is getting high-tech weapons systems and equipment five to six times faster than the U.S., according to the report.

This makes these problems even more worrying. Also, some U.S. programs and rules, like the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), are out of date for a wartime setting and need to be changed to get weapons systems to key allies and partners more quickly, the report reads.

Growing strategic competition from countries like China and Russia, which are trying to export weapons systems and technology, could make the U.S. less competitive, according to CSIS.

U.S. aid to Ukraine has led to a shortage of weapons like Javelin anti-tank missile systems, 155mm howitzers, and Stinger surface-to-air missiles. As of August 2022, the number of javelins sent to Ukraine was equal to seven years’ worth of production. Furthermore, CSIS reported that the 2022 rates and the number of stingers sent to Ukraine are about equal to 20 years’ worth of production.

CSIS says that because of U.S. military support, the Ukrainians have been able to stop Russian aggression. This shows that if deterrence fails, a conflict between major powers is likely to be long and complicated. The U.S. has been slow to get more weapons, and the CSIS report says that it will likely take years for the defense industrial base to make and ship back important weapons systems that have been used up.

The report also points out how old contracting procedures and bureaucracy make deterrence harder and suggests streamlining them for wartime, according to CSIS.

CSIS is a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, DC, that focuses on national security, according to the think tank. It claims that it does not take a stand on U.S. policy.

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1 month ago

Despite the Debbie downer news the US has been and continues to be resilient. This country has always rolled up their sleeves set aside differences and worked together when needed.

1 month ago

Under both Clinton and Obama, U.S. stocks of weapons were depleted in combat in various areas of the world (Bosnia, Serbia, etc) and not replaced. Always seems to happen when a Democrat is in the White House, almost as if they’re preparing the country to be beaten by another global power …….

Bill Waller
Bill Waller
Reply to  Michael
1 month ago

Oh, and did Trump rebuild those stocks? Doubtful.