Artillery, anti-armor weapons, radar, small arms and thousands upon thousands of rounds of ammunition continue to flow quickly into Ukraine as the international community continues to intensify its support.
Given the sheer volume of supplies and equipment, some of which from prepositioned stocks, some might wonder if US military preparedness is taking on any kind of deficit. The answer, according to the Pentagon leadership, is a clear and decisive no.
While Lockheed and Raytheon are stepping up Javelin production to meet growing demand, the Pentagon leadership is clear that the US military is keeping a very close eye on its inventory and needed levels of readiness.
“The secretary's got us looking at those very, very carefully to make sure that we don't drop below levels that become moderate, significant, high-risk, and we're doing that,” Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters following the international Ukraine summit.
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Certainly when it comes to great power war, the readiness levels of greatest significance are likely to be in areas other than what is needed in Ukraine. Certainly the Army needs to maintain its ready arsenal of armored vehicles and ground war weapons, particularly in areas such as NATO’s Eastern Flank, yet the most crucial areas of war readiness for the US likely pertain to Naval presence and Air Force stand-by readiness.
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Should Carrier strike groups remain available and forward positioned, and sufficient quantities of F-35s operate in high-risk areas, the basic infrastructure of US deterrence is likely very much in tact. Of course arguably the most crucial element of deterrence may be the US nuclear triad as many see this as the ultimate deterrent.
The Pentagon has been clear that the US level of nuclear weapons readiness is extremely high. Also, while Ukraine is mostly receiving ground weapons, apart from some Unmanned Surface Vessels for the Black Sea coastline, the US Army is certainly maintaining a watchful eye upon its own state of land war readiness. Milley said despite the volumes of weapons and war supplies which continue to flow into Ukraine, there is no cause for any concern when it comes to the US Army ground-war readiness.
“Right now the risk to ourselves is relatively low. It's not something that we're going to get overly excited about. We have a category called critical munitions and preferred munitions, we're solid in all of those. And Javelins is not in that category. So your small arms, your anti-tank weapons, some of your MANPADS, Javelins, et cetera as opposed to say, for example, other, you know, smart munitions and PGMs, et cetera. So we're okay, we're doing okay, and our risk is being managed appropriately,”’ Milley said.
Kris Osborn is the President of Warrior Maven - Center for Military Modernization and the Defense Editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.