Monday 22nd April 2024

    TradeBriefs Editorial

    From the Editor's Desk

    Does Technology Win Wars?

    It is ironic that, despite two decades of U.S.-led conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, it took just a few months of Russia’s war in Ukraine to finally draw attention to the depleted state of U.S. weapons stocks and the vulnerabilities in U.S. military supply chains. In recent months, American military leaders have expressed increasing frustration with the defense industrial base. As the U.S. Navy’s top officer, Admiral Mike Gilday, told Defense News in January, “Not only am I trying to fill magazines with weapons, but I’m trying to put U.S. production lines at their maximum level right now and to try and maintain that set of headlights in subsequent budgets so that we continue to produce those weapons.” The fighting in Ukraine, Gilday noted, has made it clear to military leaders “that the expenditure of those high-end weapons in conflict could be higher than we estimated.”

    Tellingly, just 100 days after the United States approved the transfer of Javelin and Stinger missiles to Ukraine, the missile manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin warned that it could take years to restore their stocks to pre-invasion levels. As the war drags on, the United States will face not only production line challenges but also difficulties gaining access to semiconductors and raw resources such as cobalt, neon, and lithium—elements that are essential to the manufacture of modern military technology and that China increasingly controls. The United States will have to develop the means to sustain its current weapons arsenals without sacrificing the resources it will need to research and develop next-generation platforms and munitions.

    Continued here

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