Somebody wasn’t thinking ahead:
The U.S. Navyâ€™s current reliance on the Tomahawk, known as â€œthe worldâ€™s most advanced cruise missile,â€ comes just months after the Obama administration attempted to significantly cut funding for the weapon and then eliminate it completely it in 2016, a move that drew heavy criticism from defense experts and lawmakers.
With the military relying on the weapons in its strikes against ISIL targets in Syria, defense leaders have begun to warn that the Pentagon could quickly run through its Tomahawk stockpiles, a problem exacerbated by defense budget cuts known as sequestration, defense sources say.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is now expressing concern that the Pentagon has â€œinsufficient weapons inventoriesâ€ and that the Obama administrationâ€™s proposed termination of the Tomahawk missile program in fiscal year 2016 would worsen â€œa deficient inventory problem,â€ according to defense insiders and sources close to the committee.
Oopsie. Â Obama wants to send bombs and missiles rather than troops into a war zone and there’s a good chance we could run out of missiles. Â Didn’t anybody think of that? Â Of course not.
The U.S. Navy deployed 47 Tomahawks last week during its strikes in Syria, which amounts to 47 percent of its planned purchases of the weapon in 2015, according to the American Thinker. There are currently enough Tomahawks left â€œfor roughly 85 days of a campaign, at the current rate of use,â€ the report states.
We were only going to buy 100 FOR THE YEAR????? Â It’s not like this is asset level equipment. Â The darn things blow up on contact. Â We can’t superglue them back together again and use them twice. Â Why stint on this particular weapon?
With a stockpile of about 4,000 Tomahawksâ€”and the administration still contending that cuts are needed despite its reliance on the missileâ€”defense insiders warn that the inventory could quickly run low as the military campaign against ISIL continues in Syria and Iraq.
â€œYou could see that if youâ€™re starting to really ramp up [use] and be more aggressive, it wouldnâ€™t take you too long to expend a significant portion of that [inventory],â€ one defense insider told theWashington Free Beacon. â€œIf youâ€™re firing 600 to 800 during a campaign â€¦ it starts to chip away at it pretty fast.â€
Chip away? Â We’d be bleeding as if from an artery. Â 4,000 is not very many if we are going to conduct any sort of sustained campaign.
The low stockpile of Tomahawks hasÂ highlighted how deepening defense cuts are impacting on-the-ground realities, according to Rep. Howard â€œBuckâ€ McKeon (R., Calif.), HASCâ€™s chairman.
â€œAs we saw in this weekâ€™s airstrikes against ISIL, Tomahawk missiles are among the most valuable and precise tools in our military arsenal,â€ McKeon said in a statement provided to the Free Beacon. â€œThey provide unmanned, all-weather, deep-strike attack capability against both fixed and mobile targets which makes them particularly useful against terrorist groups like ISIL that transcend nations and borders.â€
They sound like a wonder weapon…so, of course, Obama and Company want them out of the arsenal. Â Not just out of the arsenal, but not even in production with no comparable replacement close to testing let alone deployment. Â In addition, according to the article quoted above, once the production line is shut down it is difficult to get it restarted.
â€œWithout a suitable replacement it would be unwise to shut off that production line,â€ said the defense source. â€œItâ€™s not like flipping a switch to reactivate suppliers who have been turned off.â€
MackenzieÂ Eaglen, a former Defense Department official, explained that while the stockpile should be adequate into the near future, replenishments will be needed during the next year.
â€œGiven the fact that most military officials are predicting a years-long campaign against ISIL, there is little doubt that some replenishment will be required over the next 12 months,â€ said Eaglen, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). â€œIf and when that happens, it will call into question the Navy plan to shut down this production line.â€
The Washington Free Beacon piece quoted describes lawmakers being “concerned” about the low levels of Tomahawks in the arsenal and working to restore defense cuts made due to sequestration. Â Such defense cuts are leaving us vulnerable in a world hell bent on destroying us. Â At least it sounds like Congress is not happy about that.