INDEPENDENT NEWS

US Congressional Committee Warns of Running Out of Bombs

Published: Wed 11 Oct 2017 11:42 AM
As U.S. Pounds Seven Nations, Congressional Committee Warns of Running Out of Bombs
By David Swanaon
LOSING TIME
“Every day we live under a continuing resolution is a day we do damage to our military.” – Mac Thornberry, Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF BOMBS
THE PROBLEM:
General Dunford said it best this spring, “Key precision guided munitions shortfalls are exacerbated by ongoing operations and may impact potential contingency response. Additionally, our current global inventories are insufficient for theater missile defense (TMD), standoff, and air-to-air munitions needs.” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson added, “when it comes to munitions, we are stretched. As she explained, the CR makes things much worse, “[it] impacts our ability to work with industry and give them certainty on the amount that we’re going to buy and ramping that up where we can.”
WHAT WE ARE DOING TODAY:
Planned ramp-ups for Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), small diameter bombs (SDBs), and Hellfire “Romeo” variants are being delayed by a near-term CR, which prohibits entering new contracts for increased quantities. These munitions are being used at high rates in current operations and will be critical in future operations. It takes up to 24 months to deliver sophisticated munitions once a contract is issued. The CR only adds 3 months of lost time to that total.
WHAT WE COULD BE DOING:
The House has authorized an increase of nearly 15,000 munitions over last year’s levels and provides an additional $2 billion to cover unfunded requirements for munitions.
I have a novel suggestion for Chairman Thornberry. When there’s not enough coal to safely burn to warm your house, you can close a room and not heat it. Maybe start with the war games room, then the TV room, then that special room reserved for if Trump ever visits, and so on.
When there are not enough bombs to bomb everybody, you can pick a country to stop bombing. Maybe start with Yemen, then Syria, and after that Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, plus Somalia and Libya, and all the other parts of the world with U.S. drones and planes are carrying bombs overhead. Maybe even run the practice bombing missions in Korea without bombs.
I know applying conservation to bombing sounds scandalous. But here’s my theory. When planes were kept out of U.S. skies after 9/11, the skies cleared up. The absence of the pollution brought us something we hadn’t known we were missing. I’m guessing that keeping armedplanes out of skies would be even more revelatory.
Again, just start with one nation. See if that nation is actually better off or if it’s really worse off for the reduction in bombing. Be empirical about this. Ask some Yemeni families whether they resent not having been bombed before the bombing ended. Record their sentiments accurately. Draw a conclusion. Proceed from there.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
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