July 19, 2023

Munitions put into focus as stockpiles dwindle

Source: Financial Times

Journalist: Steff Chávez

“The defence industry is so consolidated that it can’t very quickly expand to support a greater demand,” warns Stacie Pettyjohn, director of the defence programme at the Center for a New American Security, a think-tank. “So we’re slow and behind and don’t have enough of anything” in munitions.


The Pentagon tends to prioritise big, expensive items such as ships, aircraft and vehicles, “leaving missiles and munitions with inadequate funding”, according to a recent CNAS report.

Michael O’Hanlon, director of foreign policy research at the Brookings Institution think-tank, says Washington is facing the “conundrum” of how to be “best prepared for a war that comes out of nowhere, that you need to fight — and fight well — on day one”.

The CNAS report says existing inventory is “too small to blunt an initial invasion, let alone prevail in a protracted conflict against China”, adding: “To deter and — if deterrence fails — defeat China, the [Pentagon] needs large stockpiles of stand-off missiles, maritime strike weapons, and layered air and missile defences.” Buying more long- and medium-range missiles is essential.

Read the full story and more from Financial Times.


  • Stacie Pettyjohn

    Senior Fellow and Director, Defense Program

    Stacie Pettyjohn is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her areas of expertise include defense strategy, post...

  • Hannah Dennis

    Research Associate, Defense Program

    Hannah Dennis is a Research Associate for the Defense Program at CNAS where she also supports the CNAS Gaming Lab. Her research focuses on the future of warfare, defense acqui...