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U.S. Army seeks larger munitions stockpile, citing 'readiness crisis'

U.S. Army leaders implored lawmakers to fund more munitions procurements, citing a shortage of spares they consider "a readiness crisis."

By Ryan Maass
U.S. Army leadership is asking lawmakers to fund procurements for more munitions such as Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles. Pictured, a PAC-3 missile is fired from a MEADS launcher. U.S. Army photo by John Hamilton
U.S. Army leadership is asking lawmakers to fund procurements for more munitions such as Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles. Pictured, a PAC-3 missile is fired from a MEADS launcher. U.S. Army photo by John Hamilton

March 10 (UPI) -- U.S. Army leaders implored lawmakers to fund more munitions procurements, citing a shortage of spares, in a statement to a House Armed Services subcommittee.

The meeting was overseen by House Armed Services Subcommittee On Readiness Chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who echoed Army concerns over an alleged stockpile shortage.

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"Over the past several weeks, both our full committee and this subcommittee have received briefings and hearings from leading national security experts on the current threat assessment," Wilson said during his opening remarks. "After listening to these sobering assessments, there's no question in my mind our services are indeed in a readiness crisis."

The meeting included testimonies from Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, Lt. Gen. Gwendolyn Bingham and Lt. Gen. Aundre F. Piggee. According to Piggee, the Army has enough munitions to sustain normal requirements, but runs the risk of falling short in the event or a surge or additional contingency operations.

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"Under funding caps in current law, the Army will be forced to draw down end strength and underinvest in readiness," he said.

Piggee went on to argue that while the branch's readiness has diminished, its enemies have become more dangerous.

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"Rival nations have aggressively updated their armed forces, thus creating capability gaps that impose a significant threat to U.S. forces and contingency missions," he added.

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Defense News reports the munitions in question include Hellfire missiles, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, and Excalibur munitions fired from Howitzers. The branch sent unfunded requirements for fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2018 to Congress in December with an additional request to improve short-range air defense capabilities.

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