A new study released this week by the D.C.-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has concluded that America's defense industry is "not adequately prepared" for "a protracted conventional war" with an enemy with a large military like China.
The findings were the result of a war games simulation which also relied heavily on observations and statistics being gained from the Ukraine-Russia war, and Washington's ongoing military support role to Kiev.
Information from the Ukraine war led CSIS to find that the US would rapidly deplete its munitions, particularly long-range, precision-guided ones - in merely less than a week of a hot war with China in the Taiwan Strait.
“The main problem is that the U.S. defense industrial base — including the munitions industrial base — is not currently equipped to support a protracted conventional war," the study emphasized.
"The bottom line is the defense industrial base, in my judgment, is not prepared for the security environment that now exists," CSIS’s Seth Jones concluded in a statement to The Wall Street Journal.
As the study's main author, Jones posed the question: "How do you effectively deter if you don’t have sufficient stockpiles of the kinds of munitions you’re going to need for a China-Taiwan Strait kind of scenario?" According to more from the study:
"As the war in Ukraine illustrates, a war between major powers is likely to be a protracted, industrial-style conflict that needs a robust defense industry able to produce enough munitions and other weapons systems for a protracted war if deterrence fails..."
"Given the lead time for industrial production, it would likely be too late for the defense industry to ramp up production if a war were to occur without major changes."
The report additionally pointed out that the slow-moving nature of US bureaucracy and oversight is also a fundamental aspect to the problem:
The study also said that the U.S.’s foreign military sales (FMS) take too long because they need to be initiated by the Department of State and then executed by the Department of Defense and ultimately approved by Congress. Foreign sales have benefits, including supporting the U.S. defense industry, strengthening ally relations and preventing the sale of adversary systems to other countries, the study said.
"The U.S. FMS system is not optimal for today’s competitive environment — an environment where such countries as China are building significant military capabilities and increasingly looking to sell them overseas," the study stated.
It does seem the Pentagon is taking note, and is aware that events in Ukraine have exposed US defense shortcomings, as the Biden administration chooses to get more and more involved. The New York Times reported Tuesday that the US plans to boost production of artillery ammunition by 500% over the next two years.
Whereas the US Army previously produced 14,400 155mm shells a month, the new plans could see those numbers hit over 90,000 each month.