The U.S. and its NATO allies can’t make munitions fast enough, and the issue isn’t going to be fixed anytime soon.
In Iowa, employees at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant manufacture 155-millimeter howitzers shells, but not fast enough to meet demand.
This is because of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The U.S. has sent more than one million artillery rounds to Ukraine. Before the war started, the U.S. was producing about 13,000 rounds a month.
According to a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies:
“The Ukrainians have been burning through in one month what the United States produces in an entire year.”
This is in addition to the Soviet munitions that Ukraine has already gone through.
Recently, the U.S. supplied cluster munitions to Ukraine after President Biden said he made the “difficult decision” to do so.
Cluster munitions are a controversial weapon with over 100 countries banning them.
The reason they are banned is because of the risk cluster munitions pose to civilians.
The U.S. has defended the decision to send the munitions to Ukraine, arguing cluster munitions could break through Russian defenses and change the war.
And U.S. officials have claimed they have received assurances from Ukraine that the munitions won’t be used in civilian areas.
One U.S. official said, “The Russians have employed these weapons against civilians in civilian communities, which is a significant difference from what the Ukrainians intend to do.”
What are cluster munitions?:
Cluster munitions are artillery shells, bombs, or rockets that break open and scatter smaller bombs or submunitions over a wider area.
The delivery shell usually breaks apart in the air and releases smaller bombs that feature stabilizing fins.
The smaller munitions can be designed to explode on impact or in the air. They can also contain incendiary devices.
The idea is to rain hot steel onto the enemy, which makes them effective against entrenched troops.
Cluster munitions can be dangerous to those who use them:
Cluster munitions present risks even after they are initially used.
For example, if Ukraine uses cluster bombs to push back Russian forces, then Ukrainian troops will be moving into the same area.
If there are unexploded cluster bombs in the area, they could be set off by advancing Ukrainian forces.
Ukrainian troops could be walking into a minefield.
Another issue with cluster munitions is that they have a high failure rate when it comes to munitions.
For instance, the U.S. government says the failure rate for cluster munitions is 2.35%, but some military experts report that failures are closer to 10%.
Cluster munitions are dangerous not only for soldiers but for civilians as well. The submunitions left behind can be small and go undetected for a long time.
For instance, there are still about 40 square miles in France where there are hundreds of bombs and artillery shells left unexploded from World War I.
The dangers of cluster bombs are so great that over 100 nations signed the Convention of Cluster Munitions, a treaty that outlaws these munitions.
Many NATO countries are part of the treaty, but the U.S. is not.
As of today, the war in Ukraine is still up for grabs, but its full impact has yet to be felt across the globe.
Ukraine was a huge exporter of wheat, corn, and sunflower oil to the world. But with the war dragging on, exports have dried up.
This decline in available goods has added to the food inflation that’s been running rampant the last two years.
And with most Americans keeping less than three days of food in their homes, a food crisis lasting just a few weeks, or a couple months could create havoc in the U.S.