Military Capabilities

Update: USN, USMC project future munitions shortages

12 March 2015
The JSOW-C1 is shown here demonstrating an anti-shipping capability during trials. Source: US Navy

The US Navy (USN) and US Marine Corps (USMC) may face future munitions shortfalls in the next five years, service leaders told Congress on 10 March.

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, said the USN has ample supplies for current operations, but is projected to "have insufficient munitions in 2020" to meet requirements in the Defense Strategic Guidance.

Shortfalls could occur for long- and short-range air-to-air missiles, surface-to-surface cruise missiles, air-to-ground missiles such as the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), and for lightweight and heavyweight torpedoes, Adm Greenert told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Similarly, USMC commandant general Joseph Dunford said the marines "have adequate ammunition for today [but] we've taken risk in the ammunition that would be needed for a major contingency, as we've dealt with the budget challenges".

Gen Dunford said future shortages are projected for the Javelin and Tube-launched Optically-tracked Wire-guided (TOW) anti-tank missile systems, as well as munitions for the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launcher.

Still, Gen Dunford noted that forward-deployed or next-to-deploy units would be properly outfitted and rather risk would be assumed among units at home stations, meaning they would be less prepared for "a major contingency".

Shortfalls are measured against the numbers that combatant commanders consider necessary to win a military campaign and then reload so they are not caught unarmed.

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