On Tuesday, President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance at Lockheed Martin’s Javelin missile plant, startling assembly line workers by praising their contributions to manufacturing antitank weapons. These weapons, according to Biden, have proven to be essential for Ukrainian forces to fight back against Putin’s invasion.
Biden recently asked Congress to approve an additional $33B in funding, which will enable the United States to provide aid at the front lines of the conflict.
In his remarks to assembly line workers, Biden declared, “you’re allowing the Ukrainians to defend themselves,” in reference to the antitank weaponry constructed at the plant.
“Quite frankly, they’re making fools of the Russian military in many instances,” Biden chortled, claiming that various parents across Ukraine are naming their children “Javelina” or “Javelin” in honor of the Lockheed Martin military hardware.
“Every American taxpayer and every worker in this facility is directly contributing to the case for freedom,” Biden boomed.
Biden’s visit raised several eyebrows, as the visit seemed to imply that the conflict in Eastern Europe may continue far longer than analysts’ initial projections. Given a looming recession and other fears, critics question whether it is possible to sustain sending billions in armaments to Ukraine.
Moreover, should conflict emerge with other powers hostile to the United States, in the event that China invades Taiwan, it is questionable whether or not American weapons should be shipped in vast quantities to Eastern Europe, especially if the United States is underprepared for its own conflicts as a result.
According to Mark Cancian, who serves as a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies international security program, the nation has provided a staggering 7,000 Javelins to Ukraine, which represents one-third of the nation’s entire stockpile.
5,500 of these Javelins have been sent since February 24, illustrating the degree to which the United Nations has eliminated its own protective arsenal.
In addition to sending one-third of its Javelin stockpile to Ukraine, the United States has also reportedly sent one-quarter of its shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to Eastern Europe. Troublingly, the CEO of Raytheon Technologies, Greg Hayes, informed investors that the company would not be able to produce additional missiles until next year, in large part due to major shortages of parts from ongoing supply chain crises.
Curiously, the supply chain crisis in China has suddenly worsened in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Since the Biden administration has sent significant quantities of weapons to Ukraine, the Javelins and the Stingers have promptly become the weaponry wherein the Defense Department is “seeing the most significant inventory issues,” according to retired Marine Colonel Cancian.
However, John Kirby, who serves as the press secretary for the Pentagon, has declared that the United States should still be “ready” for battle in spite of giving away up to one-third of its supply of Javelins and one-fourth of its supply of Stinger missiles, with no promise of new production starting until economic woes ebb.
“It’s not about counting … Javelins and being able to say that when you reach a certain level then all your readiness is gone,” Kirby claimed, adding that the Javelin is part of an ostensible “conglomerate” the Biden administration has ready.
“A Javelin isn’t the only capability you have against armor,” Kirby insisted, without specifying a viable alternative.