Pentagon: Don’t ‘Necessarily Agree’ Arming Ukraine Keeps Us from Meeting Future Needs, But ‘It Can Affect’ Ability to Arm Taiwan

During an interview Wednesday that aired on Friday’s broadcast of “PBS NewsHour,” Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisitions and Sustainability William LaPlante said he doesn’t “necessarily agree” that we’re reducing weapons stocks to arm Ukraine, we’re not doing enough on the production side to meet future needs and that Arming Ukraine “could affect” our ability to arm Taiwan, “but there is probably less overlap than people think.”

PBS NewsHour’s Foreign Affairs and Defense correspondent Nick Schifrin asked, “I heard Seth Jones in the package there saying that as inventories are drawn down in the US, product lines aren’t expanding enough to meet future demands. Do you agree?”

LaPlante responded, “I think that’s a personal comment. I actually don’t necessarily agree. I think we’re going around across the board and putting billions of dollars investing, across, into these companies. And it’s going to ramp up quickly. And so, really, what’s at stake here is a matter of Time. It’s, we’re going to go up — we’re going up, and we’re up now. The question is — arguably, it’s racing against time. And that’s where we are.”

Schifrin also asked, “And finally, how do you prioritize orders, especially going forward? I have argued that the weapons that go to Ukraine do not affect some of the orders for weapons, for example, that are made by Taiwan. But the reality is that the United States is behind on some of the orders that are Promised by Taiwan. So, what is that priority? And does one theater influence the other?”

LaPlante replied, “It could influence. But there’s probably less overlap than people think. I’ll give you the example of Taiwan. There’s a backlog in the business for Taiwan. It happens to be on items like the F-16 and F-16 production. That’s a lot of it, so far, Although there [have] Discussions were, was not a player in … Ukraine. Where I will say something that we all have to watch is the core suppliers, the suppliers of solid rocket motors, batteries, and energy. These are common across the board. And that’s where we focused as well.”

He follows Ian Hanchett on Twitter @employee

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