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Pentagon lists priorities to arm Ukraine, replenish stockpile

Members of Ukraine's 72nd Brigade Anti-air unit stand on the back of a ZU-23 anti-aircraft autocannon while using binoculars to search for incoming Russian drones at a frontline position on Feb. 23, 2024, near Marinka, Ukraine. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images/TNS)

The Biden administration has underscored to lawmakers its $6.5 billion in priorities to replenish U.S. arms stockpiles, replacing weapons already sent to Ukraine and allowing for more to be provided, according to a Defense Department document sent to Capitol Hill.

The replenishment, which involves everything from 155mm artillery shells and air-launched anti-radar missiles to night-vision headgear, has become stymied as legislation that would provide assistance to Ukraine in its struggle against Russia’s invasion remains entangled in Congress.

House Speaker Mike Johnson has refused to act on a $95 billion package passed by the Senate that includes aid for Ukraine, Taiwan and Israel in its war against Hamas without tying it to a Republican version of new legislation on U.S. immigration policy.

The document sent to Congress, dated Feb. 24 and entitled “Priority Replenishment Items Based on the Existing Backlog” was obtained by Bloomberg News. Underscoring the potential economic benefits in the home states and districts of many lawmakers, it forms part of the Pentagon’s persuasion campaign for the House to approve the package, which would provide $60 billion in military aid for Ukraine.

The Pentagon has about $10 billion in immediate replenishment needs, officials have said.

In an effort to buttress the Pentagon’s case, General Charles Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, plans a visit Thursday to to Lockheed Martin Corp.’s 2,427-acre facility in Camden, Arkansas, where many missiles are assembled. He will also tour the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma.

Brown told reporters Wednesday that “we’ll continue to engage” with lawmakers on the funding package, saying that the funds to replenish stockpiles are “not only important to Ukraine but also to us.”

No shells are manufactured at McAlester, but it receives 155mm ammunition and provides centralized management until the supplies are ready to be shipped to Ukraine. Plant personnel also have accelerated the repair of Stinger and Hawk anti-aircraft missiles sent to Ukraine. And they have refurbished 155mm rounds sent from South Korea for use in Ukraine.

This week, the White House announced a package of $300 million in military assistance to Ukraine, which has been rationing ammunition on the battlefield.

Brown, an Air Force fighter pilot, said he looked forward on his trip Thursday to getting “up close and personal” with Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, or GMLRS, a widely used Lockheed missile with a range up to 43 miles (69 kilometers) that’s been deployed by Ukraine to hit Russian targets.

According to the chart sent to Congress, the Defense Department’s replenishment proposals include:

•$2.1 billion for 155mm shell components and assembly from plants in Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas and California;

•$915 million to buy additional HARM anti-radar missile components produced in California, Minnesota, and West Virginia;

•$797 million Patriot interceptor components from facilities in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida and West Virginia;

•$549 million for additional GMLRS weapon components, produced or assembled in Arkansas, California, West Virginia, Ohio, and Florida;

•$348 million for TOW anti-armor missiles and components made in California, Arizona and Utah;

•$308 million for night vision devices manufactured in New Hampshire and Virginia.


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