Based on the Navy’s current planned purchase of weapons and future warfighting contingency planning, the service could experience a shortfall across a host of munitions supplies starting around 2020, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert, said Tuesday.
The Navy’s current stockpiles of weapons are sufficient to meet existing requirements, but with budget reductions and other priorities like shipbuilding the service has had to accept some risk in later years, based on envisioned requirements, he said.
“It’s not a good picture,” Greenert said during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Marine Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Greenert said the shortfall will occur across a host of munitions systems, including long-and short-range air-to-air systems, surface-to-surface weapons, lightweight and heavyweight torpedoes, and air-to-ground weapons such as the Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW). The Navy zeroed out purchases for the Raytheon [RTN] JSOW C variant in its 2016 budget proposal.
“I’m not happy at all,” he said. “We don’t have enough munitions.”
The quantities of required munitions are determined by future war planning as well as the number that will be needed to replenish stocks to keep them at baseline requirement levels, Greenert said.
“You have to have enough to reload so you are not just standing around there saying: ‘We won but we’re empty’,” he said.
The fiscal 2016 budget request also delayed plans for buys of the Small Diameter Bomb II–also built by Raytheon–by one year. Instead of buying 1,590 through fiscal 2019, nearly half of those now won’t be budgeted until 2020, according to the spending document.
The Navy, however, did add 100 Tomahawk ship-launched cruise missiles to 2016 after zeroing it out in last year’s plans. Raytheon is also the prime contractor for Tomahawk.
Dunford said the Marine Corps is also facing shortfalls, notably in the area of anti-tank weapons like Javelin and TOW, as well as in artillery and rockets.
“It’s a decision that we have made as we try to balance risk,” Dunford told the committee.