(NewsNation) — In another six months, the military may need to choose between arming itself or helping Ukraine because of supply chain issues, U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro warned, according to Defense One.
Defense One, which first reported this story, wrote that Del Toro made the comment this week during a national defense conference in Virginia. For context, though, the comments stemmed more from an ongoing need for weapons rather than criticism against aid for Ukraine.
Companies have blamed weapons production delays on COVID-19-related supply chain issues and worker shortages, Defense One notes.
Del Toro has said defense companies “need to invest in their workforce, as well as the capital investments that they have to make within their own companies to get their production rates up.”
The commander of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. Daryl Caudle, said torpedoes and interceptor missiles have arrived late, showing how defense companies continue to be impacted by supply chain issues.
Filling orders for the Russia-Ukraine War has only spiked demand and made the problem worse.
A reporter, according to Defense One, asked Del Toro whether the Navy might get to the point where it has to make the decision between the U.S. and Ukraine.
“With regards to deliveries of weapons systems for the fight in Ukraine … Yeah, that’s always a concern for us. And we monitor that very, very closely, the Navy Secretary replied. “I wouldn’t say we’re quite there yet, but if the conflict does go on for another six months, for another year, it certainly continues to stress the supply chain in ways that are challenging.”
As the war in Europe continues, the U.S. State Department reported last week that America has already given around $25 billion in security assistance to Ukraine.
That includes over 1,600 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and thousands of anti-aircraft rockets. Additionally, about 100 Ukrainian troops will head to Oklahoma’s Fort Sill as soon as next week to begin training on the Patriot missile defense system.
Most of those weapons come from the Army’s stockpiles, and the funding for the Ukraine aid remains separate from the defense budget.
Back in October, President Joe Biden used the Defense Production Act to boost the production of weapons needed for national defense.