The Army plans to buy nearly 150,000 artillery shells next fiscal year as soldiers train to fight conventional wars again.
The Army’s proposed fiscal 2019 budget calls for purchasing an eye-popping 148,297 155mm shells, including 1,189 GPS-guided Excalibur rounds designed for use in danger-close situations, officials told reporters on Tuesday. The order reflects a 825% increase from the 16,573 155mm shells the Army planned on purchasing this fiscal year.
“We are training to fight a decisive-action conflict,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Chamberlain, the Army’s budget director.
Artillery rounds and other munitions expire after a certain period of time and must be regularly replaced, said Jack Daniels, Deputy Assistant Army Secretary for Plans, Programs and Resources. Soldiers also use munitions during training, he said.
“Most of the units in theater for the last 15 years have been operating in a COIN [counterinsurgency] environment — not a lot of call for heavy munitions,” Daniels told reporters at a media roundtable.
As Army units begin to be organized to fight conventional wars again, soldiers will need more artillery shells with which to train, Daniels said. The Army also needs to fire artillery shells to test new weapons systems, such as a counter-fire radar.
The Trump administration considers great powers such as Russia and China a greater threat to U.S. security than terrorist groups. Indeed, the U.S. Army has rotated units through Eastern Europe to deter Russian aggression since 2014, and the service’s fiscal 2019 budget calls for pre-positioning 40 Abrams tanks, 66 armored multi-purpose vehicles, and 61 Bradley fighting vehicles in Europe in 2020 or 2021, according to Army’s deputy budget director Davis Welch.
Given the perceived need to prepare for a conventional war, the Army is purchasing the new 155mm shells to replenish wartime reserves and build up stockpiles in theater, Welch said on Tuesday.
“We have a lot of munitions, but not enough munitions that are sitting there in ammo holding areas and in theater stocks, Welch said on Tuesday. “So this is just building back out those stockage levels.”
This 825% increase in the number of 155mm shells does not indicate that the service has an ammunition shortage, officials emphasized on Tuesday, and Welch said the Army still has hundreds of tons of munitions stockpiled ranging from ammunition for small arms to anti-tank rounds.
“There is enough ammunition for us to fight tonight,” Chamberlain said.
President Donald Trump has ramped up airstrikes against al-Shabab in Somalia. (Associated Press/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
The U.S. military could be guilty of war crimes in Somalia, according to a new report that challenges what the government says about civilian casualties from its bombing campaign against al-Shabab, an al-Qaida affiliate, in the African nation.
The investigation, conducted by Amnesty International, found that US airstrikes from both drones and manned aircraft killed at least 14 civilians and injured seven more people in just five of more than 100 strikes in the past two years.
"The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes," the Amnesty report said.
A new bill would give troops with infertility related to their military service greater access to advanced reproductive treatments, including up to three completed cycles of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, and cryopreservation of eggs and sperm for those heading to a combat zone.
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks to Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Marines and Sailors with the 11th MEU are conducting routine operations as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)
The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.
"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.
A Ruger AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, center, the same model, though in gray rather than black, used by the shooter in a Texas church massacre two days earlier, sits on display with other rifles on a wall in a gun shop Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Lynnwood, Wash. (Associated Press/Elaine Thompson)
A new bill introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives would require a significant number of state residents own "at least one" AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with the help of a hefty tax break — except it won't ever get off the ground.