(CNSNews.com) – Two U.S. congressmen, one Republican and one Democrat, agreed on Sunday that U.S. ability to manufacture weapons falls short of what may be needed, as the U.S. helps Ukraine repel a Russian invasion and as China eyes Taiwan.
“Our industrial defense base is broken,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told “Fox News Sunday.”
“I completely agree with Chairman McCaul,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the same program: “This is a huge problem,” he added.
Host Shannon Bream, who interviewed both men separately, pointed to a recent study by The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which says in part:
“The U.S. defense industrial base is not adequately prepared for the competitive security environment that now exists. It is currently operating at a tempo better suited to a peacetime environment.
“In a major regional conflict – such as a war with China in the Taiwan Strait – the U.S. use of munitions would likely exceed the current stockpiles of the U.S. Department of Defense, leading to a problem of ’empty bins.'”
The study said the U.S. “would likely run out of some munitions – such as long-range, precision-guided munitions – in less than one week in a Taiwan Strait conflict.”
“The deficiencies undermine deterrence,” the study warned.
Bream asked McCaul if he is worried about such a “shocking assessment.”
“Very,” McCaul said. “Our industrial defense base is broken. I signed off on all foreign military weapon sales three years ago that have yet to go into Taiwan. So, we need that deterrence. But if we don’t have the weapons, that’s as critical for deterrence.”
“I completely agree with Chairman McCaul. This is a huge problem,” Smith said.
“And we don’t have the industrial base. And we don’t have the ability to ramp up that industrial base.
“What industry will tell you is that the reason that they don’t have the ability to make as many weapons as we now need is because they don’t want to make that major investment without what they refer to as a demand signal, without knowing that we’re going to buy them.
“And, you know, despite what we heard this morning, predicting future conflict is actually more difficult than it looks. U.S. taxpayers don’t want to spend a ton of money on weapons that we don’t need.
“We need to increase that ability to surge when we need it, which means we desperately need to increase our manufacturing base for key weapons systems.
“I think Congressman McCaul is absolutely right. I know it’s a huge priority for Chairman Rogers, who is now the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, my partner on that committee. It’s a huge priority for our committee to increase that production capacity for all of the reasons that you’ve laid out.”
While McCaul and Adams agreed on the broken U.S. defense industrial base, they disagreed on whether a U.S. war with China is likely.
McCaul said the U.S. must “be prepared” for a possible war in China:
“Well, I think China’s looking at reunification of Taiwan, right? That’s how they call it. There are several ways to do that,” McCaul said.
“The first one is to influence the election that will take place a year from today (in Taiwan),” McCaul said. And if the political effort to take Taiwan fails, “they are going to look at a military invasion, in my judgment. We have to be prepared for this.
“And it could happen, I think, as long as Biden is in office, projecting weakness, as he did with Afghanistan that led to Putin invading Ukraine, that the odds are very high we could see a conflict with China and Taiwan and the Indo Pacific.”
While McCaul said war with China is possible, Smith said it may be possible, but it is not “inevitable.”
“I’m really worried, though, when anyone starts talking about war with China being inevitable,” Smith said:
“And I want to be completely clear: it’s not only not inevitable, it is highly unlikely. We have a very dangerous situation in China, but I think generals need to be very cautious about saying, we’re going to war — it’s inevitable.
“Their job is to prepare for a wide range of eventualities. I don’t think we should be out there telling the world that we’re going to war with China, most importantly because we’re not. We have interests. We have to be in a position to deter China.
“War is not inevitable. That’s a very dangerous situation that we need to be prepared for, but I’m fully confident that we can avoid that conflict if we take the right approach.”
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