John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said the Biden administration is working with the defense industry to increase the production of munitions as concerns grow that the nation’s weapon’s supply is dwindling.
‘We’re working very closely with the defense industry to try to ramp up production, particularly for artillery shells,’ Kirby told Fox News’ Shannon Bream on ‘Fox News Sunday.’
‘You saw that we gave some cluster munitions to Ukraine as a bridging solution here while we ramp up production. We’re having very, very strong conversations with the defense industry and we believe that we’ll be able to get there.’
Kirby was responding to a segment reporting that a Center for Strategic and International Studies report found replacing inventories for ammunitions such as 155 mm shells could take between four and seven years. Replacing Javelins could take up to eight years and Stingers up to as many as 18 years, according to the report.
Kirby said replacing the munitions, as the war in Ukraine continues and tensions rise in Taiwan, is not a matter of funding.
‘The defense industry obviously wants to make sure that if they’re going to increase production, that that production rate is going to stay elevated for a period of time. Because that means hiring more workers, it means retooling and adding capacity in their factories and manufacturing capabilities. So we understand that and that’s sort of the central thesis here of the discussions that we’re having with them, is to get them to increase production and let them know that we’re serious about doing that for some period of time,’ Kirby said.
Kirby’s comments come after President Biden said on TV that the United States is low on 155 mm artillery rounds.
‘This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it,’ Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria last Sunday. ‘And so, what I finally did, I took the recommendation of the Defense Department to – not permanently – but to allow for this transition period while we get more 155 weapons, these shells, for the Ukrainians.’
Biden made the remarks while defending his administration’s move this summer to send cluster munitions to Ukraine as a ‘transition period’ until more munitions are produced.
Conservatives slammed Biden on social media following the comment, while others facetiously said they ‘love when the president of America goes on CNN to tell everyone we’re low on ammo.’
Fox News Digital’s Matteo Cina contributed to this report.