U.S. Running Low on Bombs Due to Strikes Against ISIS

Operation Inherent Resolve airstrike against ISIS / YouTube screenshot
May 1, 2017

The U.S. military is running out of certain types of bombs due to increased and frequent strikes against the Islamic State, forcing munitions to be diverted from the Pacific region to Africa and the Middle East, where the need is most urgent.

U.S. Pacific Command has been shipping its stockpile of GPS-guided Small Diameter Bombs to U.S. Central Command as top military officials are pushing for greater urgency on the armed forces lacking the munitions needed for current operations, according to Defense One.

"These are not exciting kinds of weapons; these are mundane sort of weapons," the PACOM commander, Adm. Harry Harris, told the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. "But they're absolutely critical to what we're trying to do, not only ... against North Korea, but also in the fights in the Middle East."

Harris said the military is also running low on defense contractor Raytheon's AIM-9X and AIM-120D air-to-air combat missiles for fighter jets.

The military has been facing shortages of smart bombs and guided missiles for well over a year. In December 2015, the Air Force said it was running out of bombs to fight ISIS.

Now military leaders are asking Congress for more money to purchase these weapons to continue the fight against ISIS and support operations in Africa. Many commanders are optimistic they will receive the funding they need but have warned another stopgap budget measure, rather than a full fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill, would severely damage readiness across all service branches.