Money isn't Enough: getting Serious About Precious Munitions
Comment of the Day

May 04 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Money isn't Enough: getting Serious About Precious Munitions

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Finally, the Department of Defense should, as Julia van der Colff argued in these pages, consider rapidly fielding “second tier” precision munitions that take advantage of existing technologies to provide large quantities of minimum-capability weapons at reduced costs. Next-generation stealth, sensor, and precision capabilities are key to competing with China in the long run, but these simpler munitions could be more easily (and cheaply) produced in the volumes necessitated by great-power conflict. Combined with unmanned munitions carriers and teamed with manned strike platforms, second-tier weapons could be essential to providing the volume of effects required by these other concepts. As Russia’s use of Iranian drones in Ukraine has shown, not every target requires an exquisite precision munition. Unlike ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Defense should not wait until a crisis to explore and test these designs.

Eoin Treacy's view

The large-scale war in Ukraine has completely upended the procurement calculus for NATO. The “less is more” focus on high tech precision strikes is giving way to the acceptance that sometimes dumb weapons just need to hit in the vicinity of a target. 

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