Pentagon acquisition chief Bill LaPlante chaired a meeting in Brussels today with dozens of armaments chiefs from around the world looking to boost the production of critical weapon systems being used in Ukraine against the Russian military.
The meeting, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Tim Gorman, included representatives from 45 nations, the European Union, and NATO and focused on “accelerated sourcing, production, procurement, and sustainment of capabilities critical to Ukraine's defense against Russia's unlawful invasion.”
LaPlante, who chaired a similar meeting in September, recently said increasing weapons production, especially for critical munitions, has become a top Pentagon priority as the United States and other nations have transferred systems valued at billions of dollars from their own stockpiles to Ukraine.
Gorman said the armaments directors focused on four key areas: ground-based long-range fires, air defense systems, air-to-ground capabilities, and sustainment support.
“In each area, the U.S. delegation and international partners shared progress toward mapping current global production capacity of key capabilities and component parts, and identifying associated supply chain and production constraints,” Gorman said.
The discussion, he said, has “set the stage” for the United States and its allies to “to collaborate on increasing production and identifying opportunities to create interoperability between systems.”
Gorman said LaPlante “noted the unprecedented nature of this effort, which comprises significant national-level investment and support to countries' respective industrial bases, as well as multi-national coordination to strengthen defense production and sustainment capacity.”
He said the officials also discussed “innovative solutions to collaborate,” including the potential establishment of international funds to invest in weapons production and procurement.
Additionally, Gorman said the officials discussed “mechanisms to aggregate demand for certain capabilities” and “identify co-production opportunities with the Ukrainian defense industrial base, and provide additional sustainment and maintenance support to international coordination centers.”
The group is expected to meet again in early 2023.
Meanwhile, the White House is seeking $21 billion in emergency supplemental funding from Congress for the Defense Department to continue providing military aid to Ukraine.
More than $7 billion would go to replenish weapons being transferred directly to Ukraine from U.S. stocks and reimburse DOD for training the Ukrainian military, while another $7 billion would be for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative used to contract directly with defense companies and expected to deliver weapons in the coming years.
The supplemental funding request also seeks $700 million for the Army’s ammunition procurement account for anti-vehicle munitions, $215 million for the Air Force’s missile procurement account to increase production of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile system, and $77 million for the Army’s missile procurement account to help increase production of Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.