Did Joe Biden Offer Too Much Information About the State of the U.S. Military? – According to remarks made by President Joe Biden in March, the refrigerators and freezers in the White House are well-stocked with ice cream – Jeni’s Ice Cream, chocolate chip to be specific. It should come as a relief to Americans that the president won’t face an ice cream shortage this summer.
Yet, according to remarks made by Biden on Friday, the U.S. military could face a shortage of 155mm artillery ordnance. The president used that fact to defend his decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, and it was met with a cluster of criticism on social media over the weekend.
Difficult Decision for Biden
The firestorm began when President Biden told CNN’s Fareed Zakariares that it was a “difficult decision” to provide Kyiv with the cluster munitions, which have been banned by nations around the world.
“It was a very difficult decision on my part. And by the way, I discussed this with our allies, I discussed this with our friends up on the Hill,” Biden explained. “The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition.”
Biden then went on to tell Zakaria that the cluster munitions were being sent as a “transition period” until the U.S. is able to produce more 155mm artillery.
“This is a war relating to munitions. And they’re running out of that ammunition, and we’re low on it,” Biden continued. “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.”
Conservatives Pounce on Biden
A number of prominent critics of the president responded quickly on social media.
Author Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) tweeted, “‘The Ukrainians are running low on ammunition. … They’re running out of that ammunition, and we are low on it.’ Putting the cluster bomb transfer aside, it’s a serious problem that the United States is running low on traditional munitions stocks.”
The sentiment was shared by pundit Logan Dobson (@LoganDobson), “love when the president of America goes on CNN to tell everyone we’re low on ammo.”
“Joe Biden broadcasting to the world that the US is low on 155mm shells. Moron. Does Biden not care that our adversaries in China are listening?,” tweeted conservative commentator Steve Guest (@SteveGuest).
Ukraine Needs More 155mm Howitzer Rounds
The 155mm Howitzer round has been one of the most requested artillery munitions requested by Ukraine. As of April, the United States has supplied more than 1.5 million rounds to Kyiv, which continues to seek more. The munition is employed in a number of Western-supplied platforms, notably the British-developed M777 Howitzer.
Each round is about 2 feet (60 centimeters) long, weighs about 100 pounds (45 kilograms), and is 155mm (6.1 inches) in diameter, the Associated Press explained. It is now the standard artillery ordnance of the NATO alliance and can strike targets up to 15 to 20 miles away. That latter fact is crucial as the fighting in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine has become one of artillery duels.
The ordnance has provided Kyiv’s forces with an advantage in range. However, it used a lot of ammunition to halt Russian advances last year. Ukraine had been expending, on average, some 3,000 rounds daily, while last summer, there were reports that it was firing as much as 5,000 to 6,000 rounds a day. That rate of fire depleted its Western-supplied stockpiles in just over 100 days.
Last week, the European Union announced that it would devote 500 million euros ($547.5 million) to boost the production of ammunition for Ukraine, and to replenish stocks of EU member nations. In March, the United States Army also took efforts to increase production of the 155mm shells by sixfold – with as many as 85,000 rounds manufactured each month by fiscal 2028.
The goal of the U.S. Army’s efforts was to ensure that it can provide aid to Ukraine while replenishing its own stockpiles.
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.