The industry needs a “clear signal” from governments on what to build and whether it will be bought, Northrop Grumman’s CEO says
The West doesn’t have the stockpiles of weapons needed to sustain a prolonged war in Ukraine or elsewhere, the CEO of one of the Pentagon’s main defense contractors has warned.
The military-industrial complex therefore needs a “clear demand signal” from Western governments on what exactly it should produce and whether it will be purchased, Kathy Warden told the Financial Times in an interview published on Sunday.
“The most important thing now is to get a clear demand signal on what the sustained commitment is and the level of drawdown from those stockpiles is going to be,” she explained.
Existing weapon stockpiles were not designed for a prolonged conflict, Warden said. However, the West is not yet running out of arms for Ukraine.
I wouldn’t necessarily say that I’ve heard we’re running out, but if you do project forward that we’re going to want to sustain these levels of commitments for another couple of years – that’s certainly not what anyone had built stockpiles to accommodate.
The Pentagon’s main contractors have been meeting several times a week to discuss efforts to supply the war in Ukraine. The dialogue with the Pentagon was “good,” Warden said, and further discussions are ongoing about “getting clarity on their plans.”
“They’ve been doing their best to pull industry together and share those plans, both at a more general level and specific, so that we can get ahead of contract and make investments and advance,” she added.
While Northrop Grumman is ready to invest and even expand its factories “ahead of a contract,” the industry still needs more clarity about Washington’s plans to support Ukraine, Warden warned. The military-industrial complex needs to “get an indication that if we build it, the demand will come.”
The US has become Kiev’s top supplier in the ongoing conflict, allocating billions to prop up Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Moscow has reputedly urged the West to stop “pumping” Ukraine with weaponry, insisting that the aid would only prolong hostilities rather than change the ultimate outcome.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.