As the United States steps up its battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), defense leaders on Capitol Hill are raising concerns about a looming shortage in the Tomahawk missile supply, a key offensive weapon that the Navy has deployed against militant strongholds in Syria and elsewhere.
The U.S. Navy’s current reliance on the Tomahawk, known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile,” comes just months after the Obama administration attempted to significantly cut funding for the weapon and then eliminate it completely it in 2016, a move that drew heavy criticism from defense experts and lawmakers.
With the military relying on the weapons in its strikes against ISIL targets in Syria, defense leaders have begun to warn that the Pentagon could quickly run through its Tomahawk stockpiles, a problem exacerbated by defense budget cuts known as sequestration, defense sources say.
The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) is now expressing concern that the Pentagon has “insufficient weapons inventories” and that the Obama administration’s proposed termination of the Tomahawk missile program in fiscal year 2016 would worsen “a deficient inventory problem,” according to defense insiders and sources close to the committee.
The U.S. Navy deployed 47 Tomahawks last week during its strikes in Syria, which amounts to 47 percent of its planned purchases of the weapon in 2015, according to the American Thinker. There are currently enough Tomahawks left “for roughly 85 days of a campaign, at the current rate of use,” the report states.