Secretary of Defense James Mattis personally requested more bombs for combat operations against the Islamic State, a top Department of Defense official revealed Tuesday.
Mattis intervened in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and put in a request for $3.5 billion in “preferred munitions” to replenish weapons stockpiles for the fight against ISIS. The petition pushes procurement for six different weapons to the maximum, acting undersecretary of defense and chief financial officer John Roth explained, according to Defense News.
The six weapons systems include Hellfire missiles, Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS), Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs), Tomahawk missiles, and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems (APKWS). The Pentagon is requesting missiles for drone strikes, bunker busters, guided rockets, cruise missiles, and other related weaponry for combat against militants in particular.
“As we closed out this budget, over the last two or three weeks in particular, a great deal of concern was being raised with current inventory levels, particularly given some of the expenditures in the [U.S. Central Command] area of operations,” Roth told reporters when the Pentagon rolled out its budget, “So, the secretary mandated and insisted we fully fund, to the maximum extent possible, the full production capacities for certain selected preferred munitions.”
Mattis said Friday that the Trump administration’s strategy is to “annihilate ISIS.” The aim is to “carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another,” he explained.
The Fiscal Year 2018 Pentagon budget puts significant emphasis on munitions. The Pentagon reportedly intends to request $16.4 billion in missiles and munitions — specifically tactical and strategic missiles in addition to conventional ammunition.
From the start of the counter-ISIS operations in 2014 to March 2017, the Pentagon spent roughly $2.8 billion on combat munitions. The budget focuses on replenishing depleted munitions stockpiles, which remain “challenged” by the rapid pace of operations.