The Biden administration is trying to reframe unprecedented military aid to Ukraine as a jobs creation program
The unprecedented flow of US taxpayer dollars to Ukraine taking place over the past two years has not translated to new jobs or gains for Americans, according to NBC News.
While over $44 billion has been funneled to US defense contractors as military aid for Kiev since last February, those companies have been slow to hire American workers to help with the increased demand, the news outlet reported on Saturday.
Defense industry analysts predicted “several more years” until arms manufacturers reach production levels that will trickle down to the wider economy, citing supply chain issues, a tight labor market, and a dysfunctional boom-and-bust system that does not allow for sustained output.
RTX Corp., formerly Raytheon, complained about issues finding both raw materials and qualified employees in an earnings report released Tuesday. While the company recently netted a $3 billion contract to replenish the US’ depleted weapons stockpiles and expects another $4 billion over the next two years, CEO Greg Hayes acknowledged to investors that it would take two or even three years to deliver the goods.
Lockheed Martin similarly predicted a negligible uptick in revenue for 2023 despite surging demand for its Javelin and HIMARS missile systems in Ukraine. The company hired 2,000 people last year and claims to have 900 openings in its missile and fire control division, but just 40 of those were located at the factory where it manufactures the systems being sent to Ukraine, it told NBC.
While General Dynamics has seen more orders to its Combat Systems unit than it has in years thanks to robust demand for tank and artillery shells in Ukraine – so much that it is even building a new plant in Texas to make more shell casings – that whole plant will employ just 125 workers.
These numbers appear to contradict President Joe Biden’s suggestion last week that the $61.4 billion more in military aid he wants for Ukraine effectively amounts to a jobs-creation program for Americans.
“When we use the money allocated by Congress, we use it to replenish our own stores, our own stockpiles with new equipment, equipment that defends America and is made in America,” Biden claimed during a televised address, pointing to “Patriot missiles for air defense batteries made in Arizona, artillery shells manufactured in 12 states across the country… and so much more.”
White House aides have reportedly been distributing similar talking points to representatives from both parties, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing several sources involved in the messaging.
The Pentagon revealed earlier this month that billions of dollars in additional funding is needed to replenish US weapons stocks while continuing to fund Ukraine’s and now Israel’s military. Its latest announcement of a new aid package for Kiev earlier this week also contained the new White House talking points about how aid to Ukraine is “a smart investment” that strengthens the US military industrial base and creates “highly skilled jobs for the American people.”