04:26 GMT +323 February 2019
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    This photo taken on May 28, 2014 shows US Army Sergeant (retired) Joshua Ben, of Missouri (R) who lost his leg to an Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) in Afghanistan’s Jalrez Valley in 2007, firing artillery during 'Operation Proper Exit' at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan's Logar Province

    US Army Makes Massive Artillery Orders to Train for Conventional War

    © AFP 2018 / Brendan SMIALOWSKI
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    The US is buying 150,000 artillery shells, about 825 percent more than the previous year’s purchase of 16,500 shells, for “training to fight a decisive-action conflict,” a US Army general said this week.

    The US Army's 2019 budget proposal calls for 148,297 155 mm shells, the standard US Army, US Marine and NATO artillery caliber, Task and Purpose reported February 14. The budget also calls for 1,189 Excalibur rounds, an extended range artillery shell guided by the global positioning system.

    Although they haven't been a major feature of the US Army's counterinsurgency focus this century, the Army has apparently run short on shells, since some of them have a limited shelf life and they are often used in training exercises, Jack Daniels, a Pentagon official, told reporters Tuesday.

    Since the Army is training for conventional wars now, the service needs a lot more shells.

    "We have a lot of munitions, but not enough munitions that are sitting there in ammo holding areas and in theater stocks," said Davis Welch, the Army's deputy budget director. "This is just building out those stockage levels."

    "There is enough ammunition for us to fight tonight," Welch acknowledged. The military's new policy to focus on "great power competition" instead of terrorism likely played a role in the decision.

    US President Donald Trump said the US is increasing its arsenal of "virtually every weapon." The president signed a budget bill last week ending a brief federal government shutdown that also removed caps on military spending until 2019.


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