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The U.S. and Europe are running out of weapons to send to Ukraine

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Ukrainian servicemen fire an M777 howitzer, Kharkiv Region, northeastern Ukraine. This photo cannot be distributed in the Russian Federation.

Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy | Future Publishing | Getty Images

In the U.S. weapons industry, the normal production level for artillery rounds for the 155 millimeter howitzer — a long-range heavy artillery weapon currently used on the battlefields of Ukraine — is about 30,000 rounds per year in peacetime.

The Ukrainian soldiers fighting invading Russian forces go through that amount in roughly two weeks.

That’s according to Dave Des Roches, an associate professor and senior military fellow at the U.S. National Defense University. And he’s worried. 

“I’m greatly concerned. Unless we have new production, which takes months to ramp up, we’re not going to have the ability to supply the Ukrainians,” Des Roches told CNBC. 

Europe is running low too. “The military stocks of most [European NATO] member states have been, I wouldn’t say exhausted, but depleted in a high proportion, because we have been providing a lot of capacity to the Ukrainians,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, said earlier this month. 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg held a special meeting of the alliance’s arms directors on Tuesday to discuss ways to refill member nations’ weapons stockpiles.

Military analysts point to a root issue: Western nations have been producing arms at much smaller volumes during peacetime, with governments opting to slim down very expensive manufacturing and only producing weapons as needed. Some of the weapons that are running low are no longer being produced, and highly-skilled labor and experience are required for their production — things that have been in short supply across the U.S. manufacturing sector for years.   

A US M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) firing salvoes during a military exercise on June 30, 2022. The U.S. Department of Defense has announced that the U.S. will be sending Ukraine another $270 million in security assistance, a package which will include high mobility artillery rocket systems and a significant number of tactical drones.

Fadel Senna | Afp | Getty Images

Indeed, Stoltenberg said during last week’s U.N. General Assembly that NATO members need to re-invest in their industrial bases in the arms sector. 

“We are now working with industry to increase production of weapons and ammunition,” Stoltenberg told the New York Times, adding that countries needed to encourage arms makers to expand their capacity longer term by putting in more weapons orders. 

But ramping up defense production is no quick or easy feat. 

Is the U.S.’s ability to defend itself at risk? 

The short answer: no. 

The U.S. has been by far the largest supplier of military aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia, providing $15.2 billion in weapons packages to date since Moscow invaded its neighbor in late February. Several of the American-made weapons have been game changers for the Ukrainians; particularly the 155 mm howitzers and long-range heavy artillery like the Lockheed Martin-made HIMARS. And the Biden administration has said it will support its ally Ukraine for “as long as it takes” to defeat Russia. 

That means a whole lot more weapons. 

The U.S. has essentially run out of the 155 mm howitzers to give to Ukraine; to send any more, it would have to dip into its own stocks reserved for U.S. military units that use them for training and readiness. But that’s a no-go for the Pentagon, military analysts say, meaning the supplies reserved for U.S. operations are highly unlikely to be affected.

We need to put our defense industrial base on a wartime footing. And I don’t see any indication that we have.

Dave Des Roches

Senior military fellow, U.S. National Defense University

“There are a number of systems where I think the Department of Defense has reached the levels where it’s not willing to provide more of that particular system to Ukraine,” said Mark Cancian, a former U.S. Marine Corps Colonel and a senior advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  

That’s because “the United States needs to maintain stockpiles to support war plans,” Cancian said. “For some munitions, the driving war plan would be a conflict with China over Taiwan or in the South China Sea; for others, particularly ground systems, the driving war plan would be North Korea or Europe.” 

Javelins, HIMARs and howitzers

What this means for Ukrainian forces is that some of their most crucial battlefield equipment – like the 155 mm howitzer – is having to be replaced with older and less optimum weaponry like the 105 mm howitzer, which has a smaller payload and a shorter range. 

“And that’s a problem for the Ukrainians,” Des Roches says, because “range is critical in this war. This is an artillery war.”

A boy walks past a graffiti on a wall depicting a Ukrainian serviceman making a shot with a US-made Javelin portable anti-tank missile system, in Kyiv, on July 29, 2022.

Sergei Supinsky | AFP | Getty Images

Other weapons Ukraine relies on that are now classified as “limited” in the U.S. inventory include HIMARS launchers, Javelin missiles, Stinger missiles, the M777 Howitzer and 155 mm ammunition. 

The Javelin, produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, has gained an iconic role in Ukraine — the shoulder-fired, precision-guided anti-tank missile has been indispensable in combating Russian tanks. But production in the U.S. is low at a rate of around 800 per year, and Washington has now sent some 8,500 to Ukraine, according to the CSIS — more than a decades’ worth of production.  

Ukrainian soldiers take pictures of a mural titled ‘Saint Javelin’ dedicated to the British portable surface-to-air missile has been unveiled on the side of a Kyiv apartment block on May 25, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The artwork by illustrator and artist Chris Shaw is in reference to the Javelin missile donated to Ukrainian troops to battle against the Russian invasion.

Christopher Furlong | Getty Images

President Joe Biden visited a Javelin plant in Alabama in May, saying he would “make sure the United States and our allies can replenish our own stocks of weapons to replace what we’ve sent to Ukraine.” But, he added, “this fight is not going to be cheap.” 

The Pentagon has ordered hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of new Javelins, but ramping up takes time — the numerous suppliers that provide the chemicals and computer chips for each missile can’t all be sufficiently sped up. And hiring, vetting and training people to build the technology also takes time. It could take between one and four years for the U.S. to boost overall weapons production significantly, Cancian said.

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“We need to put our defense industrial base on a wartime footing,” Des Roches said. “And I don’t see any indication that we have.”

A Lockheed Martin spokesman, when contacted for comment, referenced an April interview during which Lockheed CEO Jim Taiclet told CNBC: “We’ve got to get our supply chain ramped up, we’ve got to have some capacity, which we’re already investing to do. And then the deliveries happen, say, six, 12,18 months down the road.”

Raytheon and the U.S. Department of Defense did not respond to CNBC requests for comment. 

What are Ukraine’s options? 

A Ukrainian serviceman mans a position in a trench on the front line near Avdiivka, Donetsk region on June 18, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatolii Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

Jack Watling, an expert on land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute in London, believes there is still ample scope for Ukraine to supply itself with many of the weapons it needs. 

“There is sufficient time to resolve that problem before it becomes critical in terms of stepping up manufacture,” Watling said, noting that Kyiv can source certain ammunition from countries that don’t immediately need theirs, or whose stocks are about to expire.

“So we can continue to supply Ukraine,” Watling said, “but there is a point where especially with certain critical natures, the Ukrainians will need to be cautious about their rate of expenditure and where they prioritize those munitions, because there isn’t an infinite supply.”



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George Clooney, Gladys Knight among Kennedy Center honorees

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken, second from left, and his wife, Evan Ryan, left, join 2022 Kennedy Center Honorees, front row from left, Amy Grant, Gladys Knight, George Clooney, Tania León, and Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter, back row from left, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein, along with fellow 2022 Honorees Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., The Edge, and Bono for a group photo at the State Department following the Kennedy Center Honors gala dinner, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Washington.

Kevin Wolf | AP Photo

Performers such as Gladys Knight or the Irish band U2 usually would be headlining a concert for thousands but at Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors the tables will be turned as they and other artists will be the ones feted for their lifetime of artistic contributions.

Actor, director, producer and human rights activist George Clooney, groundbreaking composer and conductor Tania León, and contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant will join Knight and the entire crew of U2 in being honored by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The organization honors a select group of people every year for their artistic influences on American culture. President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their respective spouses are slated to attend.

The 61-year-old Clooney — the actor among this year’s musically leaning group of honorees — has television credits going back into the late 1970s but became a household name with the role of Doug Ross on the television show “ER.” conductor Tania León, and

From there he starred in movies such as “Three Kings,” “Ocean’s Eleven” (and “Twelve” and “Thirteen”), “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and his most recent film, “Ticket to Paradise.” He also has extensive directing and producing credits including “Good Night, and Good Luck.” He and his wife, humanitarian rights lawyer Amal Clooney, created the Clooney Foundation for Justice, and he’s produced telethons to raise money for various causes.

“To be mentioned in the same breath with the rest of these incredible artists is an honor. This is a genuinely exciting surprise for the whole Clooney family,” said Clooney in a statement on the Center’s website.

Knight, 78, said in a statement that she was “humbled beyond words” at receiving the Kennedy honor. The Georgia-born Knight began singing gospel music at the age of 4 and went on to a career that has spanned decades.

Knight and family members started a band that would later be known as Gladys Knight & The Pips and produced their first album in 1960 when Knight was just 16. Since then she’s recorded dozens of albums with such classic hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Along the way she’s acted in television shows and movies. When Knight and the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Mariah Carey described Knight as “a textbook you learn from.”

Sometimes the Kennedy Center honors not just individuals but groups; “Sesame Street” once got the nod.

This year it’s the band U2. The group’s strong connection to America goes back decades. They performed in Washington during their first trip to America in 1980. In a statement the band — made up of Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. — said they originally came to America with big dreams “fueled in part by the commonly held belief at home that America smiles on Ireland.”

“And it turned out to be true, yet again,” read the statement. “It has been a four-decade love affair with the country and its people, its artists, and culture.”

U2 has sold 170 million albums and been honored with 22 Grammys. The band’s epic singles include “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Pride (In the Name of Love)” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Lead singer Bono has also become known for his philanthropic work to eradicate poverty and to raise awareness about AIDS.

Christian music performed Amy Grant said in an interview with The Associated Press that she’d never even been to the Kennedy Center Honors even though her husband, country musician Vince Gill, has performed during previous ceremonies. Grammy winner Grant is well known for crossover pop hits like “Baby, Baby,” “Every Heartbeat” and “That’s What Love is For.” She’s sold more than 30 million albums, including her 1991 record “Heart in Motion,” which introduced her to a larger pop audience.

Composer and conductor León said during an interview when the honorees were announced that she wasn’t expecting “anything spectacular” when the Kennedy Center initially reached out to her. After all, she’s worked with the Kennedy Center numerous times over the years going back to 1980, when she was commissioned to compose music for a play.

But the 79-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner said she was stunned to learn that this time the ceremony was going to be for her.

León left Cuba as a refugee in 1967 and eventually settled in New York City. She’s a founding member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem and instituted the Brooklyn Philharmonic Community Concert Series.



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Michigan couple teaches people how to start lucrative side hustles

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In 2020, Jamie and Sarah McCauley filmed themselves ripping, repainting and restoring thrifted furniture. They resold the items, made more than $1,000 in profit and posted the results on YouTube.

Within a week, the video received 20,000 views. The McCauleys, who live off a variety of concurrently running side hustles, sensed opportunity. They started posting more videos about their other streams of income, which include rental properties, house flipping projects and reselling return pallets from Amazon and Target.

Teaching people how to build those types of hustles has proved lucrative: In the last year, the McCauleys made $102,000 from their YouTube and other social media channels, according to documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.

That averages out to $8,500 per month. During their best month of the year, they brought in $9,000.

The McCauleys say some of their furniture flips are as simple as staging and taking fresh photos of the product.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley

“We started to realize: This is a great way for people to make extra money if they have bills, or they just aren’t able to pay their rent, or they want to go on a nice vacation with their family,” Sarah says. “Anyone can do it.”

But of all their income streams, Jamie says their YouTube and social media presence is the most stressful to manage.

Here’s how they built it, and what goes into maintaining it.

How to build a social media career

Jamie and Sarah knew the ins and outs of social media from years of running a successful wedding photography business, which at its height made $150,000 per year, Jamie says.

But after having two children, the couple realized they didn’t want to spend weekends away from their family. So they started buying, renovating and renting out properties around west Michigan, hoping for a more passive income stream that would encourage schedule flexibility.

It worked, and the extra time allowed them to embrace a variety of side hustles. They got the idea to post their furniture and property-flipping adventures on YouTube in 2019, and immediately found it challenging.

Initially, Jamie worked 30 hours per week on the YouTube project alone, with Sarah working an additional 10 — on top of their efforts to sell two flipped houses and manage their photography business.

It took them a full year to hit 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time, making them eligible for Google AdSense, a feature that allows creators to monetize their YouTube videos with advertisements.

“We weren’t really sure where home design or flipping or photography or YouTube would lead us,” Sarah says. “But we knew if we put ourselves out there, it would open more opportunities.”

Flipping pros and cons

There are a couple of clear-cut benefits to flipping and reselling furniture and home décor online, especially during times of economic uncertainty, Sarah says.

For instance, more people are willing to hunt for deals on eBay and Facebook Marketplace when times are tough, instead of frequenting their usual retail stores.

“When a recession hits, people don’t want to pay full price for things,” she says. “Thrift stores thrive during recessions, and I think resellers do, too, because people are trying to save money in any way they can.”

Unlike real estate, the gambles of buying and reselling furniture are minimal in both price and risk, the McCauleys say. There’s less of a financial investment, and Sarah says she’s broken even on every flip.

The McCauleys say they staged and resold this $50 Facebook Marketplace dresser for $300.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley

The couple says one of their best flips was a mid-century dresser they bought for $50 on Facebook Marketplace. All they had to do was stage and take a nice photo of the dresser before reselling it for $300.

Sometimes, after buying furniture, the couple realizes the items have more flaws than they expected. Usually, this means investing more time and money into fixing up the piece, which can affect the item’s eventual sale value, they say.

In those cases, “we just get our money back instead of gaining a huge profit, but we’ve never really lost money from it,” Sarah says.

Costs and effect

Going a full year without making any money from YouTube was difficult, the McCauleys say. And simply qualifying for AdSense didn’t guarantee the big bucks.

“The slower growth and the inconsistency of it, it’s been more of a mental struggle to keep pushing and believing the process,” Jamie says. “Now, we’re in a better spot, but throughout that two-year period, it was a question of, ‘Is this what we should be doing? Is this going to work out?'”

In 2020, the couple felt a shift, they say. Their videos started going viral more regularly, and brands like Skillshare, Beyond Paint and HelloFresh reached out to them with partnership opportunities.

The sudden attention was overwhelming, and they didn’t immediately know which brands to trust. These days, the McCauleys work with an agency that vets the brands and sets up contracts for them, claiming an 18% from a number of those partnerships, they say.

Sarah says she often notices undervalued items at Goodwill, which she resells for a profit on sites like eBay.

Jamie and Sarah McCauley

Inside a renovated $155,000 old mansion in North Carolina



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