Supply Chain Shortages Reach the US Military

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Today, many in the American public are more aware of the supply chain than ever before. Over the past couple of years, many have come to expect items to be out of stock. In some cases, we’ll find bare shelves where our necessities once sat. However, civilians aren’t the only ones dealing with these issues. Nor is it a problem solely for the continental United States. Supply chains across the world are backed up and the US military is now seeing the results.

The US military is facing the same supply chain issues as civilians. The pandemic threw a wrench in nearly every industry. Now, container ships are stacking up at ports around the world. There is a shortage of truckers to haul the goods that remain on the ships. Additionally, consumer demand is high. Those things are the perfect recipe for empty shelves.

Stars and Stripes, a US military news source, reported on the supply chain issues. They say that the New Year saw food shortages in commissaries in US bases across Japan and South Korea. Additionally, some bases in Germany and Italy are seeing shortages.

For the most part, dairy products and other chilled items are the hardest to come by. The publication reports several military personnel and spouses posted photos to social media that showed empty dairy coolers at base commissaries in Asia and Europe.

Camp Kinser, a US military base in Okinawa, Japan, shared information about how supply chain issues hit their store. They let those who shop on base know that they would find bare shelves. Then, they added an apology from the Defense Commissary Agency which promises that the agency is doing all it can at this point.

US Military Supply Chain Issues Connected to Distributor

One California-based distributor supplies US bases in Japan and South Korea. According to Kalani Patsel, their Commissary Zone Manager in Okinawa all the bases they serve are seeing shortages.  Patsel said that they have hundreds of container ships loaded with products sitting at US ports. Those ships are “waiting to get off-loaded.” Patsel went on to say that COVID could complicate things. “Now top that with a COVID case in any of these chain links and supply interruptions will occur.”

Patsel said that they are doing all they can to get the products where they need to go. Luckily, he believes that many items will be available by next month.

However, many worry that people will start panic-buying some items when they do come back in stock. This happened recently at a US military base in Italy after supply chain issues caused meat and dairy shortages.

Luckily, US military personnel and their spouses can shop at local stores to avoid on-base supply chain issues. However, they hope they won’t have to for much longer.