We reported that the head of US Transportation Command, USAF Gen. Norton Scwhartz, in testimony last week said that he could use additional C-17s—20 would be his number. That is correct. However, he also said that, from a “combatant command point of view,” he would get more benefit from a hybrid tanker. It would, he said, “give this nation greater payback than does the 181st C-17, the 201st, or certainly the 221st.” Schwartz then declared he could use additional C-17s, but he would like to see them purchased “as a cost of war” in a supplemental, so that the Pentagon could get on with a tanker buy.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.