The Defense Department directed US Strategic Command and the Air Force to conduct a study of the nuclear cruise missile force structure and “build a retirement schedule for the missiles,” according to written testimony presented by Maj. Gen. Roger Burg to the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee Wednesday. (See above.) As a result of that review, USAF does plan to retire all Advanced Cruise Missiles and also to reduce the Air Launched Cruise Missile force to 528. It will retire the excess ALCMs and consolidate the remainder at Minot AFB, N.D., through at least 2020 or 2030.
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.