Analysts Urge Long-Range Strike Investment

The Air Force should prioritize investment in long-range strike and intelligence gathering assets that enable a Pacific power projection, according to a new Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments study that was co-authored by CSBA senior fellow Mark Gunzinger and retired Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, Dean of AFA’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “It is time for Congress and the Defense Department to take a hard look at the mix of combat air forces that will be needed to sustain America’s asymmetric airpower advantage,” states the report, which was released March 3. “This capability advantage is beginning to wane as older systems lose their ability to penetrate and persist in environments that are becoming increasingly contested,” they add. While DOD has begun shifting away from counterinsurgency weapons to those needed to challenge advanced anti-access threats, tight budgets and legacy force-structure threaten to blunt investment. “Sustaining such an effort will require Congress and DOD to maintain a strategic perspective in the allocation of increasingly scarce defense resources,” states the report.