The conclusion of the C-17 line is “in sight,” according to Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz. In a Dec. 22 interview, Schwartz said he still believes that a fleet of 316 strategic airlifters is “about right,” and that 205 of them should be C-17s. If Congress acts to go above that number of C-17s, “we would retire C-5 capacity” from the C-5A fleet, he said. Schwartz noted that it’s important not to over-invest in organic airlift if that means reducing work for the Civil Reserve Air Fleet, upon which the US depends heavily. Still, Schwartz said he’d be glad to have C-17s still in production and believes Boeing will expand its market overseas for the aircraft.
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.