Air Force Global Strike Command has cut flying hours as low as it can without risking the readiness of the US long-range bomber force, said Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, the organization’s boss. “Since 2004, we’ve taken about a one-third cut in flying hours already, and we’re rapidly approaching the point where additional flying hour cuts are not going to be sustainable,” he said during the four-star forum at AFA’s Air and Space Conference, Wednesday, when asked where the command potentially could cut costs. AFGSC bombers and ICBMs form two legs of the US nuclear deterrent force that costs “less than one percent” of the Defense Department’s budget, he underscored. “Unless there’s a change in the strategy, change in the concept of operations, the only thing that we are left to do is resize this force and try to get there in personnel cost,” he said.
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.