Do You Have Protection?

Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff, said that in figuring out what must be protected in the budget-cutting now underway, four areas will be fenced off from large-scale elimination. They are: control of air, space, and cyberspace; global strike; rapid global mobility; and worldwide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Without these fundamental capabilities, the US “would have to fundamentally recast its expeditionary power projection capability,” he said Tuesday at AFA’s Air & Space Conference. Specifically, Schwartz said the F-35, a new penetrating bomber, and the nuclear Triad will continue, but he also cautioned that all of them will be bound by the strictest limits on cost growth. Schwartz also said there will be stopgap a upgrades to fourth generation fighters like the F-15 and F-16, but said there is “no alternative” to the F-35, and that 4th-gen fighters “still lack modern stealth technology and integrated avionics and will become increasingly less capable and useful against burgeoning adversary anti-access and area-denial strategies and capabilities such as air defense systems, missiles and radars.” Once the F-35’s current challenges are fixed, he said that DOD “must proceed toward efficient manufacture and steady production rate as soon as possible.” Schwartz suggested the aircraft will have deterrent value comparable to that of the nuclear Triad.