Far different than the Cold War, one might describe today’s complex security environment as a “Blizzard War,” CIA Director Leon Panetta told lawmakers Thursday during his confirmation hearing to be Defense Secretary. Indeed, the United States faces “a blizzard of challenges that draws speed and intensity from terrorism, from rapidly developing technologies, and the rising number of powers on the world stage,” said Panetta in remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee. To deal with that, Panetta laid out what would be his priorities, if confirmed: “My first task at DOD will be to ensure that we prevail in the conflicts that we are engaged in,” he said. This means continuing to degrade the Taliban in Afghanistan and helping the Afghans “take ownership of their country.” In Iraq, it means assuring Iraqi security forces “are prepared to safeguard their nation so that it can become a stable democracy,” he continued. All the while, DOD must be “highly disciplined in how we spend the taxpayers’ precious resources,” said Panetta. “Finally and most importantly,” he said he would be “a tireless advocate for our troops and for their families.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.