Former Chiefs, Secretaries Rally for B-21

The B-21 Long-Range Strike Bomber is critical because the Air Force’s bomber force continues to age and its advantages decline as adversaries of the United States are fielding new, capable defense systems, 11 former Air Force Chiefs of Staff and Secretaries wrote recently in an editorial in The Hill. A new long-range, sensor-enabled shooter force is “desperately needed,” and will comprise one leg of the nuclear triad, the former Air Force leaders wrote. Still, they acknowledged that members of Congress and others have expressed concerns about the limited amount of information the Air Force has released about the program. Former USAF Secretaries Donald Rice, Whitten Peters, James Roche, Michael Wynne, Michael Donley, and retired generals and former CSAFs Larry Welch, Merrill McPeak, Ronald Fogleman, Michael Ryan, John Jumper, and Norton Schwartz wrote that while the B-21 requires “thorough oversight,” the oversight should not expose classified details or cause the program to be delayed. “Cutting funding needed for development” of the B-21 now “could paradoxically run the risk of increasing program cost,” they warned.