Some parts of the nuclear triad can be extended in service, and some cannot, said Gen. Robert Kehler, US Strategic Command boss, Tuesday. “We’ve had great success” extending the service lives of the bomber platforms, he told defense reporters in Washington, D.C., “but I know we’re going to reach the end of the service life of the submarine,” he added, referring to the nation’s Ohio-class ballistic missile-carrying subs. Although there’s debate about “the fidelity of the date” when each nuclear platform simply must be retired, the Ohio-class subs will have to come out of inventory starting in the late 2020s, a factor of “pure…metallurgy,” said Kehler.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.