Naval assets and strategic air forces are going to be a “huge component” of the next two decades of US strategy and the nation needs to make sure it gets the balance right, said Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee’s seapower and projection forces panel, on Tuesday. The Air Force’s Long-Range Strike Bomber is a component of this balance, Forbes told reporters during the June 4 meeting in Washington, D.C. When asked about the health of the LRS-B program, Forbes said he believes the Air Force and Office of the Secretary of Defense have been “very forthcoming” about its progress towards an on-ramp capability in the mid-2020s. “I think they’ve been transparent to us at this particular point,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we don’t have problems and things to do,” but the program is “moving along,” he added. Forbes also wants the Pentagon doing more strategic thinking about “cost imposition strategy” as it relates to countries like China that have invested in asymmetric tools, such as cyber weapons and ballistic missiles, to counter US advantages in the Pacific, such as aircraft carriers.
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.