The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty will not affect the design of the Air Force’s next-generation long-range strike platform since the treaty is expected to expire before the new aircraft would join the inventory, a senior Air Force general said Tuesday. “The treaty is only a 10-year treaty with a five-year extension,” Maj. Gen. Johnny Weida, the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, told Senate lawmakers Tuesday. “And so,” he continued, “the new bomber will be outside that treaty, so [it] will probably be covered by a different set of circumstances.” Weida also reiterated the message that the Air Force is pursuing the new LRS platform from a family-of-systems perspective. This means it would function as part of “a whole set of capabilities,” including some kind of electronic warfare platform, intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance platform, stand-off missile, and conventional prompt global strike capability, he said. (Shackelford-Weida prepared testimony)
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.