Despite sequestration, Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the Air Force’s Quadrennial Defense Review director, said completing the forthcoming review can be successful “as long as you’re strategic in the way you think.” “There’s still value even though we have sequestration hanging out there,” he told defense reporters during a meeting in Washington, D.C., on March 15. In this climate of uncertainty, Kwast admitted that “it would help if we had a consistent [budget] topline,” but leaders can adjust to changes in the future, and there is still room for “strategic conversation on how we approach this.” A lot of military judgment is necessary for the strategy and so is understanding the risks involved, he said. While some might contend that the review is “really useless because you don’t know what the topline is,” Kwast asserted that, even though programmatic details may change, the overall strategy usually doesn’t. Regardless, he said, we “better have a strategy.”
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.