The US shouldn’t limit itself by getting into the mindset that an emerging space threat by a potential foe has to be met with a countering space system to deter hostile action effectively against US assets, says Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, commander of US Strategic Command. “We’ve got to be cautious that we don’t just get overly focused and say, ‘Because it’s a space issue, we need a space capability to deter that,’” he told the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee March 17. Instead, it’s better to approach the issue from a holistic perspective, he said. “We may have an adequate suite of other capabilities to deter that particular adversary” that could include measures such as economic or diplomatic penalties and cyber responses, he said. But, from the start, an effective deterrent policy needs to have a clearly defined position that is credible to the entities that one wishes to dissuade, Chilton said. (Chilton’s written testimony)
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.