Le Bourget, France —Air Force acquisition executive David Van Buren, addressing an international audience here Tuesday at the Paris Air Show, said “efficiencies will not be enough” in reaching spending levels demanded in future US defense budgets. “We will have to make strategic choices” about missions and capabilities to retain, Van Buren said. The Pentagon’s comprehensive review of choices, he said, is to be complete in time to prepare the next defense budget (Fiscal 2013), which starts working up this summer. Van Buren said even the targets may change, and spending levels could go lower still. With a new Defense Secretary and Joint Chiefs Chairman coming in, “we’re in a period of transition,” and spending discussions may go in a new direction, he acknowledged.
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.