US Pacific Command boss Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear told House lawmakers on Wednesday he shared the concerns raised by Pentagon acquisition boss Frank Kendall that the United States is losing its technology edge and he supported the push for technological offsets to boost US military power. If Congress supports these efforts, US forces “will get at the advances [they] need to protect US interests,” said Locklear during the April 15 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee to explore the implications of losing technological superiority on US policy, strategy, and posture in the Asia-Pacific region. Locklear pointed out that during the Cold War, the United States cultivated a deliberate technological edge on the Soviet Union, and in years since, it has used its resulting ?dominance in air, space, and at sea to conduct effective operations in places like the Middle East. However, the United States also “took a break” from closely watching near-peer nations that have built up their forces. “We are a Pacific nation, but we are also an island nation,” said Locklear, meaning the US military relies heavily on its power-projection tools. It must ensure its forces remain dominant “across domains,” as dominance is vital to crisis management and deterrence, he said. (Locklear’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.