Waiting for a Seat at the Table

The Air Force is “hoping” to make a presentation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the new long-range strike aircraft before Gates decides what the platform’s requirements will be, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said Tuesday. Schwartz told the Daily Report before and after his remarks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that the aircraft’s attributes are up to Gates to decide. Gates is being informed by prep work provided by Ash Carter, Pentagon acquisition executive, and Christine Fox, who heads the Pentagon’s Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation shop. Last month, Schwartz said the debate about LRS was “still raging.” But on Tuesday, he said he hoped that decisions would be made “within the next three weeks or so,” and definitely before the Fiscal 2012 budget has firmed up. The Air Force has asked to make a presentation on its LRS ideas, but “we’re not on [Gates’] calendar yet,” said Schwartz.