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U.S. Must Invest More In Its Geriatric Bomber Force

This 4th of July, Americans witnessed flyovers of our airpower. It was a far cry from the airpower displays over Washington, D.C., that I viewed as a boy on national holidays in the late 1950s. Then, dozens of B-47 bombers literally cast a shadow over the viewers. On this Fourth, only three bombers were on display­­—a B-52 built in the Kennedy years; a B-1B built during the Reagan administration; and our “newest” bomber, the B-2, over 30 years of age.

To put the current bomber deficit situation in historical context, in 1957 the Air Force had 2,334 bombers in its inventory; in 1990 it had 411; the 2021 budget plans for 140. Yes, times have changed, but arguably the security challenges for the foreseeable future are much more complex and challenging than ever before. 

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Air Force Global Strike Command Eyes Changes in Second Decade

Air Force Global Strike Command?s second decade in business will be a busy one. Created in 2009 as Strategic Air Command?s post-Cold War replacement, Global Strike oversees the bulk of the Pentagon?s nuclear weapons and provides bomber aircraft for combat operations and deterrence flights around the world.

More than 70 years since a nuclear weapon was last used, and three decades after the Cold War ended, Global Strike is making changes to take on a new era of deterrence?one that spans not just nuclear assets but faster weapons and growing space, cyber, and electromagnetic spectrum concerns as well.

In a recent interview with Air Force Magazine, Global Strike Commander Gen. Timothy Ray discussed what the command is trying as it heads into the 2020s, facing a world in which Russia is not the standalone strategic concern for the US.

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