February 13, 2018

Don’t Retire Our Stealth Bombers

It’s more cost-effective and smarter strategically to maintain them.

By Jerry Hendrix

When a local community government has trouble getting its books to balance or it simply desires additional tax revenue to expand local government, but it does not have support from the community, it will often pursue a “firehouses and police stations” strategy. Rather than identify low-end nonessential services or perhaps cut back on its internal bureaucracy, local government officials will select highly visible “sacred cows” — essential services such as firehouses and local police precincts — as the targets for cuts. With this sleight of hand, bureaucrats aim to balance the budget or free up funds for new pet projects, because they know that the public will never accept such cuts. It is a common tactic that is easily recognized by political analysts. 

Well, it’s clear that the United States Air Force has recently decided to put some “firehouses,” in the form of highly capable B-2 stealth bombers, on the line in order to win additional funding from the Congress as the Air Force moves into production of its new B-21 Raider bomber.

This week, as part of the president’s budget rollout, the Air Force will be issuing its new “Bomber Vector” roadmap, which will detail the acquisition and retirement plan for our 21st-century bomber force. The roadmap will include the production schedule for the 100 new B-21 Raiders, as well as the retirement plan for older bombers such as the 1980s-era B-1B bombers. 

Read the full op-ed in National Review.

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