The Long Range Strike Dilemma:

Pentagon research and engineering director John Young told defense reporters in Washington Thursday that the Air Force needs to move out on developing requirements for a new long-range strike platform, saying that delaying the research will push the effort beyond the Fiscal 2008 program objective memorandum—the upcoming five-year spending plan. Young is concerned that such a delay would cost the Air Force a year or more in developmental funding. He asserted that the Air Force should present basic requirements data within the next few months to be on schedule to field a new platform by the 2018 date set by the Quadrennial Defense Review. Young also said that getting a jump start on the program would ensure the platform has sufficient maturity as it enters the system design and demonstration phase thus reducing overall program risk. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne acknowledged earlier this year that making the 2018 date would “be a struggle.”