Adm. Timothy Keating, head of both NORAD and US Northern Command, said Thursday that the US missile defense program buck stops at his door at Peterson AFB, Colo. NORTHCOM, he said, is the “primary operational arm” for missile defense actions because its primary mission is to defend the continental United States. “We have been training for over a year with the hardware and software and the crews who will man the missile systems,” Keating told defense reporters. Currently, NORTHCOM planners are working on a final concept of operations—from managing personnel and equipment assets, such as setting up alert levels and maintaining radar equipment, to pulling the trigger on an incoming “bolt out of the blue,” said Keating.
More than 100 B-21s will be needed if the nation is to avoid creating a high demand/low capacity capability, panelists said on a Hudson Institute webinar. The B-21's flexibility, stealth, range and payload will be in high demand for a wide range of missions, both traditional and new.