Toward a “Deep-Strike” Air Force:

As we reported, the QDR calls for a new land-based, long-range strike system by 2018. The goals are ambitious. The report says that, by 2025, the Air Force will increase LRS capabilities by 50 percent and the “penetrating component” of LRS by “a factor of five.” The plan hinges on new remote-operation technologies. Indeed, the QDR report says that 45 percent of the future LRS force will be unmanned. Also clear is that the B-52 force will become a bill-payer; the report calls for the Air Force to “reduce the B-52 force to 56 aircraft and use savings to fully modernize B-52s, B-1s, and B-2s to support global strike operations.”