So What Do They Want:

The Defense Department’s modernization plan for fixed-wing airpower as it exits now—especially for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program of record—is going to be “substantially unbalanced in favor of short-range stuff in an era when you increasingly need long-range stuff,” according to Barry Watts of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Watts and co-author Steve Kosiak met with defense reporters Wednesday to discuss their newly released treatise on fighter modernization plans. CSBA analysts have flogged this particular donkey for several years, while others point out that it doesn’t really have to be an either/or situation. The nation, they say, can afford and needs both capabilities. Watts and Kosiak do acknowledge that canceling the “most costly single aircraft program in DOD history” would not be “prudent.”