According to a just-released Defense Science Board report, there are several “most pressing issues” that President-elect Barack Obama’s defense team must face, and they represent “only a fraction” of the defense challenges confronting the nation. And, then, of course, there’s the economic meltdown. The DSB report categorizes the issues under DOD’s five primary mission areas. For instance, under “Protect and Defend the Homeland,” the report calls for increased intelligence effort—both foreign and domestic—to address the weapons of mass destruction threat; the need to boost safety and surety of the nation’s nuclear deterrent capability and establish “re-invigorated training of conventional forces for survival and operation in a nuclear environment.” Among issues under the other four key mission areas, the report cites the vulnerability of the military and civilian information infrastructure, including “of particular concern” space assets in orbit and on the ground; the lack of the “deep penetration required for actionable intelligence” to thwart terrorism; inadequate plans for use of DOD resources during a domestic catastrophe and too-thin DOD resources to both assist domestically and “simultaneously project force and defend American interests around the world.”
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.