“Fundamentally Critical”

Prompted by questions on the need to field a new bomber by 2018, the head of Joint Forces Command, Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, told lawmakers Tuesday, “The ability to penetrate and hold at risk what the enemy treasures is fundamentally critical” given the “imperfect world” in which we live. Now, he would not speculate on the type of long-range strike vehicle that might be, saying, “Whether it be the manned bomber [or] new UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], there are a number of ways to address this issue.” The fate—and timing—of the next-generation bomber is still in question, even though new defense officials at their confirmation hearings expressed the same measure of resolve as Mattis that a new LRS platform is vital.