Air Frame: Year in Review, November 2011: Congress failed to draft a bipartisan plan to cut the nation’s deficit by its Thanksgiving deadline, leaving the Pentagon facing the prospect of some $1 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade. Also in November, the Air Force announced plans to eliminate about 9,000 civilian positions and approved a new deployment scheme called Air and Space Expeditionary Force Next. Also, service officials said the new bunker-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator was available for combat. A USAF investigation found that mortuary officials at Dover AFB, Del., had mishandled the remains of several fallen service personnel. Also, Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers, USAF’s longest serving airman, retired after 46 years of service and officials phased out the Battle Dress Uniform. Here, Flowers (right) at his retirement ceremony, Nov. 17, 2011. Air Force photo by MSgt. Raheem Moore
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."