The Debate over Long Range Strike

There’s a “lively debate” at the Pentagon in defining the Air Force’s next long-range strike platform, Lt. Gen. Philip Breedlove, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans, and requirements, said Thursday. Enemies have studied US tactics and are burying their most valued assets deeply, far from coastlines, and with multiple protections, Breedlove told attendees of an Air Force Association-sponsored Air Force Breakfast Series presentation in Arlington, Va. He said the question driving the debate is: “How much of our nation’s wealth are we willing to put against those targets, which our opponent is making very, very expensive” to hit? Plus, there is the issue of disclosure, since announcing weapons decisions in detail could “telegraph” to opponents what targets the US has effectively ceded to the enemy as too tough, he said. Breedlove said the Air Force “still believes,” that “it is a core requirement of our nation to be able to hold targets around the world at risk.”