The New Bomber and the Nuclear Enterprise

Last year’s Nuclear Policy Review determined that the United States should maintain the triad as its strategic deterrent. As a result, US Strategic Command’s requirements for the Air Force’s future long-range, penetrating bomber are on both sides of the nuclear and conventional equation, said Gen. Robert Kehler, STRATCOM commander, Thursday. “If we are looking at something that will take the place of the B-2 and B-52 at some level, it must be nuclear-capable,” Kehler told reporters during a meeting after his speech at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. But STRATCOM also has the responsibility for global strike in a conventional sense, and so the command must also work out these requirements with the Air Force, he said. He noted that there is “a great deal of value” in developing the new bomber as the centerpiece of a family of long-range strike systems as the Pentagon intends.