Don’t expect the Quadrennial Defense Review to transform the Air Force, said Maj. Gen. Steven Kwast, the service’s QDR director, during a Tuesday address at AFA’s 2013 Air and Space Conference in National Harbor, Md. “It will be politically constrained. In 2014, there are election seats up for grab and there is a lot at stake,” said Kwast. “The only way you take big, bold steps is if Congress is able to take risk with you, and there is not a huge appetite right now for that kind of risk,” he said. However, it’s important to pay attention to the debate. Then it’s up to the Air Force to transform itself, said Kwast. “We have a lot more authority to do that than you think,” he said. Kwast cautioned that the Air Force must be careful that it doesn’t look back 40 years from now and realize it lost an opportunity to be “bold” and “brave.” He compared today’s fiscal reality to chemotherapy, saying “like chemo, it hurts. It kills some parts, but it heals patients.”
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.