Travis Sharp, Research Fellow for the Budget Program, provides insight into the FY2020 budget request
When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Ankara on Thursday, he will find Turkey unrecognizable as the ostensibly Muslim democracy and close ally that U.S. officials once held up as a model for the Islamic world. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is poised to complete his long transformation of Turkey from a raucous -- if imperfect democracy -- to an autocracy, one ruled by caprice and fear.
“If you’re a combat veteran, your chances of getting promoted are greater, (but that) means that you have deep searing personal experiences with a certain type of warfare,” said Thomas Mahnken, head of the Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments. “That didn’t serve the British and French militaries well” at the start of World War II, he said, when they were so intent on not repeating the horrors of trench warfare that they were blindsided by the new and much more mobile threat of blitzkrieg.
The U.S. Air Force plans to phase out its B-1B and B-2 bomber fleets as the new B-21 bomber, currently being built in Palmdale by Northrop Grumman Corp., becomes operational in the mid-2020s. Mark Gunzinger, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said the move to phase out the B-1Bs and B-2s is likely budget-driven. The Air Force needs to modernize and reinvest in a number of its key assets, including its fighter jets, bomber forces and unmanned systems, and that is a "daunting challenge."
Among those who believe the Air Force is sincere in its desire to purchase an OA-X is Mark Gunzinger, a former B-52 pilot and air power analyst at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “Yes, I think they are serious,” Gunzinger told The National Interest. “It makes sense for the missions they would use it for as well as from a cost and force management perspective. There also appears to be significant support on the Hill, but a never-ending series of CRs [continuing resolutions] could disrupt its timing.... As well as other programs, for that matter.”
“After decades of nuclear weapons being consigned to the margins of national security, it is important for senior political and military leaders to re-acquaint themselves with nuclear capabilities, both ours and those of competitors,” Mahnken said.