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You Mean These Things Cost Money?

NB-36H producing contrails in flight.jpg
“NB-36H producing contrails in flight” . Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

My latest at the Diplomat takes a look at how DoD plans to pay for the LRS-B:

The problem goes to the core of how the United States procures weapons. The LRS-B (we all pray for the day we can simply write “B-3”) fulfills joint requirements, but will operate within the United States Air Force. While reforms such as Goldwater-Nichols have improved “jointness” by creating connections between the services, and emphasizing the combatant commands, budgeting has remained tied to service priorities.

And so we have an aircraft that the Air Force believes will play a central role in the joint projection of American power for the rest of the century, but that must come out of the Air Force budget. The Navy, for its part, continues to jealously defend its own procurement priorities, including the CVN-78 aircraft carriers that remain the centerpieces of the future fleet. The potential conflict is particularly relevant to the U.S. force posture in the Asia-Pacific, which requires close collaboration between the Air Force’s long range strike assets and the Navy’s surface and subsurface assets in order to crack China’s robust A2/AD system.

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