Five more bomber squadrons are needed, there are now nine. The USAF also needs to add 14 refueling tanker squadrons to the 40 it has
On Sep. 17, 2018 U.S. Air Force (USAF) Secretary Heather Wilson and chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein has unveiled an initiative, titled “The Air Force We Need.”
According to USA Today, The Air Force We Need is based on President Donald Trump’s defense strategy, assessments of the military strength of adversaries and the ability of the Air Force to confront them, Wilson and Goldfein said. The 2018 National Defense Strategy, released in January, calls on the Pentagon to defend the homeland, maintain the nuclear weapons deterrent, defeat China or Russia, deal with threats such as Iran and North Korea and continue to fight extremists.
“The most stressing of all those cases is China,” Wilson said. “The Air Force is too small for what the nation is asking us to do. We have 312 squadrons today. Our analysis says that we need 386.”
Those aircraft will need pilots, maintainers and other support personnel. Wilson and Goldfein estimated the ranks of the active-duty and reserve components of the Air Force would need to grow to 717,000 airmen, an increase of 40,000.
However Wilson and Goldfein declined to estimate the cost of plan, suggesting it was affordable. “It’s not gold-plated,” Wilson said.
Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
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