Opening Remarks of Chairman Forbes: ‘The Future Of Air Force Long-Range Strike’

Opening Remarks of Chairman Forbes



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For Immediate Release: September 29, 2015      Contact: Claude Chafin (202) 225-2539

Opening Remarks of Chairman Forbes

“The Future of Air Force Long-Range Strike “

WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, made the following opening remarks for the subcommittee hearing titled “The Future of Air Force Long-Range Strike – current requirements and future vision:”

“Earlier this month, our committee met with an outside panel of witnesses to discuss the future of Air Force Long Range Strike capabilities and employment concepts. Today, the subcommittee plans to continue this effort and to better understand the Air Force’s perspective on the future of Long Range Strike.

Long-range bomber aircraft have been a central element of America’s power projection forces since the Second World War. But after several decades of relative neglect, the Air Force’s bomber fleet is now the smallest and oldest it has ever been.  Overall, our 159 bombers have an average age of 39 years—older than most of their pilots—and less than half of the force is ‘mission capable’ in at least one mission area.

The readiness level of our bomber fleet is disconcerting.   Of these aircraft, only 20 B-2s are ‘stealth bombers’ capable of penetrating the integrated air defense systems being fielded (and exported abroad) by countries like Russia and China. Our 139 older B-1 and B-52 bombers are best suited for operating in low-threat environments and launching standoff missile strikes.  While newer multi-role fighters like the F-22 and F-35 may be able to penetrate modern defenses, they lack the range, endurance, and payload needed to operate from bases outside the range of enemy missiles and hold at risk the larger and more challenging target sets our military is likely to face in the future.

As a result, the United States has a serious shortfall in long-range penetrating strike capability and capacity that affects our security in several important ways. First, by limiting our ability to respond promptly to aggression and hold at risk high-value targets (such as enemy leaders or weapons of mass destruction) inside defended airspace, it emboldens our strategic competitors and undermines deterrence.  Second, it undermines the confidence of our allies and partners that we can respond rapidly and decisively if and when they are attacked. Third, it forces short-range U.S. air forces to operate from bases within the range of enemy missiles and other threats, playing to the strengths of our competitors’ anti-access strategies and imposing upon the United States the high costs of countering them.  For all of these reasons, I believe it is imperative that we expeditiously acquire the new Long Range Strike aircraft.      

As to our hearing, I look forward to discussing the Air Force’s ability to provide a ready force now and to maintain and transition the current force to a new LRS-B centered force in the 2040 timeframe. Additionally, the committee has concerns about the ability of the Air Force to manage program costs given Tony Capaccio’s recent Bloomberg article that brought to light a 10-year cost estimate error running in the multiple billions of dollars between FY15 and FY16.  Finally, I am concerned about the continued delay in the LRS-B award that in my estimation is costing the USAF approximately $100 million a month and will undoubtedly result in reduced LRS-B FY16 authorizations and appropriations.

Once again I want to thank our witness for participating in our hearing this afternoon and I look forward to discussing this important topic.”

McCain: Stalled NDAA Reconciled

By Joe Gould 1:09 p.m. EDT September 29, 2015



WASHINGTON — The stalled 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has been reconciled by House and Senate conferees, and a conference report is due imminently, Senate Armed Services Chair John McCain confirmed Tuesday.

Though McCain did not say negotiations were complete, he said an announcement is expected this afternoon — an expected end to wrangling over differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, which in recent weeks included military pay and benefits, acquisition reform, and plans to close Guantanamo Bay.

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry told reporters Monday he and McCain had made “good progress” and that he was “very much hopeful” it would be finalized this week, Politico reported.

In late June, McCain told reporters he expected to have the conference report out in early July.


09/29/2015 02:13 PM CDT

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Top officials from the Defense Department and the intelligence community told a Senate panel that defense and deterrence are two of the highest priorities for bolstering the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities. Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work testified on cybersecurity policy and threats before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sept. 29, 2015. Joining him were Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and Navy Adm. Mike Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency. DoD photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Defense, Intel Leaders: Cybersecurity Priorities are Defense, Deterrence

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON September 29, 2015 —

Defense and deterrence are two of the highest priorities for bolstering the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities, top officials from the Defense Department and the intelligence community told a Senate panel here today.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work testified on cybersecurity policy and threats before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Joining him were Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency.

In his remarks to the panel, Clapper said that for the third year in a row, cyberthreats headed the list of threats reported in the annual National Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment.

“Although we must be prepared for a large Armageddon-scale strike that would debilitate the entire U.S. infrastructure, that is not … the most likely scenario,” Clapper added.

Integrating Intelligence

The primary concern is low- to moderate-level cyberattacks from a growing range of sources that will continue and probably expand, he said, adding that in the future he expects to see more cyber operations that manipulate electronic information to compromise its integrity, as opposed to deleting or disrupting access to it.

Clapper said President Barack Obama has directed him to form a small center that will integrate cyberthreat intelligence from across federal agencies, as do centers established over the years for counterterrorism, counterproliferation and counterintelligence.

In his remarks to the panel, Work said recent cyber intrusions involving the Office of Personnel Management, the Joint Staff and Sony by three separate state actors are “not just espionage of convenience, but a threat to our national security.”

Earlier this year, the department released a new strategy to guide the development of its cyber forces and strengthen its cybersecurity and cyber deterrence postures. The previous cyber strategy was released in 2011.

DoD Core Missions

As laid out in the new strategy, DoD’s core missions are to defend DoD network systems and information, defend the nation against cyber events of significant consequence, and provide cyber support to operational and contingency plans.

“In this regard, U.S. Cyber Command may be directed to conduct cyber operations in coordination with other government agencies … to deter and defeat strategic threats in other domains,” Work said.

On cyber deterrence, Work acknowledged that he and Defense Secretary Ash Carter “recognize that we are not where we need to be in our deterrent posture,” and the revised strategy is designed to help improve cyber deterrence.

Deterrence works by convincing any potential adversary that the costs of conducting an attack far outweigh potential benefits, Work said, describing the three pillars of the cyber deterrence strategy as denial, resilience and cost imposition.

Cyber Deterrence

“Denial means preventing the cyber adversary from achieving his objectives; resilience is ensuring that our systems will perform their essential military tasks even when they are contested in the cyber environment; and cost imposition is our ability to make our adversaries pay a much higher price for malicious activities than they [expected],” the deputy secretary explained.

Work said that because nearly every successful network exploitation involving the Defense Department can be traced to one or more human errors that allowed entry into the network, raising the level of individual cybersecurity awareness and performance is critical.

“As part of this effort, we recently published a cybersecurity discipline implementation plan and a scorecard that is brought before the secretary and me every month,” he said.

The scorecard holds commanders accountable for hardening and protecting their critical systems, and allows them to hold their personnel accountable, Work said, noting that the first scorecard was published in August.

“Denial also means defending the nation against cyberthreats of significant consequence,” Work said, “and the president has directed DoD, working in partnership with other agencies, to be prepared to blunt and stop the most dangerous cyber events.”

Fighting Through Cyberattacks

On resilience, Work explained that adversaries view DoD’s cyber dependence as a potential wartime vulnerability, so the department views its ability to fight through cyberattacks as a critical mission function.

“That means normalizing cybersecurity as part of our mission-assurance efforts, building redundancy whenever our systems are vulnerable, and training constantly to operate in a contested environment. Our adversaries have to see that these cyberattacks will not provide them a significant operational advantage,” Work said.

The third aspect of deterrence means demonstrating the ability to respond through cyber and non-cyber means to impose costs on a potential adversary.

“The administration has made clear that we respond to cyberattacks in the time, manner and place of our choosing, and the department has developed cyber options to hold an aggressor at risk in cyberspace if required,” Work said.

Measurable Progress

During his testimony, Rogers said the military is in constant contact with agile, learning adversaries in cyberspace who have shown the capacity and willingness to take action against soft targets in the United States.

Some countries are integrating cyber operations into a total strategic concept for advancing their regional ambitions, he said, “to use cyber operations to influence the perceptions and actions of states around them and shape what we see as our options for supporting allies and friends in a crisis.”

“We need to deter these activities by showing that they are unacceptable, unprofitable and risky for the instigators,” he added.

U.S. Cyber Command is building capabilities that contribute to deterrence, the admiral told the panel.

“We are hardening our networks and showing an opponent that cyber aggression won’t be easy,” Rogers said. “We are creating the mission force — trained and ready like any other maneuver element that is defending DoD networks — supporting joint force commanders and helping defend critical infrastructure within our nation.”

U.S. Cyber Command has made measurable progress, he added. “We are achieving significant operational outcomes and we have a clear path ahead.”

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)


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