Issue Briefs

Five Money-Pit Projects The U.S. Air Force Can Do Without

Five Money-Pit Projects The U.S. Air Force Can Do Without

July 25, 2019

By Loren B. Thompson

The U.S. Air Force is currently flying the oldest, smallest fleet of combat aircraft in its history. It has fewer than 200 heavy bombers to cover the entire world, and many are not available for flight on a typical day. Most of the aerial refueling tankers that are supposed to support those bombers on long-range missions are over 50 years old. Hundreds of Air Force fighters suffer from age-related maladies such as corrosion, metal fatigue and parts obsolescence. These problems are all traceable to low levels of investment in new technology for two decades after the Cold War ended.

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The views and opinions expressed in this issue brief are those of the author.

Loren B. Thompson is a Senior Adviser at GPI, Chief Operating Officer of the non-profit Lexington Institute and Chief Executive Officer of Source Associates, a for-profit consultancy. Prior to holding his present positions, he was Deputy Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and taught graduate-level courses in strategy, technology and media affairs at Georgetown. He has also taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Thompson holds doctoral and masters degrees in government from Georgetown University and a bachelor of science degree in political science from Northeastern University.