The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] is recognized for 60 minutes.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, today I wanted to take this special order because I believe the House of Representatives at this crucial moment is going to take up an issue of extraordinary concern to our country, to President Bush, to Dick Cheney, and to the Joint Chiefs, an issue, I think, that is crucially important to the American people. And that is the future of our strategic bomber force and the modernization of that bomber force.
I have been a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for the last 13 years, and during that time, we started this program, the B-2 program. It was started under President Carter.
I can remember the great significance and importance of this program, when we were briefed by Secretary Harold Brown and the Joint Chiefs at that time regarding the importance of stealth technology and how crucial stealth technology might be.
During much of the 1980's, during the Reagan administration, this program, which was a very classified program, went ahead and development proceeded. Last year, of course, the program was taken out of the black world, the world of classified programs, and was presented to the American people.
The program, as all of us know, has been slowed down. We have, in essence, been doing the R&D on the program and preparing production. We are in production. A lot of times people do not realize that we are in production of the B-2. And the crucial point has been that we have slowed the program down in order to make certain that we have a good program.
I wanted to report to the House of Representatives today and to the American people that the initial flight testing on the B-2 bomber has gone extraordinarily well. And now we have done some of the basic work on the stealthiness of, the low observable testing of the B-2, and it has gone very, very well in that respect. So I think I can report to the American people and to the Congress that we are not going to have the same kind of problems on the B-2 that we have had on the B-1. I think we are going to have an extraordinarily good airplane, an airplane that will do the job out in the future.
Now, much has been made by the critics of this program about its costs.
It is a very significant program in terms of cost. We are talking about a program in the range of $60 to $70 billion in total costs. I think it is the cost issue itself that, when you think about it, makes the best case for the B-2.
Over this last decade as we developed this aircraft that we have now tested, we have spent somewhere between $30 and $35 billion for 15 aircraft. These are the planes that we have been testing. These are the planes you have seen on television. These are the planes that are being flown against the radars in order to test it for low observability.
Not all of those 15 planes are constructed, but we have several that we are running through that testing program.
We made that investment, that sunk-cost investment. We have paid for over half of this entire program, and not to finish, to get what Secretary Cheney has called a very formidable force of 75 B-2 bombers, and as you may remember, we were talking about 132 bombers; in order to get 75, we need to buy 60 more, and we can get that 60 more for somewhere between $28 and $30 billion.
Crucial to that is ramping up the cost, or ramping up the production rate, not ramping up the cost. The cost is significant enough. As we ramp up the production rate, it will drive down the unit cost, and we can get a bomber force of 75.
Now, when you couple that with the 97 B-1B's and our B-52's, which are basically used for cruise-missile carrying, the B-1's for penetration, and the B-2's we would have a very formidable bomber force for the future. In fact, the Rand Corp. has done a study which I would place in the Record today that clearly outlines that this kind of bomber force would be extraordinarily good, that it would have great capability, that you would have the older B-52's to carry cruise missiles, you's have the B-2's to penetrate Soviet air defenses, you'd have the B-1's to play that same role of penetration, possibly a cruise-missile carrier at a later date, and you wouild have the B-2 which could not only penetrate Soviet air defenses but it could also be used conventionally much as the F-117 Stealth fighter was used in the gulf war.
So the key point that we want to make today is that it is time to make a decision. It is time to move this program forward. We have gone through the testing, and the testing has been very, very good.
The opponents of this program say, `Let us kill it at 15. Let us end it at 15.' I asked at a hearing this week, or last week actually, at a hearing that was held before the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, I asked Lee Butler, the head of the Strategic Air Command, `What could you do if the advocates of actually killing the B-2 actually killed it, could you use 15 aircraft? Would it be meaningful militarily?'
His unequivocal answer was that 15 B-2's simply did not make any sense. It was not a force that we could use.
I mean, obviously I would love to see the full 75, and I think the analysis shows that you need 75 if you are going to use them both in the conventional and strategic sense, but clearly 15 and killing the program, this simply does not make sense.
If you did kill the B-2 bomber because it is so expensive, what would happen? The Air Force would immediately be told by the President to go out and build another bomber, go out and start all over. That would be totally ridiculous. We would have invested $35 billion of the American people's money, their hard-earned wealth, and gotten very little for it.
The head of the Strategic Air Command, Mr. Butler, was asked a question, `Do you think it is out of line to spend $28 billion to $30 billion to get those additional 60 planes?' And he answered back and said, `It would be a great investment, because then we would have a bomber that could be used as a hedge against the failure of our ICBM leg or SLBM leg, and we would also hav ea bomber that we could use in the conventional role.'
Now think about it. Let us assume that President Bush had had the B-2 bomber and we had it deployed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, and Saddam was on the border of Kuwait and Iraq ready to invade Saudi Arabia, if the President had had a B-2 bomber, he could have ordered it into action, and with one aerial refueling off the coast of Spain, the B-2 could have attacked Baghdad against the same kind of targets that the F-117 went against, those surface-to-air missiles, their radars, the nuclear, biological, and chemical facilities, the leadership. They could have gone against all of those same targets that the F-117 attacked, and could have done it with complete surprise, complete impunity, and at the same time another squadron of B-2's could have attacked the forces, the Republican Guards, that were massing on the border of Iraq and Kuwait, and they could have attacked those tanks with conventional weapons that are being developed. So it gives the President an enormous option that he does not have with the B-1 and B-52.
And why is that? The B-1 and the B-52 can both be seen by enemy radars. If you flew them into Baghdad, they would have been shot down. We would have lost the crews. We would have had a failed mission, and the President would have had to wait until air supremacy was achieved in order to use those existing heavy bombers.
So what we have learned from the gulf is that Stealth technology works, and when you compare the F-117 with the B-2, the B-2 carries 10 times as much ordnance and ammunition and weapons, and it flies 5 times as far. It is a much more capable asset.
Frankly, the F-117's have to be used in a situation like we had where we had airfields in Saudi Arabia, and you could fly from those airfields in Saudi Arabia and attack, and even then it has to have heavy tankering, because it has range limitations.
So what the B-2 does, it gives you legs. It gives you distance. And it gives the President of the United States a very powerful option. He can use the B-2 in any kind of a situation with the Soviet Union as a deterrent weapon, and we do not expect to have a problem there, but we have to be careful and protect that option.
But, more importantly, and the kind of contingencies we have seen in Panama, in Grenada, in Libya, in the gulf, he would have the capability to have an asset that, with one refueling, could reach any crisis area around the world.
That is why President Bush, Dick Cheney, Don Rice, Larry McPeak, our top military commanders, have made the B-2 bomber their No. 1 priority this year.
As I was trying to get to, if we did not do this, the Air Force would have to go out and buy something else.
My good friend, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Chandler] is here. Let us say that they went out and bought some of those 747's that we produce at Everett, WA, and they had to militarize those 747's, and they threw every cruise missile we could on them, and that would probably cost somewhere between $400 and $500 million per airplane, but it would not be stealthy, and that is the point. We have got the B-52's to do that mission.
So I think killing this program at this time, now that we know we have got a good program, it would be a mistake of historic proportions, and that is why I have taken this special order today to urge my colleagues on the Committee on Armed Services to take another look at this program, to look at what happened with stealth technology in the gulf, to look and see where we are on the B-2 program, that it has gone through its testing, that it is going to be stealthier than we thought it was going to be.
That it can be used not only in a strategic deterrent role to hedge against the failure of our own ICBM's, we were talking about mobility. We were talking about rail garrison. We were talking about Midgetman. Both of those programs have been slowed down, and what we have done is put our chips on that B-2. We have said that this is our highest strategic priority.
That is why I feel it is so important for the committee leadership, particularly the chairman of the committee, to make this evidence known to the Members, to show them the Rand study, which clearly says that having a bomber force with a B-2 in it makes sense, to look at the testing, and to look at the testimony by General Horner. General Horner presented some very impressive testimony before our committee. In case Members have forgotten, General Horner was the person that ran the air war out in the gulf. He showed the various packages of aircraft that they used in the gulf. This is focusing more on the F-117. In one situation that they were faced with there was a plant up in the north that they wanted to attack. In order to do that, he had to put together 67 airplanes. He had to have the bomb-dropping airplanes. He had to have fighters to escort those bomb droppers. He had to have jammers up there to jam their electronics. He had to have a whole host of tankers. The package of aircraft, 67 airplanes in that package, and would Members like to know what happened? The air defense in Iraq, and everyone thinks this was a piece of cake. It was not a piece of cake. Members ought to talk to the pilots who flew the F-117, but this group of aircraft led by some of our advanced technology planes, none of them stealthy, they could not get the job done.
So the next day, do Members know what they did? They went back and said they would take 8 F-117's and 2 tankers, and they will fly up there and see what they can do. They went up at the dead of night, came in and hit them with complete and total surprise. They never knew they were there because of their stealth. They destroyed this facility and they got the job done.
Now the comparison is important. The costs of that standard package of 67 aircraft that could not get the job done, procurement costs in 20-year O&S cost, totaled $6.5 billion. The costs to those 8 F-117's and the 2 tankers is $1.5 billion. Stealth saves, No. 1; but more importantly than that, stealth saves lives. The lives of our pilots, young men and women whom we are sending in harm's way in combat. If they are in a stealthy plane that the enemy radars cannot see, they will have a better chance of surviving, to fight another day.
We did not lose one single F-117 in this war. It was the fact that we had stealth and precision munitions, together, that gave the United States that tremendous conventional capability. Think about it. We will have the B-2 bomber that is just as stealthy, if not more so, than the F-117. We have newer technology in the B-2 bomber, and it can go 5 times as far, with 10 times the payload. That is why I think it would be criminal, literally criminal, if we allowed this plane to be killed at this point in time. That is why I have taken this special order today.
I notice that two of my colleagues are here. I will want to yield to them, and I appreciate very much their coming over. I think the case is so strong, and not only are we going to save lives and save money, but we will have a weapons system that will give the United States the technological advantage over all of our adversaries for the next 40 years. That is what has made America's military capability so great. We have always had technological superiority. We have always been one step ahead of our principal adversaries. The world is not going to get less dangerous. We have instability in the Soviet Union. We have Third World countries that have
very sophisticated surface-to-air missiles that will shoot our kids down unless we put in the next generation of weapons, stealth technology. That is why if they say kill the B-2 and go to something else, we have to ask them, how much will that cost? Is it stealthy? Will it survive? The answer, clearly, is that something that is not stealthy cannot go in harm's way without a heck of a lot of cost. It is so crucial, those F-117's being able to go in and kill those surface-to-air missiles, instantly. It got the U.S. air supremacy. Once we got air supremacy, Saddam could not get his planes up. As General Horner said, they were faced with either putting their fighters in shelters, or flying them to Iran. There was no other option because we had total air superiority. Then we could bring in the B-52's that were not stealthy, and we bombed the Republican Guards into submission. That made the ground war easier. That made the United States able to win that ground war in less than 100 hours, and to win it decisively. However, it all goes back to the technological advantage we had with stealth. Stealth gave the United States the edge. It saved lives. It saved money. It won a great victory for this country.
Now I will yield to the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Chandler], and after that I will yield to the gentleman from California [Mr. Lewis]. The gentleman from Washington is a leading expert on aviation, and a valued colleague of mine who I have served with for a number of years in the House of Representatives. The gentleman is an expert on stealth and on our bomber force.
Mr. CHANDLER. Mr. Speaker, my colleagues in Washington and I attended a session of some people from home the other day. He had to leave, but I made some remarks that I would like to repeat now.
I think it is important that people understand that when we went to war in the desert, we did not have a choice but to face down what was essentially a threat to the stability of the entire world. The reason that we prevailed was in no small part because we had superior weaponry with superior people operating those weapons, weapons that were available, weapons that worked. I want to say that my colleague from the State of Washington [Mr. Dicks] is to a great deal responsible for that fact, because at times out here on the floor of this House and in the Committee on Appropriations when those votes were mighty tough, in days when no Member saw anything like Desert Storm coming, my colleagues, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] was there. He did take those tough votes. I credit him with leadership in helping to bring about what was a victory in Desert Storm and in which there was minimal loss of life, which we are all grateful for.
I think much has been said by my colleagues, and I would like to simply make several points here as we look at the future. My guess is that the next conflict, and we all pray that there is not one, but this is an unstable world. There are interests in the United States and in our allies around the world that have to be protected. With that in mind, it seems to me that we have to ask ourselves three fundamental questions about whatever program it is that we are considering.
No. 1, is the program necessary? No. 2, does the program perform to specifications? No. 3, is it cost effective?
I want to answer those three questions about the B-2 bomber. One, is the B-2 bomber needed? As my colleague says, absolutely yes. Without the B-2 bomber, we have no effective penetrating bomber by the end of this decade, and there is no substitute, Mr. Speaker, for manned bombers. It would be wonderful if there were, but there is not. Therefore, we need a manned bomber. With the cancellation of the A-12, the B-2, and the F-117A will be the only operational Stealth aircraft.
With the reduction of forces worldwide, and reduced access to bases abroad, we for example, do not know yet what will happen in the Philippines in our ability to use the bases there. We need not only the F-117A, which is a short-range tanker-dependent fighter jet, fighter-bomber, but we need the longer range, great capacity of the B-2. We need both.
I have heard people say that if the V-117A worked so well in the Persian Gulf, why do we not just go with that? I have just given Members the answer, because as my colleague points out, that is a short-range tanker-dependent aircraft, tankers which are not stealthy at all, and they are and can be because of that vulnerability.
The second question. Does the B-2 work? Again, absolutely yes. The combat results in Desert Storm show us the effectiveness of stealth technology. We saw the high-target kills, the number of sorties necessary to bring about those kills, and at the same time with no Stealth losses and no loss of U.S. pilots' lives.
The F-117A's represented only 2 1/2 percent of the coalition aircraft assets, but covered 31 percent of the targets in the first 24 hours of that war.
Now, the important point here is we not only were able to take out surface-to-air missiles, but we were also able to take out radar.
I have heard some of the B-2 critics say, yes, I have heard some of the B-2 critics say, `Yes, but you can still see a B-2 on radar.'
Well, it may well be, but it looks like a sparrow hawk or a goose or some other bird, if you can see it at all.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield on that point?
Mr. CHANDLER. Yes. The gentleman has the time.
Mr. DICKS. The crucial point, and I want to make sure everyone hear this, it is one thing to get a glimpse briefly of the B-2 on radar. That may have happened out in the gulf. Some of the other planes said they might have seen it, but that does not shoot it down. You have to be able to send a plane to attack it or to vector a surface-to-air missile to engage it. They cannot do that.
Mr. CHANDLER. That is right.
Mr. DICKS. We have a red team at MIT that looks into all these so-called theories about overcoming stealth and so far thank God none of it is proven. None of it works. The case in the gulf is proof in itself. We sent them in there. They flew all the tough missions. They had the toughest highly defended targets. None of them were shot down. That is the proof.
Mr. CHANDLER. And you also cannot see a Stealth or any other kind of bomber with radar that does not exist. One of the chief missions of the B-2 bomber would be to take out those radars in the early hours of a war.
Another point that I think is worth making here is because of stealth technology and because of the ability to gain air superiority, we can manage to fight an air war, as we did in the gulf, with regrettably some, but at the same time minimal civilian casualties.
One of the things we and our leaders set out to do early in the war was to minimize casualties, and we did.
The final question to ask and to answer, is the B-2 affordable? Again, the answer is yes. It is affordable in terms of our present ability to pay and it is a good investment in terms of military capability for money invested. In terms of remaining costs, more than half of the cost of the program has already been paid.
I could cite some other evidence. I will simply submit that for the Record, Mr. Speaker, and simply conclude by saying, as my colleague did, I did not want to vote to send any American to war, but on January 16 I took that vote because I felt that our interest as a nation, the interests of our allies were threatened.
With that vote, one that was the single most difficult that I have ever taken in the Congress of the United States, I put at risk the sons and daughters of men and women in this country in my State and in my district.
I may well have to take that vote again. I pray to God that I do not, but if I do, I want to know that those young men and women who go to war are in the best possible equipment that we can provide, and the B-2 bomber is one very important element in providing that security for our country, for our allies and for those young men and women.
Again my compliments and thanks to the gentleman for taking this special order.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Washington being here. This is a Monday and a lot of Members are not here who wanted to participate. We have a stealth caucus in the House, of which the gentleman is an active member. I just compliment the gentleman on his statement. It is a good statement. It makes sense. I just hope that our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee when they make their markups in the next couple days will pay heed to the wise counsel that he has given them.
Now I yield to the gentleman from California [Mr. Lewis], a new member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, but a veteran in this House of Representatives, one of the most respected Members of the Republican minority, who has been a good friend of mine and someone who has great judgment, part of the leadership on the Republican side. I just want to say that I am pleased the gentleman is here. I yield to the gentleman at this point so that he can further discuss one of America's important defense priorities.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleagues from Washington for this opportunity to participate in this discussion regarding American technology. Indeed, it is important to discuss our future ability to provide leadership in the world not only for our national defense, but also for the defense of freedom. I believe that the B-2 and stealth technology will provide the kind of leadership that allows a sustainable peace for all peoples of the world.
This Member has generally been a supporter of our military spending through the 1980's. My support for national defense is in no small part because my district in California probably has as many, if not more, military installations than any district in the country.
It has been relatively easy for me philosophically to reflect the attitude of my district; but from time to time I have had doubts about ever-escalating defense budgets and I have questioned some of those programs that were on the edge of technology.
Indeed, when the debates had taken place in the past regarding the B-2 bomber and people talked about costs that might push half-a-billion dollars per plane, I scratched my head, along with the American people, and said, `Wait a minute,' even though, in the final analysis, I was a supporter of stealth technology and the B-2.
Once I became a member of the subcommittee on which the gentleman so ably serves, I could not help but face the reality that this new position meant my vote might make more of a difference on some of the most significant expenditures in the DOD budget. That forced me to take a different kind of look at this specific technology; that is, stealth and the B-2. I spent much of the last 2 months on in-depth briefings and analyses of this program, and it is becauses of this extensive effort that I have come to join with the gentleman today in this discussion of the B-2.
The opportunity for me to participate in that kind of analysis and effort, coming almost in confluence with this incredible experience in the Middle East, offers a distinct and unique chance to view the B-2 in a different kind of way.
The American people are proud of our country's recent success in the Middle East. There is little doubt that our tremendous success results from the efforts of our defense workers in delivering and producing the goods. There is a sense of pride in this country about our ability to defend ourselves that I have not seen since World War II.
In that context, I think it is very important to focus upon why we were so successful. We won because our taxpayers were willing to commit huge dollars to keep us on the cutting edge of technology. In every sphere of effort in the Middle East, those who helped produce the technology led the way. This allowed our service men and women to be successful.
Incredibly, the Stealth F-117 was on the battlefield. They were used in this war and in the first 2 days, flew between 2 and 3 percent of the missions--
Mr. DICKS. Two or three percent of our total assets, 31 percent of the missions.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Yes. The F-117's were 2 to 3 percent of the assets and yet delivered on target almost 40 percent of the important hits.
Mr. DICKS. That is right.
Mr. LEWIS of California. They delivered those hits on Baghdad while facing levels of ground-to-air defense that only can be matched in Eastern European countries--a very, very tremendous achievement.
Mr. DICKS. The gentleman is absolutely correct. The facts are absolutely there as the gentleman stated.
Mr. LEWIS of California. As my colleague stated, he has a chart. The gentleman has beside him a chart which he has not had a chance to talk about yet, but it might be good for us to have an exchange regarding that because it makes my point relative to the, first, the technology of the F-117 Stealth fighter-bombers and their potential value, leading to a discussion of the real value of the B-2 technology. The red portion of that chart shows an absolute mission flown, 75 planes in that armada, and the need for the fighter-bombers themselves, a need for airplanes that can disrupt the enemy's ability to target those planes that are actually going to deliver those bombs or armament. There are behind the planes to be in the business of refueling that whole armada. Literally what we have there is a huge set of assets that cost a huge amount of money being put to risk in a military theater where there is action taking place.
Mr. DICKS. That standard package of aircraft, they failed in that particular mission.
Mr. LEWIS of California. That is correct.
Mr. DICKS. And then if we look at the second one, the precision weapons, where we have smart weapons on those planes, that is another big cost. What they finally had to do was to get those eight F-117's, two tankers at a cost of $1.5 billion over 20 years, versus the standard package which had a procurement cost in 20-year cost of $6.5 billion. This one--indicating--got the job done, and we did not lose any pilots. They all came back to fly another mission the next day. These people in the standard package had to turn back because the air defenses were so heavy.
So I think this shows it better than anything what the value of Stealth really is in terms of real combat. Then to think about this, the B-2 could have done the same mission either from Saudi Arabia or, with one air refueling, from the United States of America at the President's request. They could have flown a B-2, if we had it, over there and accomplished that same mission at the cost of $1.3 billion.
Mr. LEWIS of California. That chart dramatically makes the point that flying standard missions with stealth technology saves a great deal of money because so much less valuable equipment is put at risk.
More importantly, Stealth saves lives. When you fly fewer planes and put fewer crews at risk, you can make an important difference. Substantually fewer people could do the job and actually accomplish the mission. Clearly, we should think about the value of that technology.
Mr. DICKS. The gentleman is absolutely correct. Not only does it save lives, it gets the job done and it gets it done more rapidly. As you remember, it was those first few days when we used the 117's to go in and take on those most difficult targets, and if we had not been able to do that, we would have been flying standard packages like this in there and we would have lost a lot of airplanes, a lot of kids would have lost their lives needlessly.
So, what we need for the future is the ability with Stealth, both the 117's, the B-2's, the ATF advanced tactical fighter and, hopefully some day, the A-12, to have enough of this kind of capability so that in any combat situation we go in with our stealth airplanes first, we devastate the opponent, gain air superiority, and then we can go back and use those standard aircraft very effectively once we have air superiority. And that is the way we are going to operate in the future.
So, I appreciate very much the input of the gentleman into this and his terribly important role on the committee.
I wish more of our Members, I say to the gentleman from California, would go out and see the bomber, go out to Edwards Air Force Base or out to Norfolk and actually see the plane, talk to the people.
A lot was made, as the gentleman knows, that this program was in trouble. But we have got that thing straightened out. The F-117 was in trouble, the M-1 tank was in trouble, the Bradley fighting vehicle was in trouble; these programs, when you are out there at the edge of technology, doing something no one has ever done before, it is not easy.
You are going to hear in the press that they have had problems, sure. I have been on this committee for 13 years. One thing I have learned is you stay with it because if you kill it, the cost, $35 billion down the toilet, gone. And it is done, we have invested it. Now it is time to get the reward, the return on investment. Now we get 60 planes for less than $35 billion, somewhere around $28 to $30 billion, for 60 additional aircraft. And they have proven themselves in the gulf, that this kind of technology works.
So, I think it would be ludicrous. Then we would have to start over and try to build something else.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Of course. The gentleman's chart presents to us another chapter of this whole discussion. It seems to me, that while the gentleman has made the point, it could be made in another way.
The American public was extremely proud of our men and women and the results they achieved in the Middle East. One of the reasons for that success involves Saddam Hussein and his fundamental mistake. Who would have believed that George Bush
could almost overnight, move 200,000 of our troops to the Middle East? Just think what might have occurred if we had not had, almost 5 months to get ready.
Mr. DICKS. Right.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Saddam Hussein might have, attacked Saudi Arabia immediately after he went into Kuwait. If he had done that, the challenge to our troops would have been fundamentally different.
Mr. DICKS. The gentleman is absolutely on target here.
I was out there visiting General Schwarzkopf before the gentleman was on that committee. In the first 4 or 5 weeks we finally got the 82d out there. We had a Marine expeditionary force.
He was terrified that they would invade, that they would see this coming and figure it is better to attack now and take them on now. Frankly, we would have not had in theater the capability to defend those kids. We could have had a devastating defeat.
Mr. LEWIS of California. It could have been very devastating.
Mr. DICKS. And think about it, if we had had the B-2, the President of the United States, if he had seen that they were going to attack into Saudi Arabia, he could have flown that B-2 out of Whiteman Air Force Base with one refueling to attack not only those troops massed on the border of Iraq and Kuwait, but also he could have attacked Baghdad. He could have gone right to Baghdad, gone after the command and control, gone after Saddam Hussein, gone after all his forces, nuclear, biological, chemical, and the suface-to-air missiles. He could have gone directly there to attack with one squadron, and he could also have gone down there and defended our kids.
He did not have the other aircraft out there; it took a while to get those planes out there.
Mr. LEWIS of California. It took a while.
Mr. DICKS. It was a point of vulnerability. We were very, very fortunate. The gentleman makes a very important contribution to this debate by pointing that out.
Mr. LEWIS of California. It seems to me the B-2 has global presence. It could have taken off here, or it could have taken off from Diego Garcia. As the chart indicates, two B-2's, with no support behind them, could have accomplished the mission that was involved here. More significantly, they could have provided protection for those troops at a critical moment, if indeed, Saddam Hussein had crossed the border.
The B-2 has the capacity to reach around the globe, the capacity to carry tremendous levels of ordnance, deliver it where needed, and deliver it in conventional kinds of warfare.
Mr. DICKS. Right. The point the gentleman makes, I want to make sure the American people know what we are talking about here today; we are talking about a bomber, we are not talking about nuclear weapons, we are talking about a bomber where we can use conventional ordnance, the same basic ordnance that the B-52 has. We are just going to smarten it up, we are going to make it precision-guided munitions in the next generation so you can fly a plane with stealth into the heaviest areas, use the smart weapons to get to the targets that are crucial and get them there early.
What we are going to do is smarten up this bomber and make it even a better conventional weapon. And at the same time, if we can get 75, we will have enough of these bombers to have some on alert as a deterrent against the kind of uncertainty that we face in the Soviet Union in the traditional Strategic Air Command responsibility of having a strategic deterrent, a nuclear deterrent.
So, in essence I think this is one of the greatest investments American people can get in defense. We get our No. 1 priority; we get a weapon that we can use conventionally in situations like the gulf. We also have it during the time, and we do not want to be at war ever, but when we are at peace, it can be part of our deterrent force, and, if called upon, it can penetrate into the heart of the Soviet Union, and I must say that I hope we have great peace with the Soviet Union.
Mr. Speaker, I believe in detente, I believe in arms control, and I want to talk about that in a minute, but I also see great uncertainty in the Soviet Union. I see the republics rising up against the central government. Mr. Gorbachev is having trouble with the economy. There is great uncertainty there, and they still posses 31,000 nuclear weapons, and we do not know who is going to wind up in charge of all those nuclear weapons. And so at a time when, as the gentleman knows, we have stopped everything else in strategic modernization; we have said, `18 Tridents; that's the end,' we are saying only D-5's on the Atlantic Tridents. We are holding up on the Peacekeeper rail garrison, and we are holding up on Midgetman. So, this is really the only area in strategic modernization.
Mr. Speaker, we used to get 13 percent of the strategic budget that went to these kinds of weapons for deterrence, and now it is down to about 6.5 percent.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Washington [Mr. Dicks] has very neatly taken me to the next point I want to make regarding the B-2 in this debate.
Critics of the B-2 have suggested that there is no longer a need for us to worry about the Soviet Union and their nuclear threat. They say that this airplane, which was designed largely for deterrence in terms of the nuclear threat, is not necessary, and that we cannot justify the expenditure.
There are two points I would like to make in connection with that, one of which the gentleman made already very well in another way. It is very clear that the Soviet Union currently is in a very, very volatile condition. Her politics are horrid. Her economy is worse than our economy has been in the worst time in our history, during the years of the Great Depression. We do not know what the circumstances are going to be near term in the Soviet Union, and indeed changes could take place that could be very theatening to world peace.
Mr. Speaker, as the gentleman has indicated, the Soviet Union continues to build her nuclear base. She has ICBM capability that literally could destroy the free world, if given a free hand. The nuclear deterrence potential of 75 Stealth bombers that can reach around the globe, does affect people in the Soviet Union. They better be very
cautious before dismissing that challenge.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. LEWIS of California. I am happy to yield.
Mr. DICKS. See, it is the synergistic relationship of each leg of the triad. Our submarines at sea, stealthy; that is where we first learned about Stealth; they are highly survivable. Our land-based leg of the triad, our ICBM's, are in fixed silos. They could be targeted. So, it is crucial in the air breathing, with our B-1's, our B-52's and the B-2, that we have in essence two different important capabilities. We have a penetrater, an assured penetrater, with the B-2 that can go in against all those heavily defended targets, just like the ones around Baghdad, the ones that the Soviets have that are heavily defended.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Correct.
Mr. DICKS. And you also have cruise-missile-carrying B-52's, and later the B-1, that can stand off and shoot cruise missiles in. Therefore the Soviets, and I must say to the gentleman that I am amazed with their economy that they do what they do, but they are still building ICBM's, SLBM's. They are still building air defenses. They have the thickest, most difficult air defenses with surface-to-air missiles and fighters that can go out and attack incoming bombers, and, if we have a one dimensional system, a one dimensional U.S. air-breathing leg that could not penetrate, and there is good evidence that the B-52's and the B-1's later on will not be able to penetrate, then they can bring their fighters and their SU AWACS out to the periphery and stop our cruise missile carriers from getting close enough to attack targets in the Soviet Union. Therefore they do not have coverage, but they cannot do that if at the same time there is a penetrating bomber, a B-2 that can go in with Stealth to the heart of the country. They then have to defend against both, and it makes the challenge for them so great that I do not think they would ever risk nuclear war.
So, we never want these systems for war fighting, but, if we have to, we of course would use them. What we want them for is to deter anyone from ever considering attacking the United States.
And we have to remember the Soviet Union still possesses the capability to devastate America within 30 minutes, and that is why--and it has worked ever since after World War II--that it is so important to have a highly credible deterrent, and that is why I think in this situation we get a weapon that is a first-class penetrater, an asset of crucial importance to our strategic range, that triad of systems, and also we get a penetrater that could be used in a conventional setting.
Mr. LEWIS of California. The gentleman is correct.
Mr. DICKS. And we put that together, and in essence what we are giving the American people are two bombers for the price of one, and we have invested a lot of their money in it, and to walk away from it at this point, I think I cannot think of a mistake of more historic proportions of showing we have lost our will and resolve to stay at the forefront of technology than doing this deed.
I am surprised by some of the people in fact who are supporting doing this because I think, if they will just look
at this new evidence, they will see that the case here makes incredibly good sense.
Mr. LEWIS of California. I must say that my colleagues provide a tremendous service here today. Many of our colleagues are looking several ways at this technological expenditure. Suddenly, there is a new environment, and they are willing to look again, regarding the value of B-2 and its potential.
But let me mention this. Our critics suggest that we really cannot afford the expenditure simply for nuclear deterrence. I think we have set that aside in this discussion. It is important to note this. When we take a look at the purpose of B-2, we discover defense leaders in 1981 who were calling for the creation of an advanced strategic penetrating aircraft, now known as the B-2. Their original mission statement said,
This aircraft shall provide a capability across a total range of international confrontations and be effective in both nuclear and conventional weapons delivery missions.
It was meant as well as to be a conventional system. The B-2 will probably become the most significant breakthrough in terms of conventional warfare and our ability to defend ourselves in the history of our defense effort.
Mr. DICKS. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. LEWIS of California. Happy to yield.
Mr. DICKS. Yesterday I was up in Boston, and I saw the future, the sensor fused weapons system. This is going to be a new conventional weapon: smart.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Correct.
Mr. DICKS. It can literally be carried on the B-2. Thousands of them may be carried, and they have the capability of destroying tanks in the field because they hit them from the top. With that kind of a smart conventional weapon and the B-2 stealthiness, I mean we could have a future conventional weapon--the gentleman is absolutely correct--that we have never even conceived of in terms of the devastation it could present to a whole column of, say, hundreds, if not thousands, of enemy tanks, if they are clustered together. I mean we could come in with B-2's and attack them conventionally in a way that we have never been able to do before.
So, it seems to me that the case is solid.
Now I want to say the cost. The gentleman brought up cost, and I want to say another point. There are a lot of people out there saying that we better rather spend the money on education, or housing, or transportation, and I have to tell the gentleman that I support those priorities. I want to spend money on those things.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Of course.
Mr. DICKS. But we have reached a budget agreement with the administration in which we have said basically that we are going to cut defense--between 1985 and 1996 defense spending will have declined in real terms by 34 percent. We are taking the defense budget down to the lowest level since World War II. Some think it is dangerously low, but we have said, `Mr. President, we will go with you for $290 billion in defense, some of which goes to the Department of Energy.'
But that money, if you do not spend it on the B-2, what the opponents are going to do is take the money and put it into a lot of other defense priorities, because that amount of money has to be spent on defense. You cannot take it away from there and put it in these other priorities, because we have reached this agreement. We said to the President that we are going to spend $290 billion. So what we are going to do is allow the committee, if it does what it is maybe planning on doing, to take that money and put it into a lot of special projects that Members want.
Mr. Speaker, I understand that. I have special projects that I support. We are talking about America's No. 1 defense priority. The President has sent a letter to Chairman Nunn saying that this is his top priority, and he has made it clear that it is his top priority. So we should not be doing that.
What we should be doing is giving support for this, because I think the case has been made. We ought to stay with the President, and stay with Dick Cheney. They steered a pretty solid course through this war. I did not agree with every step and turn, but when you look back on it, they did a pretty decent job for our country. They said we need this for the next time we are out there facing danger. Our kids need it to save their lives and get the job done.
Mr. LEWIS of California. The gentleman made a point regarding costs that I think deserves some emphasis. Not only is this the President's and Secretary Cheney's No. 1 priority in terms of our future defense needs, but we have already spent $30.8 billion on the development of this technology. It will produce 15 B-2 aircraft, that the generals say would be insufficient for their total defense systems.
If we are willing to spend another $35 billion, we will be able to produce 60 additional aircraft, for a total of 75.
Mr. DICKS. One other point; this is now in the President's 6-year budget. The President has set aside money over the next 6 years.
Mr. LEWIS of California. The gentleman is correct. I do want to make the point that the American public knows the tremendous significance to our economy that the development of the automobile had. Let us presume that Henry Ford had developed the technology and created the assembly line to produce the first few of those rickety old cars and we suddenly cut him off. Would the expenditure have been worthwhile? The cost per car would have been outrageous.
Now we are talking about the B-2, and the fundamental point is that the technology has worked. The B-2 is on the assembly line. Now we want to cut if off and waste that $30 billion.
Mr. DICKS. The war proves another example. What if the critics of the Patriot missile had prevailed? We would not have had the Patriot out there to defend Israel and our kids in the gulf. That would have been a disaster as well.
This is the same kind of decision. We have invested in this. This is bipartisan. I want to emphasize that. This program started under Jimmy Carter. Ronald Reagan supported it, George Bush supported it, and all of the Secretaries of Defense during that time frame, Harold Brown, Cap Weinberger, Frank Carlucci, Dick Cheney, they all supported this program.
I just hope that because of the new evidence that lives can be saved and money and precious resources can be preserved and protected, not losing planes, because they are stealthy, I hope that it will be taken into account in this debate.
Mr. LEWIS of California. I must say the gentleman has been more than generous with his time. I appreciate his allowing me to participate in this discussion.
Mr. DICKS. I look forward to participating with the gentleman from California over the next years serving on the Defense Subcommittee. Hopefully together we can see this through and get the job done for the American people that needs to be done. This system is not going to be an embarrassment to the American people. When it goes out, it will do its job.
Mr. LEWIS of California. If the gentleman will let me make one more point that I think is significant here. My review has constantly taken me back to one question that the critics of the B-2 suggest is important. They say that the B-2 essentially will not work, that in the final analysis, it will not deliver the goods.
The testing is unbelievable on this program. We have seen that the F-117 works. As a practical fact of life, the B-2 has flown. In the hours of testing, it has demonstrated at every point that it works at least as good as those people who developed it hoped for. In most cases it has worked better. It is a technology that has proven itself in the air.
The bottom line is it will not only save money, it will also save American lives.
Mr. DICKS. The gentleman knows that the gentleman from Washington has always been at the forefront of arms control since my tenure in the House of Representatives, offering amendments to keep us within the terms of SALT II, to not abrogate our ABM agreement, et cetera.
The President's entire START strategy has been to move our country, our deterrent weapons force, away from, as Ronald Reagan used to say, the fast fliers, the missiles that get there in 30 minutes, to second strike systems like bombers.
So we have advantages built into the START agreement that a bomber, even though it carries a whole load of weapons, only counts as one.
What we tried to do is create incentives for the Soviets to rely on bombers and for us to rely on bombers, because they are recallable. You have got men and women in the loop. They are systems that are slow flying. They take a while to get there, so you have a chance to rethink.
So for strategic stability reasons, we need the B-2 as well. What this really does is serve as a hedge against the fact that we do have a vulnerable land-based leg. Somebody out there someplace might break through and find a way to find those SLBM's, those submarines, and then we would be in a real mess, because we would be vulnerable.
I hope we remember what we have done in START. We have crafted an agreement based around the bomber. If we do not go forward with the B-2, we are going to have undermined our position out there. I serve as an unofficial observer in those talks for the House of Representatives, and we are going to undermine this administration's ability to in good conscience get a START agreement, and I wonder whether the Joint Chiefs would be able to support a START agreement if this Congress does not go forward and do the B-2.
Mr. LEWIS of California. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank and congratulate the gentleman for taking this time. There is little doubt that the work he has done on this committee has laid the foundation for peace, not only for our country, but for the world. A key to that may very well be our going forward with this stealth technology.
Mr. DICKS. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the participation of the gentleman from California, and hope that members on the Committee on Armed Services will take a careful look at the new evidence.
Over the past several years, RAND has conducted a broad range of analyses that bear on the question of the future of the U.S bomber force. One of these studies focused specifically on the issue of structuring the bomber force. Others were concerned with acquisition policies involving the B-2 and other systems, top-down planning for U.S. military forces, and the future national security environment. This paper provides an integrated summary of that work. This is an independent assessment: The views and judgments expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of RAND's sponsoring agencies.
This paper makes several major points:
The post-Cold War world will present a wide range of challenges to the security and well-being of Americans. The United States will require effective military capabilities--including strategic bombers--to deal with many of these challenges.
Long-range bomber aircraft, if properly equipped, can play important and unique roles. A modernized bomber force would allow us to maintain a well-hedged deterrent against nuclear attack for many years to come. It would also underwrite an ability to deter and defeat regional aggression, greatly reducing our vulnerability to strategic and operational surprise in regional conflicts.
The existing bomber force will be expensive to operate and maintain (about $40 billion over the next 15 years), yet it has serious shortcomings in performing conventional operations, and will have declining effectiveness in performing nuclear missions.
The incremental cost of a highly capable bomber force that includes a sizable number of B-2 aircraft is relatively modest in comparison with the cost of simply maintaining the far less capable force we already have. Forces built around the B-2 are also preferred to those that rely on cruise missiles, even when costs are held roughly equal.
As we enter the 1990s, American policy-makers and strategists are faced with the need to reexamine long-standing and widely held premises underlying national security strategy and force planning. We are now less concerned about the prospect of Soviet expansionism. Yet a growing number of problems--the spread of weapons of mass destruction, access to critical raw materials, changing regional power balances, international terrorism, and global environmental deterioration, to name but a few--will have a direct bearing on Americans. It is therefore incumbent upon America's leaders to maintain and augment instruments of U.S. influence: Our nation must have the ability to persuade and to dissuade decisionmakers around the world. Among other things, this means that the United States must have the kind of military capabilities that convey both an ability and a willingness to intervene in defense of important interests. If we are to persuade nations in critical regions to align themselves with us, they must be confident that they are choosing a capable and reliable partner.
This should not be taken to mean that the United States can or should be the `world's policeman.' Indeed, a primary goal of U.S. strategy has long been to foster the growth of a community of like-minded states capable of effective collective action in the face of a common threat. But for now and for some time to come, much of the world will look to the United States for leadership in the defense of common values and interests.
This paper focuses on two important objectives that will be assigned to U.S. military forces in the future: deterring and defeating attacks against allied and friendly states, and deterring or preventing attacks on the United States with weapons of mass destruction.
Regional Aggression: Iraq's attack on Kuwait provides a vivid illustration of the first of these problems. While military planners had recognized the possibility of such an attack prior to August 1990, the circumstances that might surround Iraqi aggression were not clearly foreseen. Baghdad's pre-war diplomacy made it more difficult to assess accurately Iraq's intentions and reinforced political diffidence in the region toward precautionary deployments of U.S. forces.
We must expect comparable challenges to important U.S. interests in the future. History shows that strategic and operational surprise must be considered to be the norm, not the exception. 1
In general, irreducible uncertainties about the timing, locale, and circumstances of future threats, coupled with budget-driven reductions in our overseas military presence, will pose a number of problems for U.S. security planners:
1 Footnotes at end of article.
Often there will be little or no time for advance deployments of forces into the region at risk.
Likewise, U.S. surveillance assets may not be focused on the region. Thus, our understanding of the situation and our ability to precisely locate the adversary's forces and assets may be less than we would like, particularly at the outset of a crisis.
Insufficient `military infrastructure' to support deploying forces--airfields, ports, fuel, munitions, etc: may constrain the rate at which the United States and its allies can reinforce a threatened nation.
The continuing spread of advanced weapons will demand that we bring highly capable forces to bear in response to regional threats.
In many instances, it will be necessary to form ad hoc coalitions to oppose the aggressor. This will take precious time during which access to bases--both in the region and en route to it--may be serverely limited.
In short, we must expect emergencies in which the critical opening days will be characterized by delay, improvisation, and some confusion on our part, while the aggressor unfolds his attack, hoping to succeed quickly and confront the world with a fait accompli. 2
Attacks on the United States: Protecting the lives of Americans from foreign threats is one of the most important responsibilities of the federal government. The possibility of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union--either deliberate or unauthorized--still cannot be ruled out. Likewise, one can foresee the time when U.S. territory will fall within range of weapons of mass destruction controlled by hostile third countries as well. Many nations already have stocks of lethal chemical or biological agents. Capabilities for producing nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems continue to proliferate slowly but steadily. 3 The United States will want to have first-class capabilities to deter such attacks or, if possible, to prevent them.
Rand has examined the bomber force's contributions to deterrence of large-scale Soviet aggression (in particular, a nuclear attack on the United States), to deterrence of third country attacks, and to global power projection with conventional weapons. The United States has long structured its bomber force primarily with the first of these objectives in mind. One implication of the geopolitical changes outlined above is that our decisions to buy weapon systems today should give greater weight than in the past to the power projection role.
Deterring Attacks on the United States. For forty years we have relied on strategic forces to deter the leaders of the Soviet Union from attacking the United States or its forces by posing the threat of devastating retaliation to any such attack. A deliberate Soviet attack is probably less likely now than at any time over the past forty years. Nevertheless, the incalculable costs of a failure of deterrence have prompted great caution in this area. Thus, we have long deployed a triad of strategic systems--bombers, ICBMs and SLBMs--in part to hedge against the failure of one or two types of system.
It now appears unlikely that the United States will deploy a mobile ICBM. While silo-based missiles continue to bring many important qualities to our deterrent posture at low cost, they cannot provide an assured second-strike capability. We are left, then, with a posture in which the bombers must hedge against the failure of the SLBMs and the SLBMs must hedge against the failure of the bombers.
In order to provide a truly independent hedge, the bombers must be able to penetrate Soviet airspace without the benefit of a prior attack by ballistic missiles and to deliver weapons against a significant fraction of the Soviets' most important assets. The current U.S. force of bombers and nuclear cruise missiles is challenged by on-going improvements in Soviet air defenses. Even when the electronic countermeasures on the B-1B are fixed, the aircraft will eventually be unable to penetrate with high confidence the most densely defended regions of the Soviet Union--the areas that contain the most valuable targets.
The most capable Soviet surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) can intercept the currently deployed air launched cruise missile (the ALCM-B). The Advanced Cruise Missile (ACM), which is now being deployed, will be more survivable and have greater range. We believe that advanced nuclear cruise missiles, by themselves, will be able to cover a large number of targets in the Soviet Union for many years to come, although attacking some important classes of targets with ACMS will become problematic. If the Soviets continue to deploy improved SAMs, we will have less confidence in the ACM across the board.
Adding the B-2 to the force would provide an ability to attack the most important, most heavily defended targets. On the basis of detailed, quantitative simulations, we conclude that the B-2 can penetrate area defenses, such as airborne radars and interceptors, and that high-performance short-range attack missiles can effectively attack well-defended targets. Moreover, the B-2's ability to defeat air defenses can be sustained for many years to come even in the face of foreseeable Soviet modernization efforts. If the United States should one day face the threat of nuclear attack from a smaller country, the B-2 would be the best available weapon for neutralizing such threats with conventional weapons alone.
Deterring and Defeating Regional Aggression: As suggested above, rather large scale attacks on U.S. friends and allies in key regions can arise with little `actionable' warning. If we are to better deter such attacks and reassure allies, it is essential that we be able to respond promptly so that we can limit the scope, duration, and destruction of the aggreassion. If Iraq's forces had not stopped at the Kuwait-Saudi border in August of 1990, an effective long-range attack capability would have been indispensable to preventing the loss of large pieces of Saudi territory and important economic assets.
Such a capability will not come easily. In cases of large-scale aggression, successful defense will require that we:
Project effective firepower almost immediately (within hours).
Project massive firepower soon thereafter (within days).
Deploy highly capable ground forces within days or weeks.
Sustain high-intensity combat operations for as long as necessary.
These requirements will demand improvements in our conventional forces across all services. Properly equipped, the bomber force can be particularly effective in the first two phases of a defensive effort.
In the opening phase, bombers may be the only forces available to augment indigenous forces and stem the tide of aggression while other forces are readied and transported to the theater. Unlike other means of delivering non-nuclear weapons, long-range bombers based on U.S. territory can reach targets anywhere on the globe within hours of being tasked. Further, their range makes it possible for bombers to reach their targets without having to rely on foreign bases and with minimal overflight rights.
Early on in such a conflict, we will need to delay and disrupt the invasion to the maximum possible degree while a more coherent defense is organized. Our forces will have the following objectives:
Halt or delay the invasion by attacking the ground forces themselves, along with bridges, lines of communications, fuel supplies, and other assets.
Disconnect the invasion force from its central command.
Deny the enemy his `eyes' by destroying his reconnaissance assets and his air surveillance and defense radars.
Lay a basis for sustained, large-scale air attacks by suppressing and destroying other air defense assets.
Neutralize such critical threats as ballistic missiles and attack aircraft, which could be configured for delivery of weapons of mass destruction.
Punish the aggression with focused attacks on strategic assets deep in the rear.
In prosecuting such a campaign, it will be politically and militarily imperative that U.S. forces be able to conduct their operations with minimal losses.
Of course, land-based and naval tactical aircraft can attack these targets effectively. But not always in a timely manner. It can take several days before land-based tacair can deploy and commence high intensity combat operations. Moreover, these aircraft must have access to suitable facilities with range of their targets. Two to three weeks could be required to assemble a force of several aircraft carriers. B-52s and B-1s with current munitions can reach the battle promptly, but they cannot be expected to survive exposure to advanced air defenses; they would have to await the arrival of fighters and other assets needed to achieve air superiority.
Existing bombers, submarines, and surface ships can employ long-range cruise missiles. But mission planners would need detailed and accurate data on the location of enemy air defenses and on the nature of each fixed target before cruise missiles could be effectively launched. It is far from clear that such data would be readily available in short-warning scenarios. Attacking mobile targets, such as moving columns of vehicles, with a long-range standoff weapon is more problematical: Bomber crews would have to rely on information from surveillance platforms that may not be available early in the conflict. Even if such information is available in near-real time, the target may have moved before the missile arrives. Analysis also shows that because of their limited payloads, large numbers of these expensive missiles would be required.
We believe that the B-2, properly equipped and supported, can be both timely and effective. The impressive performance of the F-117 in the Gulf War demonstrated the distinct advantages of stealth. Like the F-117, the B-2 will be able to operate over enemy territory and forces. If procured in significant numbers, it can perform the task outlined above with high confidence. For example, the programmed force of B-2s with munitions derived from existing anti-armor weapons could provide enough sorties in a single day to destroy more than half an armored division's worth of vehicles. Losses of this scale would blunt a multi-divisional attack. Moreover, the B-2 could achieve these results without relying on other surveillance platforms to provide it with target data.
Munitions for the B-2 would be relatively simple and inexpensive, in part because they would need to be accurate only over short distances. 4 The shorter range of such weapons also provides payload efficiencies. None of the B-2's carriage capacity would be taken up by the large airframes and fuel loads of long-range cruise missiles.
Given the choices for modernizing the bombers, what are the comparative attributes and costs of possible alternative forces?
The current bomber force provides a benchmark for cost and capabilty. At present, the U.S. has just over 300 heavy bombers. Simply operating and maintaining those aircraft for the next 15 years and making minimal improvements would cost about $40 billion (FY 90 constant dollars). This force cannot effectively attack enemy targets until tactical air forces won air superiority. And its ability to penetrate Soviet airspace will continue to decline.
Figure 1 shows three possible modernized bomber force structures: (1) the currently programmed force, built around the planned buy of 75 B-2s; (2) a force that consists solely of nuclear and conventional cruise missile carriers; and (3) a force of roughly equal cost that includes a smaller number of B-2s. 5
Force I--The currently programmed bomber force is represented by Force I in the figure below. It includes 75 B-2 bombers, all of which are equipped for both nuclear and conventional operations; 97 B-1s would retain their primary role of nuclear penetrating bombers, with an additional 100 B-52H bombers to carry nuclear-armed ACMs. We estimate that this force would cost about $80 billion, a figure that includes the cost to develop and acquire specialized conventional weapons for the B-2; to complete research and development on the B-2; and to acquire, maintain, and operate the entire fleet for 15 years. Force I would be capable of the entire spectrum of conventional missions. This force would provide a robust complement to the SLBM force as well, being less vulnerable to defensive counters than either a force of cruise missiles alone or one that relied on B-1s to penetrate.
Force II--If no B-2s are procured, the programmed bomber force would consist solely of around 100 B-52H and 97 B-1B aircraft. All of these could be equipped to carry cruise missiles, but START would permit only around 100 to carry nuclear-armed cruise missiles. To make this force effective against Soviet air defenses, the United States would have to purchase a sizable number of nuclear ACMs beyond the planned buy. To make the force effective in conventional operations without depending on tactical forces to first win air superiority, we would have to develop and procure several thousand new long-range conventional cruise missiles. We estimate that the cost to maintain this force of 200 bombers and to acquire and maintain their weapons for 15 years would be around $51 billion. 6 The development and deployment of 5,000 conventional cruise missiles, as well as a sizable number of shorter-range improved conventional munitions, would account for nearly one-half of this cost. 7
Force II would be very capable against fixed targets in both conventional and, for some years to come, nuclear operations. However, because it would allow the Soviets to optimize their air defenses against a one-dimensional cruise missile threat, Force II would be hard to keep viable as an independent hedge. This force would also be less responsive in regional crises than a B-2 force because of its heavy dependence on surveillance systems for targeting information. Even with such data, Force II would be less effective against columns of moving vehicles and other mobile targets. Finally, this force--half of which presumably would be comprised of the 30-year-old B-52H--would be increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain simply because of airframe age. A new cruise missile carrying aircraft could be developed using an existing airframe. While this would address the problem of airframe age, it would cost more than the $51 billion figure cited above.
Force III--For approximately the same cost as Force II, the United States could have a much more capable force by procuring 50 B-2 bombers and retaining 100 current bombers armed with ACMs fore the nuclear role. 8 As with Force I, all 50 B-2s would be equipped for both nuclear and conventional operations. We estimate the 15-year cost of this force to be approximately $57 billion. This exceeds by $6 billion the estimated cost of Force II. However, when one adds to Force II's cost the likely expense of cancelling the B-2 contract and the cost of airframe modernization, we believe that the costs of the two options are essentially the same.
Force III, however, would have real shortcomings: By reducing the B-2 buy from 75 to 50, SAC would probably not be able to keep any B-2s on nuclear alert while largescale conventional operations were in progress. A force of 50 total B-2s would also have little or no margin against the accidental loss of aircraft over the lifetime of the B-2, and an inadequate cushion to account for the usual maintenance, training, and test requirements that can keep aircraft temporarily offline. One could rectify many of these shortfalls by procuring the full 75 B-2s. We estimate that the 15-year cost of a force of 75 B-2s and around 100 cruise missile carrying bombers would be approximately $68 billion.
RAND's assessment of the B-2's development program--part of a study on acquisition practices--supports a conclusion that the program has taken a conservative approach, with systematic attention to identifying and reducing technical risks at each step before proceeding on to the next.
The program's extended period of low-rate production has allowed time for extensive testing. Drawing on experience in analyzing other aircraft development programs, we see no technical basis for further delay in authorizing high-rate production of the B-2. While the test program is certainly not complete, and there will likely be some difficulties revealed in future tests, there is a high probability that the cost of correcting those problems will be substantially less than the cost of further delaying the production program.
If it is decided not to acquire the B-2, the United States should immediately begin research and development of an air-launched conventional cruise missile. 9 Given the large number of missiles needed, a primary focus of the program should be the development of low cost guidance with terminal homing sensors, which are major elements of the system's total cost.
The end of the Cold War notwithsanding, continued investments are warranted in capabilities to deter attacks on the United States and its allies and friends abroad. A modernized bomber force can underwrite these objectives by ensuring an ability to penetrate Soviet Airspace and by providing invaluable capabilities to react promptly to armed aggression without dependence of strategic warning and access to foreign bases early in a crisis.
Our analyses of future U.S. security needs, of capabilities and costs of alternative bomber forces, and of the B-2 program itself support the judgment that this is an attractive system. The B-2's unique combination of long range, low observability, and man-in-the-loop target acquisition and guidance give it unparalleled flexibility and responsiveness in power projection operations. When equipped with short range attack missiles, the B-2 also provides a high-confidence, long-term means of penetrating Soviet airspace, which other options do not.
The principal argument against the B-2 has been its high unit cost. However, much of the B-2's cost is now behind us and the costs of maintaining and equipping the current bomber force will be high if the B-2 is not procured. Our analysis convinces us that when one compares the effectiveness of approximately equal cost forces with and without the B-2, the B-2 force is clearly superior.
In light of this, we believe that the United States should begin high-rate production of the B-2. The total number of B-2s to procure need not be decided now.
1 The attacks on Pearl Harbor and on South Korea are other examples.
2 The Iraqi example shows that regional aggressors can win the opening battle but lose the war. On the other hand, if Saddam Hussein had been even a moderately deft bargainer, he might well have staved off an attack and held onto some of his gains.
3 India, Israel, Pakistan, and South Africa have either deployed nuclear weapons or could do so within months of a decision to do so. Argentina, Brazil, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Taiwan all have or have had sizable nuclear weapons development programs. See Hearings Before the Committee on Governmental Affairs (S. Hrg. 101-562), U.S. Senate, May 18, 1989, p. 89.
4 Some of these munitions have already been developed for the fighter force and were proven in combat during Operation Desert Storm. Others would need to be developed and procured for the B-2.
5 Costs shown for each force include development, acquisition, operation, and support costs for the next fifteen years. Costs for equipping each force with weapons are included as well, with conventional weapons costs shown below the horizontal line. The cost of the tanker force, which supports much more than just the bomber force, has not been included. For purposes of comparison, it is assumed that all of the aircraft and weapons are phased in instantaneously at the beginning of the fifteen-year period. Note that this is not the same as costs over the next 15 years. Nevertheless, the `instantaneous phase in' approach does offer a reasonable basis for comparison among options.
6 In addition, one would have to add to this the considerable cost of cancelling the B-2 contract.
7 5000 conventional cruise missiles are the equivalent of approximately one-third of the precision-guided munitions dropped in Operation Desert Storm.
8 Because of START`s generous counting rule for penetrating bombers, Force III would be able to carry approximately 50% more warheads than the all-cruise missile force (Force II). Force I, with 75 B-2s, would do even better.
9 Other measures would be required as well in order to ensure the survivability of existing bombers.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Cramer). Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Gonzalez] is recognized for 60 minutes.
[Mr. GONZALEZ addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in the Extensions of Remarks.]
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from New York [Mr. Owens] is recognized for 60 minutes.
[Mr. OWENS of New York addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in the Extensions of Remarks.]