Once the facts are distinguished from the misinformation, it becomes clear that with some modification to the procurement plan, America desperately needs the B-2 bomber.
ISSUE: The media has been very successful portraying the B-2 bomber as a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. However, much of this media-hype is simply not based on fact. The technology of Stealth involves the scientific pursuit of near-invisibility to radar detection. Thus, the B-2 incorporates radar-evading attributes that make it the only current weapon system capable of penetrating Soviet airspace.
The strategic triad, which is the backbone of U.S. deterrence, includes aging land, sea and air systems. However, it's the bomber "leg" of the Triad that is most lacking in capability. And, the current START negotiating positions give an edge to the bomber fleet because one aircraft, regardless of the number of warheads it carries, is counted as one nuclear delivery vehicle. Therefore, under START, the nation with the most capable bomber fleet maintains an edge in nuclear deployment. Also, the Soviet land-based ICBM's are being converted to mobile capable systems. Therefore, in the event of a nuclear exchange, the bomber force may be our only hope of locating and destroying these mobile targets. Further, with the capability to strike any target on the globe with a single refueling, the B-2 is a potent conventional deterrent as well. Nevertheless, criticism of the cost of the B-2 cloud-out these tremendous capabilities. But, when placed in perspective the B-2 consumes less of the DoD budget than its' predecessors, the B-1B and B-52. So, the issue becomes, after separating the misinformation and media-hype from the facts, should America buy the B-2 bomber?
CONCLUSION: Without question the B-2 is an expensive weapon system. However, the facts show that the benefits derived from the B-2 greatly outweigh the investment. But, taking the current budgetary constraints into consideration, the current procurement plan of 132 bombers should be reduced by 50 per cent in which at least a portion of the savings should be invested into the next generation bomber. In short, America should buy the B-2 bomber with a reduced procurement package.
Although the media harshly portrays the B-2 as an
imprudent investment--an expensive toy for scarf-wearing
pilots, much of that criticism is simply not founded in
fact. Sure, the B-2 is expensive, but, when considering
the capability we are buying, how can we expect otherwise.
The freedom from a major war that America has enjoyed for
the past 40 years is rooted in our strength and
determination to maintain a potent military force. And,
the procurement of the B-2 is crucial in maintaining the
currency of our deterrent systems.
The B-2s advanced capabilities provides a technological
edge over our adversaries that is not likely to be
countered in the near future. Also, current nuclear arms
negotiations place a premium on the bomber force.
Therefore, when weighing the attributes of the B-2 with the
arguments against the system, I am convinced that the
scales are overwhelmingly tipped towards procuring the B-2,
although I recommend a reduced procurement plan. Thus,
with all the facts finally in the open, it is clear that
America needs the B-2 bomber.