Donovan said Friday at the AFA event that readiness remains the Air Force’s top priority and that the service plans to increase its operational squadrons from 312 to up to 386, reflecting a 24 percent increase.
Jim McAleese, founder and principal at McAleese & Associates and a 2019 Wash100 winner, wrote in the report that the service expects to achieve a mission capable rate of 80 percent for 204 squadrons by the end of 2020 and for the remaining 108 squadrons by the end of 2022.
According to the report, the Air Force is fully committed to the B-21 bomber program, Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent platform and the Long-Range Standoff weapon system as part of the nuclear triad recapitalization effort.
Donovan also discussed the military branch’s requirement for the F-35 conventional takeoff and landing variant; the move to reduce F-35 sustainment costs; concerns over combat architectures and advanced data links; and establishment of a new space force.
He noted that the service has delayed the establishment of Light Attack Aircraft as a formal program of record due to affordability issues and may consider relaunching a competition for new types of aircraft to address the requirements of allies.
McAleese also reported that Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and a 2019 Wash100 recipient, issued a DIA report on Jan. 15 that assesses China’s military strength across land, air, maritime, cyber and space domains.