The Air Force, in its 20-year strategic forecast entitled "America's Air Force: A Call to the Future," has called for an end to big-ticket programs like the F-35. Instead, it plans to invest in what DOD officials have called more "agile" weapons that can be adapted for multiple uses.
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The report paints a future of the Air Force that resembles an innovative 21st Century company as opposed to a traditional fighting force. The document says that it's now impossible for the United States to build a strategy advantage with large, expensive programs that take years — in the case of the F-35, 14 years and counting to complete.
"We believe rapid change is the new norm and has serious implications for the Air Force," the document states. "The pace at which disruptive technologies may appear and proliferate will result in operational advantages that are increasingly short-lived. Dynamic and increasingly frequent shifts in the geopolitical power balance will have significant implications for basing, posture, and partner capabilities that may favor flexibility over footprint."
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