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McCaffrey's Seven: Retired Army Gen. Barry McCaffrey, in his memo (see above), proposes a seven-step get-well program for the Air Force. It is eye-popping. The seven "imperatives" (McCaffrey's word) are these:
1. F-22A fighter. "There is no single greater priority for the coming 10 years for the US Air Force than funding, deploying, and maintaining 350+ F-22A Raptor aircraft." (The current program of record calls for only 183 fighters.)
2. C-17 airlifter. "We must create the strategic national military airlift and air-to-air refuel capability for 600+ C-17 aircraft to project national military and humanitarian power in the global environment. ... The C-5 aircraft must be retired--these planes are shot."
3. UAV, ISR, Strike. "Primary control of these assets should be exercised by centralized Joint Air Component command and control. ... We are confusing the joint battle space doctrine. Air Component Commanders should coordinate all UAVs based on Combatant Commander situational war-fighting directives."
4. Space Primacy. "Our global communications, ISR, and missile defense capabilities cannot operate without secure, robust, and modernized space platforms. ... Space is an under-resourced and inadequately defended vital US technical capability."
5. Cyber Capabilities. "We must expand exponentially the resources, R&D, and human talent devoted to the massive and on-going war against our US communications-computer-control systems. ... This calls for a serious Joint Combatant Command status with a heavy Air Force component lead."
6. Next Generation Bomber. "We need a follow-on long-range system to the B-2 Spirit Bomber. The B-52 needs to be retired within the decade. The B-2 is inadequate and too vulnerable as a long-range strike platform. ... Our offensive capability should include ... a fully modernized stealth heavy strike bomber."
7. Missile Defense. "The US Air Force Airborne Laser is just short of operational deployment. ... The system needs substantial continued R&D investment and continued operational incremental upgrades in the coming 15 years."