The bomber force sizing controversy: a hardy perennial--and a case for posing the right questions

by Kevin N. Lewis

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This paper reviews the controversy over the size, nature, composition, and role of the U.S. strategic bomber force. In particular, it examines the course of debate since the 1970s, when it appeared that the long-range combat aircraft concept was dying, to the shift a few years later to the development of the "Stealth" and B-1 bombers. The author concludes that there may always be major problems with justifying bomber procurement, as is suggested by the evidence since 1957, when bomber force modernization began.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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