Long-Range Strike: Resetting the Balance of Stand-in and Stand-off Forces


ARLINGTON, VA (June 18, 2020) — The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies is pleased to announce a new study report, Long Range Strike: Resetting the Balance of Stand-in and Stand-off Forces by Col Mark Gunzinger, USAF (Ret.), Director of Future Concepts and Capability Assessments. Over the last 30 years China and Russia set out to negate the advantages of the American way of war. The Department of Defense (DOD) has undergone a strategic awakening now codified in the U.S. national defense strategy acknowledging that an era of peer conflict has reemerged. Consequently, the legacy ways and means wielded by the services require a major, if not complete, redesign to effectively compete. One enduring capability in the nation’s arsenal is global long-range strike—the ability to attack targets anywhere, at any time. When paired with an effective campaign strategy aimed at vital targets on which an enemy’s military enterprise greatly depends, long-range strike is one of the most effective methods available to America’s military commanders. Decisions will soon be made that will reshape the balance of how DOD will conduct long range strikes in the future. Mark Gunzinger brings forward critically needed analysis on how DOD could strike the right balance between penetrating strike, also known as stand-in strike using the stealth bomber force resident in the U.S. Air Force, and stand-off strike—the launching of long-range missiles from aircraft, ships, submarines, and land emplacements. The analysis reveals that shifting the balance in favor of long-range stand-off systems does not make sense for the Air Force and would likely lead to over-investments in the Pentagon’s overall stand-off strike capacity. Instead, this report recommends the Air Force should significantly increase its penetrating long-range strike capacity to provide American leadership credible options against great power aggression. The Mitchell Institute’s research studies serve as an authoritative avenue for innovative, in-depth, insightful, and effective ideas and solutions for strengthening America’s aerospace power. For more information visit our website at www.mitchellaerospacepower.org.

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