Adm. Charles Richard, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command and 2020 Wash100 winner, has called for support in hypersonics research and development to stay ahead of China and Russia, DoD News reported Thursday.
Richard told the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing that the nuclear triad, which consists of submarines, strategic bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, is “foundational to our survival as a nation” and a key priority of the U.S. defense strategy.
"Along with the weapons themselves, there needs to be a space-based sensor system and an over-the-horizon radar system for tracking and monitoring these and other weapons such as advanced cruise missiles," noted Gen.Terrence O'Shaughnessy, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, at the hearing.
According to Richard, the U.S. Air Force has extended the lifespan of the Minuteman III ICBMs but will need the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent as a successor by 2036.
The legacy B-52 bomber aircraft, which has also been modified to serve for another 30 years, will also be replaced by the B-21 bomber slated for fielding by the 2030s. Columbia-class submarines, which are included in the 2021 defense budget proposal, are also slated to succeed its Ohio-class predecessors.