Perin And Long-Range Bombers



Background — When Perin did his analysis, the B2 was expected to be so invisible on radar that it was believed to require no escort by tactical aircraft.  (For example, jammers were not expected to be required; jammers are tactical aircraft that generate electronic noise that makes radar screens snowy.)  These expectations are the reason the ‘Northrop slide’ in Perin’s packet has only 2 B2s in its rightmost column (with aerial refueling aircraft added).

It was learned later that B2s aren’t that invisible on radar.  So, in actual combat (for the B2, that first came in the 1999 NATO war against Serbia), B2s now get tactical jammer escorts.

In the same way, B2 basing solely in Missouri — which was expected in 1991 — changed in later years.  For example, B2s operate from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean when needed.  As mentioned in class, this choice enables higher sortie rates for the B2 than the one-sortie-per-B2 every three days that goes with Missouri basing for targets in the MidEast.

The purpose of the weekly assignments is to improve your ability to critique selected

defense reports, studies and briefings. They will help us to help you to quickly grasp the analytical foundation of any work, evaluate it, and to offer your views on it-· the key steps in critical thinking about defense analyses.

Because any defense leader-or any leader, for that matter-has limited time to spend on individual issues, a good critique must be succinct and dispassionate. Thus, your critiques are limited to 500 words. Good critiques are lean, crisp and, above all, illuminating. Good critiques also stand on their own-not requiring the reader to be intimately familiar with the analysis.

The following will help you get started:

After reading the work, and before you begin to write, try to fit the analysis into proper context. Keep in mind the setting in which a decision maker-the analysis’s and its

critique’s consumer-will view the work.

Next, identify the key assumptions that underlie The work Identify them explicitly (sometimes the author will help you), and decide the degree to which you agree or disagree to which you agree or disagree substantially with any particular assumptions, note why.

Identify alternative assumptions, if appropriate and possible. Pose at least one

competitor assumption (usually, one you’d prefer), and contrast its viability.

If the work is not current, make an issue of it only if new information has become available that refutes the work. (It is generally most appropriate to view the work from the time perspective when it was done.)

If important facts are incorrect –especially if they influence the results of the analysis –

identify and correct them. If other evidence or facts were omitted, characterize and add


Finally, decide whether or the author’s conclusions flow from the works logic and evidence. If not jot down why not.

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