THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
B-2 Bomber Review
President Clinton met with Vice President Gore, Chief of Staff Panetta, Secretary of Defense Perry, Deputy Secretary of Defense White, and Deputy National Security Adviser Berger on February 6 to discuss the National Security Council review of B-2 Bomber acquisition options. The President made the following decisions as a result of the review:
The $493 million added by Congress to the B-2 program in Fiscal Year 1996 will be spent on procurement of B-2 components, upgrades, and modifications that would be of value for the existing fleet of B-2 bombers, as recommended by the Fiscal Year 1996 Defense Authorization Conference Report.
The Administration will continue its current B-2 program, which includes about $7 billion over the next five years to buy and deploy 20 B-2's and upgrade them to the more capable Block-30 configuration.
The Administration believes that no additional B-2's are required and will not include any money for additional B-2's in its Fiscal Year 1997 budget.
The Department of Defense will, however, expand an ongoing study of deep attack munitions options to examine tradeoffs between long-range bombers, land- and sea-based tactical aircraft and missiles that are used to strike the enemy's rear area.
The President reached these decisions after careful consideration of the role of the B-2 in his overall defense program. The President concluded that the B-2 is a highly capable, long-range and stealthy bomber that will make important strategic and conventional contributions well into the 21st century. But additional B-2's would be too costly, particularly relative to other procurement priorities. We believe our deep attack needs are best met by a variety of strike aircraft -- long-range, short-range, tactical, and strategic -- that work in harmony with each other.
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