Panetta Reviewing Air-Sea Battle Plan Summary, Greenert Says

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is reviewing an Air Force-Navy battle concept that was ordered by the Pentagon last year in response to China’s military buildup and Iran’s advanced weapons, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said today.

The Navy and Air Force have submitted to Panetta the equivalent of an executive summary of the battle concept with the intent to release unclassified portions within weeks, depending on Panetta’s reaction, Greener told a House Armed Services readiness panel and a Bloomberg News reporter after the hearing.

The plan aims to combine the strengths of the Navy and Air Force to enable long-range strikes. It may employ a new generation of bombers, a new cruise missile and drones launched from aircraft carriers. The Navy also is increasing funding to develop new unmanned submarines.

The concept was directed in the Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review to ensure the Air Force and Navy gain more effective ways of protecting U.S. access to the western Pacific while countering potential threats to American bases and personnel.

The battle plan is among a range of initiatives outlined in the review, which is conducted every four years to revise U.S. military strategy for the coming decade or more. The report placed top priority on the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq and against terrorist threats elsewhere, while also preparing for future threats.

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