Letter to the President

January 4, 1995

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing you to express our concern about the impending termination of the B-2 bomber
production line. After spending over $20 billion to develop this revolutionary aircraft, current
plans call for closing out the program with a purchase of only twenty bombers. We believe this
plan does not adequately consider the challenges to U.S. security that may arise in the next
century, and the central role that the B-2 may play in meeting those challenges.

At present the nation’s long-range bomber force consists primarily of two aircraft: the B-52 and
the B-1. The 95 B-52’s are all over thirty years old, and their ability to penetrate modern air
defenses is very doubtful. This 96 B-1’s were procured as an interim bomber until B-2’s were

Even after all twenty B-2’s are delivered, the inventory of long-range bombers will total barely
200 aircraft. This is not enough to meet future requirements, particularly in view of the attrition
that would occur in a conflict and the eventual need to retire the B-52’s. As the number of
forward-deployed aircraft carriers declines and the U.S. gradually withdraws from its overseas
bases, it will become increasingly difficult to use tactical aircraft in bombing missions. It therefore
is essential that steps be taken now to preserve an adequate long-range bomber force.

The B-2 was originally conceived to be the nation’s next generation bomber, and it remains the
most cost-effective means of rapidly projecting force over great distances. Its range will enable it
to reach any point on earth within hours after launch while being deployed at only three secure
bases around the world. Its payload and array of munitions will permit it to destroy numerous
time-sensitive targets in a single sortie. And perhaps most importantly, its low-observable
characteristics will allow it to reach intended targets without fear of interception.

The logic of continuing low-rate production of the B-2 thus is both fiscal and operational. It is
already apparent that the end of the Cold War was neither the end of history nor the end of
danger. We hope it also will not be the end of the B-2. We urge you to consider the purchase of
more such aircraft while the option still exists.

Melvin Laird

James Schlesinger

Donald Rumsfeld

Harold Brown

Caspar Weinberger

Frank Carlucci

Dick Cheney

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