Although the United States Air Force was founded upon strategic bombardment theory and advocacy, the service has traditionally had tremendous difficulty in obtaining the adequate funding for bombers that it requires to fulfill its mandate. For more than 45 years, senior Air Force leaders, both military and civilian, have struggled to convince decision-makers in the White House and in Congress that modern manned bomber forces were needed, acceptable, and affordable. In this study, Donnini produces one of the most exhaustive analyses ever undertaken of Congressional subcommittee decision-making in the funding of defense procurement initiatives. He concludes that no program achieved measurable success of deployment with the original force structure requested; and only two, the B-1B and B-2A, received approval to acquire lesser numbers of aircraft for operational use.
Donnini found that an important part of each new bomber program appeared to be funding support through federal appropriations. If the right amounts were appropriated, the programs survived; if lesser amounts were given, chances for program failure were good; however, was funding support the deciding factor? This book used multiple case studies and the unorthodox methodology of applied content analysis of Congressional budget hearings to examine Air Force efforts to fund the most recent main bombers it sought (the B-70, B-1A, B-1B, and B-2A) and to determine measurements of success. The author’s findings have implications concerning the way the United States handles procurement initiatives for major new weapon systems considered fundamental necessities for national defense.