(PatrioticPost.com)- The 19FortyFive reports that the U.S. Air Force unveiled its B-21 Raider stealth bomber on Friday evening, displaying the highly classified aircraft to a small group of participants. The Raider is an upgrade of the 25-year-old B-2 Spirit flying wing, although it will be purchased in large enough quantities to replace a large portion of the current stock, including not only the B-2 but also the non-stealthy B-1B Bone. Despite the fanfare, the Air Force took extraordinary measures to keep the design’s details a secret.
Even though the B-21 resembles the B-2, the event’s organizers barred guests from bringing in cell phones or other photographs. To avoid giving away any information about the new bomber’s inner workings, they carefully controlled the viewing angles from which the audience might overlook the jet.
But why even show it? It would seem preferable to keep the B-21 inside, out of sight of nosy foreign intelligence services if disclosing sensitive information is such a problem.
The explanation is that the U.S. Air Force was acting in “selective disclosure,” as described by military scholars. According to strict martial reasoning, it is essential to conceal advanced weapons. To subject a new system to public scrutiny is unwise. Nevertheless, showing weapons like the Raider during a strategic rivalry in peacetime has both tactical and political benefits. Selective disclosure alerts critical audiences, including potential enemies, allies, and friends, that the US military has created a unique, perhaps war-winning, new weapon system.
The B-21 rollout was a communications and branding experiment. And a significant one.
In peaceful competition, there are no contests for aerial superiority or, in the case of the B-21, conflicts over where to aim mortar on the planet’s surface. However, it is feasible to engage in mental combat with spectators who have the power to influence the outcome of the competition. A potential combatant “wins” a peacetime matchup if respected experts think it would have worn in warfare.
Edward Luttwak, a strategist, brings forward a few connected ideas. In peacetime, military equipment like tanks, ships, and planes are essentially “black boxes.” You likely have a thorough understanding of your arsenal, but foreign intelligence services can only make an educated guess about your arsenal’s capabilities.
Military commanders must extrapolate from small amounts of data; the less, the better. The black-box dynamic has existed since the beginning of mechanized warfare, but it is even more important in the current era of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Luttwak says that selective disclosure secures crucial military secrets while producing a considerable political benefit regarding deterrence, coercion, and reassurance.