If we look into the future, the two certainties I would say about the Canadian Forces are that we are going to have to ensure that we have the ability to maintain the protection of North America and our part of aerospace protection, and that we remain a country that sees its security by involving our military overseas. Those are the two constants I see regardless of the mythologies we may have about ourselves. That's what the empirical evidence tells me.
The empirical evidence also tells me that the Americans are heading into a situation where, if they are not surrendering the air dominance they've had, they're going to be severely reducing it. For the protection of North American airspace, given the types of environments we see in China and Russia—and I'll be blunt in terms of those being the two most obvious successor countries to aerospace threats to Canada—we are going to need to have some maintenance of aerospace protection or the Americans will do it for us.
On the American issue, okay, if we surrender sovereignty on that, it's not going to be a problem. Not being able to protect aerospace, that's a problem.
We are also going to have to have the types of capabilities the F-35 gives for the proper protection of an increasingly dangerous surface-to-air missile capability that we're going to be seeing. This is why you want stealth.
The F-35 itself, is it a good plane or is it not? We're not going to know until it's really operational. The problem is that there are no alternatives. There are no other equivalent stealth capabilities short of the F-22, which an act of Congress says they can't sell to anyone else. Ergo, we face the situation of losing aerospace protection in North America in the long term as the F-18s have to be retired, and we also face the difficulties of telling our troops to go into danger zones without adequate aerospace protection. I do not think we can rely on our allies into the future as we have in the past.