The Halt-the-B-52-Retirement Game

Within days of action by the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee eliminating funding to keep 18 attrition reserve B-52s at Minot AFB, N.D., Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) struck a blow that would at least delay Air Force plans to retire any BUFFs anytime soon. The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved a Dorgan amendment requiring an independent study to evaluate whether retiring part of the B-52 fleet would create a “bomber gap.” Dorgan believes that the report will show that it makes little sense to retire the most “cost effective bombers in the military’s fleet.”