BUFFs Are Staying Put

Air Force Global Strike Command will retain responsibility for the B-52H bombers that will lose their nuclear mission under planned changes in US nuclear force posture, Maj. Gen. Donald Alston, USAF’s czar for nuclear matters, told reporters Wednesday. The Air Force will be converting some of its dual-role B-52s to a conventional-only role as part of the broader moves to ensure the US strategic deterrent force conforms to limits imposed by the New START Treaty with Russia. But instead of returning those bombers to Air Combat Command, which had oversight of them up through February and still manages the conventional-only B-1B force, the B-52s will remain with Global Strike Command. “We will have to manage the mini conventional-only B-52 fleet plus the dual-role B-52 fleet and there will be challenges associated with that,” Alston explained. (See Four Are the Floor above.)