How to Reach 44 Fighting BUFFs:

To abide by the Congressional mandate to retain 44 combat-coded B-52 bombers, Air Combat Command is “finalizing a plan” to recode 11 training and one test BUFFs to add to its current force of 32 combat-coded B-52s contained in the 2008 budget submission, according to written testimony presented to lawmakers Wednesday by Maj. Gen. Roger Burg, USAF director of strategic security, air, space, and information operations. The plan would drop the force from 94 to 56, retiring the 18 permitted by Congress last year and another 20 in 2008. The Air Force would place those 20 B-52s “in a serviceable condition” on the ramps at Barksdale AFB, La., and Minot AFB, N.D. Of course, Congress also stipulated that USAF couldn’t spend any funds toward BUFF retirement until 45 days after it submits to Congress a bomber force structure report—completed independently by the Institute for Defense Analyses—which USAF believes will be done by year’s end.