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Rounds Introduces Legislation to Protect B-1 Bombers at Ellsworth from Premature Retirement

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced bipartisan legislation that would add Congressional oversight of any decision to retire the B-1, B-2 or B-52 bomber aircraft. The Long Range Bomber Sustainment Act of 2015 prevents the retirement of aircraft in the current bomber force unless the Department of Defense certifies that it would not result in a loss of operational capability. There are currently 27 B-1 bombers located at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Box Elder, South Dakota.

“Long-range bombers play an important role in our national defense strategy,” said Rounds. “The current fleet, which is wisely stationed throughout the country, enables the United States to project military power to distant locations around the world. While we can expect some bomber retirements as we develop the new Long Range Strike Bomber, it is critical the turnover does not lead to an insufficient number of bombers in our fleet. Our Air Force must remain the most capable in the world. A strong, properly-supported bomber force will help make that happen.”

Original cosponsors of the Long Range Bomber Sustainment Act of 2015 include Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).