Defense One is reporting that the United States is preparing to put their nuclear-armed bombers on 24 hour alert, a status they have not been on since the end of the Cold War.
According to the Defense One report, “That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of this (Barksdale AFB) base’s 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.”
The order has not yet been given, though preparations are said to be underway in anticipation. Defense One notes that the “decision would be made by Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, or Gen. Lori Robinson, the head of U.S. Northern Command. STRATCOM is in charge of the military’s nuclear forces and NORTHCOM is in charge of defending North America.”
The move would give the US the ability to respond more quickly with a nuclear deterrent.
In an interview, General David Goldfein – a member of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff – emphasized the growing nuclear threat:
“The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” he said. “It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability. It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.”
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