(National Sentinel) Cold War II: In a tactic that has not been utilized since the end of the first Cold War, the Pentagon is set to place nuclear weapons-carrying B-52 bombers on 24/7/365 alert, as tensions with North Korea and Russia ramp up.
“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Goldfein told Defense One. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”
No order has been given yet but the Air Force seems to be expecting it.
“The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about the use of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that as nuclear weapons have spread to other countries, that has substantially changed the global security landscape.
“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,” he said. “It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.”
The order could be issued either by Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military’s nuclear forces, or Gen. Lori Robinson, head of U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for defending North America.
But ultimately, the decision would first be made by the commander-in-chief, President Donald J. Trump.
Meantime, Goldfein has tasked the Air Force with devising new and improved ways to use nuclear-tipped ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles in war, CNN reported.
“How do we think about it?” Goldfein asked. “How do we think about deterrence in that environment?”
Then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney issued a directive in September 1991 ordering the 40-odd nuclear-armed B-52s on 24-hour-alert to stand down and have their nuclear weapons removed and stored as the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union was breaking up.
Bombers were on alert at 11 Air Force bases: Barksdale in Louisiana, Griffiss in New York, Wurtsmith in Michigan, Carswell in Texas, Fairchild in Washington, K. I. Sawyer in Michigan, Minot in North Dakota, Dyess in Texas, Ellsworth in South Dakota, Grand Forks in North Dakota and McConnell in Kansas.
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