USAF Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers on 24-Hour Alert

By NTK Staff | 10.23.2017 @7:56am
USAF Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers on 24-Hour Alert

Nuclear bombers were ready 24/7 during the Cold War. Trump's military is bringing that practice back.

The U.S. Air Force is ready to bring back the Cold War-era practice of keeping nuclear-armed bombers ready to fly at all times, according to a report from Defense One.

President Trump has deliberately escalated tensions with adversaries of the United States, and the USAF’s preparation marks a substantive change in the country’s military-readiness consciousness.

While the military had not officially decided to return the policy, Defense One‘s Marcus Weisberger made clear that the Air Force is preparing for the coming order:

Goldfein and other senior defense officials stressed that the alert order had not been given, but that preparations were under way in anticipation that it might come. That 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.

David Goldstein, the Air Force chief of staff, cited the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Defense One as a factor leading to the preparation:

“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.”

The practice of 24-hour nuclear readiness expired with the end of the Cold War in 1991. The American fleet of B-52 air fortresses, as The New York Times wrote at the time, “has come to symbolize the threat of nuclear war as much as the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima demonstrated its impact.”

However, the American nuclear air fleet had been even more prepared early in the Cold War when the USAF would keep bombers in the air 24 hours a day, The Times wrote.

The apocalyptic days of the Cold War may be over, but as President Trump confronts America’s enemies abroad, the military appears ready to back up the president’s words with actions.

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