US Preparing to Put Nuclear Bombers on 24-Hour Alert

Violet Powell
October 24, 2017

For the first time since the Cold War, the U.S.is planning to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour alert, following the North Korea crisis. The U.S. has not had to do this since 1991.

In a report by security news website Defense One General David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said us military leaders are reacting to new threat levels. An existing structure is being modified into new barracks for more than one hundred personnel.

According to the report, General Goldfein and other defence officials insisted the order for the 24-hour alert had not yet been given, but that they are preparing for that possibility.

The United States has been sending its strategic assets to the region more frequently for patrols or drills amid increased efforts by North Korea to expand its nuclear weapons program.

"The world is a risky place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons", he added.

The U.S. and Russian Federation each keep about 6,800 nuclear weapons stockpiled, and neither have signed on to the Nobel Prize-winning worldwide effort to rid the world of them.

Meanwhile, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Odonera asserted yesterday that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities have grown to an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level.

"The world is a risky place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons", Gen. Goldfein said, who pointed out that times have changed since the USA and the Soviet Union confronted on another.

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"How do we think about it - how do we think about deterrence in that environment?"

But preparations reportedly include renovating rooms at Barksdale Air Force base in Louisiana where the B-52 teams can sleep near paintings that include one with a picture of the bomber and the phrase "Peace The Old Fashioned Way". "At least one of the four nuclear-hardened E-4Bs - formally called the National Airborne Operations Center, but commonly known as the Doomsday Plane - is always on 24-hour alert".

Another step closer to nuclear war?

Beds are being installed for more than 100 crew members - enough to man bombers that would be positioned on nine concrete alert pads.

"Our job", said General Goldfein, "is options".

Now with the UK's Foreign Secretary set to praise his military preparedness, Trump has warned North Korea it is "shocking" how "totally prepared" the United States is for conflict with Kim.

B-52s have not carried nuclear weapons since the Cold War.

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