A shocking story from Defense One broke on Monday. According to the report, which has been echoed and confirmed by several other journalistic outfits, the U.S. Air Force is getting ready to put our nuclear-armed B-52s on 24-hour ready alert status for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
From Defense One:
“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview during his six-day tour of Barksdale and other U.S. Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission. “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.”
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.[…]
“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.”
It’s hard to hear this news without feeling a little trickle of dread, but we should perhaps not be surprised. Our rhetorical war with North Korea shows no signs of cooling off, and the Trump administration just sent a crystal clear message to Iran that our country is not going to follow the Obama playbook. These countries and their totalitarian leaders are beginning to realize that the U.S., under new leadership, is no longer willing to stand by and watch global threats develop past the point of no return. They will soon enough be left with only two options – bow before the international pressure…or take their chances in war.
We know that President Trump and his leadership team is hoping these countries will make the wise choice, but this news from Defense One shows that the military is preparing for the possibility that they won’t.