October 24, 2017 09:20
The U.S. Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since the Cold War in response to North Korea's "rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal", U.S. news site Defense One reported Sunday.
The concrete pads at the runway of Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana "could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment's notice," it said.
"This is yet one more step in ensuring that we're prepared," Air Force chief of staff Gen. David 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."
"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," the website added.
The decision would be made by the commander of U.S. Strategic Command, who is in charge of the U.S. military's nuclear forces.
"Various improvements have been made to prepare Barksdale... to return B-52s to an alert posture," it added.
"Putting the B-52s back on alert is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as the U.S. military responds to a changing geopolitical environment that includes North Korea's rapidly advancing nuclear arsenal... and Russia's increasingly potent and active armed forces," Defense One added. "The world is a dangerous place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons," Goldfein said.
U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News that day,"You would be shocked to see how totally prepared [for action against North Korea] we are if we need to be."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com