Skip to Content

The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress long-range, subsonic, strategic bomber (Wikipedia)

US Air Force preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers on alert

The US Air Force at Barksdale Air Fore Base, near Bossier City, Louisiana — is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

Published: October 23, 2017, 7:54 am

    If the order comes, the B-52s will return to a ready-to-fly posture not seen since the Cold War, Defence One revealed in an exclusive report.

    The Base’s runways — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — will have B-52s carrying nuclear weapons, parked and ready to take off at any moment.

    “This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, said in an interview.

    Goldfein has been touring several bases in support of the US 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 explained that while the alert has not been given yet, preparations are under way in anticipation of it.

    General John Hyten, the commander of US Strategic Command, or General Lori Robinson, the head of US Northern Command have been tasked to give the order. In charge of the US military’s nuclear forces is STRATCOM and the defence of North America falls under NORTHCOM.

    The decision to place B-52s on alert comes in response “to a changing geopolitical environment” that includes “Russia’s increasingly potent and active armed forces”.

    Goldfein, who is the Air Force’s top officer and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has demanded input on “new ways that nuclear weapons could be used” in combat, according to Defence One.

    “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.”

    Goldfein has encouraged the US military “to think beyond Cold War uses for ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles” he says.

    “I’ve challenged… Air Force Global Strike Command to help lead the dialogue, help with this discussion about ‘What does conventional conflict look like with a nuclear element?’ and ‘Do we respond as a global force if that were to occur?’ and ‘What are the options?’” he said.

    Goldfein has denied that the move would undermine global nuclear deterrence. “Really it depends on who, what kind of behavior are we talking about, and whether they’re paying attention to our readiness status,” he said.

    In Barksdale — home to the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the service’s nuclear forces — crew readiness stations are currently being renovated.

    Inside the readiness stations, beds are being installed for more than 100 airmen manning the bombers positioned on the nine alert pads outside.

    Two nuclear command planes, the E-4B Nightwatch and E-6B Mercury, will also both be placed on alert. In a coming nuclear war, the planes are deployed as flying command posts for the defense secretary and STRATCOM commander, respectively.

    “If a strike order is given by the president, the planes would be used to transmit launch codes to bombers, ICBMs and submarines. 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.”

    Barksdale and other bases with nuclear bombers are meanwhile planning the construction of storage facilities for a new nuclear cruise missile. Preliminary work for a proposed replacement for the 400-plus Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as the new long-range cruise missile, is being done.

    “Our job is options,” Goldfein said. “We provide best military advice and options for the commander in chief and the secretary of defense. Should the STRATCOM commander require or the NORTHCOM commander require us to [be on] a higher state of readiness to defend the homeland, then we have to have a place to put those forces.”

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    • This is terribly disquieting. Gen. David Goldfein, Air Force chief of staff, and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sounds way too eager to find “new ways that nuclear weapons could be used” in combat.

    Americas

    Trump advisor Bolton coordinated US strike on Syria with Israel

    WashingtonIsraeli media reported that John Bolton spoke with his Israeli counterpart, Meir Ben Shabbat, to coordinate the US-led attack on Syria early on Saturday morning.

    Trump vows to bomb Syria – Russia threatens retaliation

    In a tweet today, United States President Donald Trump said that Russia vows to shoot down missiles targeting Syria and comments: “Get ready Russia, because they will be coming”. Military experts now talk about a situation more explosive than the Cuban Crisis of 1962. The geopolitical analyst Manuel Ochsenreiter tells FWM that the harsh rhetoric in any case has destroyed the diplomatic mechanisms that helped prevent escalation during the Cold War.

    Trump calls Black Caucus member ‘low-IQ individual’

    President Trump has described a Congressional Black Caucus member as a "low-IQ individual". The US president spoke at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania special House election candidate Rick Saccone.

    Half of new Democratic hopefuls are former CIA or other operatives

    WashingtonThe Democratic Party in the United States is looking to capture a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections. But as many as half of their new representatives will be former CIA and other intelligence operatives.

    YouTube uses extremist non-profit SPLC to go after conservatives

    Somali-born Dutch-American activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a leading voice for the reformation of Islam. The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center has now labeled her an "anti-Muslim extremist" because she is an advocate for women’s rights in Islam.

    Marion Maréchal-Le Pen: ‘France is no longer free’

    WashingtonYoung French politician Marion Maréchal-Le Pen spoke at the leading American conservative conference outside Washington DC on Thursday, as anti-globalism continues to rise across Europe.

    ‘Kremlin trolling monitor’ a scam says Dutch expert

    The HagueSybrand Buma, the chairman of the CDA in the Lower House, told Dutch news service WNL in January that "Russian trolls" want to cause unrest in the Netherlands via Twitter. Buma claimed they did so during a debate in the House of Representatives. His claim turned out to be rubbish.

    The total implosion of CNN’s anti-conservative news

    Cable’s waning news network giant CNN, has seen its viewership drop by nearly a third during peak-watching hours compared to last year and by almost a quarter during the day.

    Media ignore Big Pharma angle after Florida mass shooting

    The mainstream media has not questioned how serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or drugs may be linked to mass shootings given that they are funded by Big Pharma ad revenue.

    Viewer stats crash for Winter Olympic Games without Russia

    Viewer numbers will not even earn the opening of the Olympic Games franchise a bronze medal. It is down 9 percent from what the February 7, 2014 Opening Ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics from Sochi in Russia delivered in the early numbers.

    Go to archive