For The First Time In 26 Years, US To Put Nuclear Bombers On 24 Hour Alert

The unexpected decision by President Trump to amend an emergency Sept 11 order signed by George W Bush, allowing the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired air force pilots to address what the Pentagon has decribed as "an acute shortage of pilots" caught us by surprise. After all, this was the first time we have heard of this particular labor shortage - perhaps there was more to this executive order than meets the eye. Indeed, a just released report may help explain the reasoning behind this presidential decision.

According to Defense One, the US Air Force is preparing to put nuclear-armed bombers back on 24-hour ready alert, a status not seen since the Cold War ended in 1991.

 That means the long-dormant concrete pads at the ends of Barksdale Air Force Base's 11,000-foot runway — dubbed the “Christmas tree” for their angular markings — could once again find several B-52s parked on them, laden with nuclear weapons and set to take off at a moment’s notice.

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

Quoted by Defense One, 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.

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, President Trump’s confrontational approach to Pyongyang, and 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, is asking his force to think about new ways that nuclear weapons could be used for deterrence, or even combat.

Quoted by Def One, he said that “the world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons. 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.” During his trip across the country last week, Goldfein encouraged airmen to think beyond Cold War uses for ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles.

“I’ve challenged…Air Force Global Strike Command to help lead the dialog, 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. “How do we think about it — how do we think about deterrence in that environment?”

Asked if placing B-52s back on alert — as they were for decades — would help with deterrence, Goldfein said it’s hard to say.

“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.

Meanwhile, various improvements have already been made to prepare Barksdale — home to the 2d Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command, which oversees the service’s nuclear forces — to return B-52s to an alert posture. Near the alert pads, an old concrete building — where B-52 crews during the Cold War would sleep, ready to run to their aircraft and take off at a moment’s notice — is being renovated.

Inside, beds are being installed for more than 100 crew members, more than enough room for the crews that would man bombers positioned on the nine alert pads outside. There’s a recreation room, with a pool table, TVs and a shuffleboard table. Large paintings of the patches for each squadron at Barksdale adorn the walls of a large stairway.


One painting — a symbol of the Cold War — depicts a silhouette of a B-52 with the words “Peace The Old Fashioned Way,” written underneath. At the bottom of the stairwell, there is a Strategic Air Command logo, yet another reminder of the Cold War days when American B-52s sat at the ready on the runway outside.


Those long-empty B-52 parking spaces will soon get visits by two nuclear command planes, the E-4B Nightwatch and E-6B Mercury, both which will occasionally sit alert there. During a nuclear war, the planes would become the flying command posts of 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 preparing to build storage facilities for a new nuclear cruise missile that is under development. During his trip, Goldfein received updates on the preliminary work for a proposed replacement for the 400-plus Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the new long-range cruise missile.

“Our job is options,” Goldfein told Defense One's Marcus Weisgerber. “We provide best military advice and options for the commander and 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."

And now that the US is preparing for immediate nuclear war readiness, all it needs is a provocation, one which a world which has never been more on edge over a stray tweet, may have little difficulty in finding...


skbull44 07564111 Sun, 10/22/2017 - 20:11 Permalink

Trump has pulled an even greater campaign con than Obama’s Hope and Change lie. He pointed out the fraudulent market and its Fed sponsors but has turned that into his personal victory because of his brilliant economic reforms. He also promised to turn around American foreign policy and bring the military home from failed interventions. But he is more and more looking to be just another in a long line of imperial-focused presidents using its military as a blunt instrument of force. I thought Obama’s lies were bad but this is turning into a horror show… 
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In reply to by 07564111

FreeShitter skbull44 Sun, 10/22/2017 - 20:17 Permalink

I hope everyone now realizes that voting solves nothing as long as the real president of this nation (whats left) the FRN, remains in control of the hands of the FED. End the fed, and voting might make a difference. Ever since Nov 22, 1963, voting has never mattered, except when you do vote you are feeding the beast and thus keeping the elites in power.

In reply to by skbull44

Hans-Zandvliet Bes Sun, 10/22/2017 - 20:47 Permalink

Trump is a muppet. It's no use to critisize a muppet; you should critisize the muppet masters.Unfortunately they're rather faceless, but they receide in the Pentagon, on Wall Street, at the Fed and in this spider web of the military-intelligence-security-industrial complex.Ordinary people are sick and tired of it, but nobody has a clue about how to deal with those faceless deep-state guys. So I guess we're just doomed. The deep-state will have its WW-3 nuclear orgasm. One year after the start of WW-3 at least half the human population will be dead and 10-20 years further down the road (after the nuclear winter has subsided) at best a few hundred million human stragglers will have survived.Then those neocon devils will crawl out of their nuclear bunkers, round them up and set them to work as slaves to build their Fourth Reich. And what a beautiful place it would be...

In reply to by Bes

Manthong loebster Sun, 10/22/2017 - 23:50 Permalink

  “Nuclear Bombers on Alert”   Oh, F Me How old school is that ?     ??? Wake up to the third millennium……… So.... how much for a slightly used B1 or even a slightly stealthy, hard-to-see B2  ?????? oh.. they are both really cool looking airplanes and their pilots and crew love them..........but they are not worth an F in a real war with a nuclear power.....  ....they are only good for the extortionists who steal the money to pay for them. .. 

In reply to by loebster

Buddha 71 Manthong Mon, 10/23/2017 - 01:46 Permalink

amen.we have junk. b52's, a joke, air craft carriers, floating targets, we just keep building junk. we sell junk also, like thaad missile defence, japan and south korea have thaads, so why did they let nkorean icbm fly over their heads ??? junk. n korea missiles are junk, nkorea's submarines are painted bright green and have screen doors. big joke.

In reply to by Manthong

Lore Manthong Mon, 10/23/2017 - 04:47 Permalink

Re: "We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability."  <-- Gee, how could that be?The rhetoric that these guys parrot is so predictably Orwellian.Dear old warhawks:  Party's over.  It's time to retire.  No more chest-thumping; no more games.  Spend quality time with your grandchildren and let us do the same.  Thanks. 

In reply to by Manthong

OverTheHedge IH8OBAMA Mon, 10/23/2017 - 00:25 Permalink

I'm more interested in the fact that they will drag a bunch of "retired" pilots, who are probably all working full time in real jobs, and make them sit in a concrete bunker, except for a few hours a day sitting in full kit on the apron, "ready to roll". Can anyone see morale issues here?Interestingly, I wrote "morale issues",  but the autocorrect said "moral issues". I suppose either works

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

techpriest Phil Free Mon, 10/23/2017 - 00:39 Permalink

The votes that matter do not happen in November, you can vote in the real elections, if you bother to show up.

Your local D/R party can probably fit around a coffee table, because no one shows up. If you aren't working your ass off to gain some financial or other freedom, it's worth showing up to the meetings once a month, if only to observe the people there.

In reply to by Phil Free

Hans-Zandvliet skbull44 Sun, 10/22/2017 - 20:31 Permalink

While it's not yet 4 years ago that STRATCOM was engulfed in scandals about generals going on a drinking binge with unknown foreign women and cheating with nuclear proficiency exams:… we are supposed to feel safer with those trigger hapy drunks being put on high allert?The deep state is hell bent on starting WW-3 and going all the way (i.e. a nuclear orgasm) AND THEY'LL MAKE SURE THEY'LL GET IT!!!

In reply to by skbull44

Perimetr skbull44 Sun, 10/22/2017 - 20:31 Permalink

Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles are believed to carry a total of approximately 1,000 strategic nuclear warheads that can hit the US less than 30 minutes after being launched. Of this total, about 700 warheads are rated at 800 kilotons; that is, each has the explosive power of 800,000 tons of TNT. What follows is a description of the consequences of the detonation of a single such warhead over midtown Manhattan, in the heart of New York City.… warhead would probably be detonated slightly more than a mile above the city, to maximize the damage created by its blast wave. Within a few tenths of millionths of a second after detonation, the center of the warhead would reach a temperature of roughly 200 million degrees Fahrenheit (about 100 million degrees Celsius), or about four to five times the temperature at the center of the sun. After one second, the fireball would be roughly a mile in diameter. It would have cooled from its initial temperature of many millions of degrees to about 16,000 degrees Fahrenheit, roughly 4,000 degrees hotter than the surface of the sun. On a clear day with average weather conditions, the enormous heat and light from the fireball would almost instantly ignite fires over a total area of about 100 square miles.  Within seconds after the detonation, fires set within a few miles of the fireball would burn violently. These fires would force gigantic masses of heated air to rise, drawing cooler air from surrounding areas toward the center of the fire zone from all directions.As the massive winds drove flames into areas where fires had not yet fully developed,the fires set by the detonation would begin to merge. Within tens of minutes of the detonation, fires from near and far would join to form a single, gigantic fire. The energy released by this mass fire would be 15 to 50 times greater than the energy produced by the nuclear detonation.The mass fire, or firestorm, would quickly increase in intensity, heating enormous volumes of air that would rise at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour. This chimney effect would pull cool air from outside the fire zone towards the center of the fire at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour. These superheated ground winds of more than hurricane force would further intensify the fire. At the edge of the fire zone, the winds would be powerful enough to uproot trees three feet in diameter and suck people from outside the fire into it.The inrushing winds would drive the flames from burning buildings horizontally along the ground, filling city streets with flames and firebrands, breaking in doors and windows, and causing the fire to jump, sometimes hundreds of feet, swallowing anything not already violently combusting.These above-hurricane-force ground winds would have average air temperatures well above the boiling point of water. The targeted area would be transformed into a huge hurricane of fire, producing a lethal environment throughout the entire fire zone.

In reply to by skbull44

Shockwave ScratInTheHat Mon, 10/23/2017 - 01:46 Permalink

So much hate for a pretty common sense answer. I too think our leaders are idiots, but not truly dumb enough to doom humanity.I think this is just a bunch of imbeciles talking tough, hoping the big bad N word causes the other to back down.I think we have real problems when they stop jabbing, and someone feels like theyve got nowhere else to go.

In reply to by ScratInTheHat