First, it was President Trump’s sudden decision to amend an emergency exec-order signed by George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which allows the Pentagon to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots in order to mitigate a serious shortage of combat pilots. Now, according to a Defense One article, the USAF is getting ready to prep nuke bomber 24 hour alert, a thing unheard of since the end of the Cold War.
Nuclear armed bombers will be back on 24 hour-ready-alert, a status which was the normal back in the day when communist USSR was our sworn enemy. Here’s the Air Force chief of staff Gen. David Goldfein as he was being interviewed during his week-long tour of various USAF bases:
“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared. 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.”
Various senior officials including Gen. David Goldfein were quoted as saying that the actual alert order had not been given yet, but the USAF is preparing in anticipation of the respective order, which is an almost certainty. The decision to give the order will be made by either Gen. Lori Robinson, the head of U.S. Northern Command or by Gen. John Hyten, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command.
NORTHCOM’s job is to defend North America while STRATCOM is in charge of our nuclear forces. The order that would put the old B52 bombers (and others) back on alert is the logical consequence of the rapid changes in the geopolitical environment. General David Goldfein went further into saying:
“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.”
“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?’”
“How do we think about it — how do we think about deterrence in that environment?”
What’s left to say other that we’re pushing DEFCON 3 as we must protect America’s Precious Bodily Fluids.