Amid rising tensions with North Korea and a resurgent Putin-led Russia, General David Goldfein told Defense One that the strategic bomber force will be ready at a day’s notice for the first time in 26 years.
Adapting to the ‘reality of the global situation’, Goldfein’s order would see B-52s readied at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana and armed with nuclear weapons – something not seen since 1991.
In response to the news, North Korea said President Trump was ‘overheated with a war fever’ and branded him a ‘hooligan’ and a ‘lunatic’.
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The government-owned news agency KCNA lashed out in a furious tirade: ‘Dignitaries of White House, and State and Defense Departments of the US are having a hard time cooling Trump overheated with a war fever, but only the south Korean puppet forces are fanning up the lunatic fingering a nuclear button.
‘Lunatic Trump is running headlong into ruin, taking America with him, and the poor puppet forces are following him, at the peril of their lives.
‘The darkness drooping low over America is sunset, not dawn, and no force can stop America from rushing headlong into downhill after over-living its era.
‘No wonder, such hooligan as thoughtless Trump is going on the rampage after becoming owner of White House, rendering the world restless.’
Barksdale – the home of the 2D Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command – is currently being refurbished in anticipation of the change in defense posture to allow the bombers to ‘take off at a moment’s notice’.
This is the latest defensive move from the US military, matching the bellicose threats that President Trump has posted on Twitter, putting North Korea, Iran and other American enemies on notice he will use the might of the armed forces.
This comes after Donald Trump met with top military chiefs on October 6, and made a comment about ‘calm before the storm.’
Speaking to Defense One, General Goldfein emphasized that orders haven’t been given yet, but that they are preparing the bases in the event that it should happen.
‘This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,’ General Goldfein explained.
Were things to escalate, the decision to fire would be made by General John Hyten, commander of Strategic Command, or General Lori Robinson, head of Northern Command.
Readying the B-52s is just one of many decisions facing the Air Force as North Korea continues to advance its nuclear arsenal.
Kim Jong-Un’s rhetoric has grown more confrontational by the day – following his first threat to wipe the United States off the earth in early April.
General Goldfein has asked his force to think of new ways that nuclear weapons can be used for either deterrence or combat, he told Defense One.
Specifically, General Goldfein told airmen to think beyond Cold War uses for ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles.
‘The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,’ he explained.
‘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.’