For months, the United States has looked to be on the brink of war with the hermit kingdom of North Korea.
The tiny Asian nation and it’s matching dictator, Kim Jong Un, have been stoking the fires of international conflict for years, but a particular emphasis has been made to antagonize the United States under the rule of President Donald Trump. For Trump’s part, the Commander in Chief has not missed a beat, quickly responding in kind to a great many of Kim’s verbal threats, and positioning a number of U.S. military assets well within striking distance of the rogue regime.
Now, there is little left that Kim Jong Un could do that wouldn’t be met with a military strike by U.S. forces, and to reiterate that point the American Air Force is making a rather sizable move in their nuclear bomber department.
“The U.S. 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 this 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, said 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.’
“Already, various improvements have 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.”
This move will certainly pique Kim Jong Un’s interest, given that his actions are likely the cause for such preparations.
As the U.S. continues to prepare for the other shoe to drop in North Korea, there are concerns over what reaction any military maneuvers on the Korean Peninsula would receive from Russia and China; nations who both have vested interests within the DPRK.