Only a few days before US President Donald Trump’s November visit to South Korea, Vice-President Mike Pence warned US troops to “be ready” as the Pentagon moves quickly to upgrade its aging B-52 nuclear-equipped bombers.
“Now, more than ever, your commander in chief is depending on you to be ready,” Pence said during a speech to assembled United States Air Force (USAF) duty personnel at North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base, host to at least 26 B-52 bombers and an estimated 150 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch sites.
As the continuing threat posed by the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) nuclear-weapons development has become the central focus of Trump administration foreign policy, lawmakers and military brass have tightened protocols, focused resources and continuously issued warnings of US readiness to engage in nuclear war, if Washington feels that it is threatened militarily.
During a recent visit to Louisiana’s Barksdale Air Force Base — home of the 2nd Bomb Wing and the Air Force Global Strike Command — USAF chief of staff, General David Goldfein, asserted that moves had been made to upgrade the nuclear-equipped B-52 Cold War-era bomber, going so far as to allude that a 24-hour state of readiness would soon be ordered — a move not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” Goldfein stated, adding that, “It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right,” cited by Defense One.
His remarks were quickly discounted in a subsequent statement by the Barksdale-based bomber wing’s public affairs office, but the threat implied by the top USAF general’s comments have only been seen to add fuel to the fire of incipient nuclear war.
VP Pence has done little to tone down the rhetoric.
Attending a briefing with USAF Secretary Heather Wilson regarding US nuclear preparedness, Pence stated that a threat to Washington and its allies would be met with “military power that is effective and overwhelming, cited by Politico.
Pence’s public relations blitz in North Dakota is hot on the heels of highly classified meetings over the last two months at US National Geospatial Intelligence, National Security Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and with the US Director of National Intelligence, according to Politico.