US Needs 400 New Nuclear ICBMs to Deter ‘Crazy World’: General

 

NATIONAL Harbor, Md. — “We are in a crazy world” of proliferating nuclear threats that will persist for generations to come and require the U.S. to invest $80 billion to $100 billion in new ICBMs to deter adversaries, Air Force Gen. Robin Rand said Monday.

“There are bad characters around the world” who “need to know we’re ready,” Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said during a strategic deterrence panel at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber convention. Continue reading

Less than half of the US bomber fleet is ready to ‘fight tonight’

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer prepares to take off for a 10-hour mission from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, into Japanese airspace and over the Korean Peninsula, July 30, 2017. (Tech. Sgt. Richard P. Ebensberger/Air Force)

 

WASHINGTON – Less than half of the bombers President Donald Trump would rely upon to be “locked and loaded” against North Korea could launch today if needed, according to the latest Air Force figures available.

That’s not a surprise to the bomb squadrons who have seen firsthand the combined effects of aircraft age, the demand of 15 years of air war operations and reduced budgets. But the numbers can be stark. Of the nation’s 75 conventional and nuclear B-52s, only about 33 are ready to fly at any given time, according to Air Force statistics. Of the 62 conventional B-1s, only about 25 are ready. With the 20 nuclear B-2 stealth bombers, the number drops further. Seven or eight bombers are available, according to the Air Force.

On a nominal basis you don’t have more than single digits of B-2s available to do anything,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Dave Deptula, currently the dean of the Mitchell Institute of Aerospace.

“If anything good comes out of the North Korea crisis,” it should be a wake-up call, he said.

“It’s not just the nation’s bomber force,” that is so stretched, Deptula said. “It’s the military writ large. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest and least ready it’s ever been in history – that should get people’s attention.”

Continue reading

Modernizing America’s Nuclear Capabilities Is a Must

A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile in its silo in Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, circa 1980. (Image source: U.S. Department of Defense)

 

 

  • In 1989, America had 1,000 nuclear missile silos, and a small number of additional bomber and submarine bases and submarines at sea, facing 13,500 Soviet warheads. Today, the U.S. has 450 such silos facing 1,750 Russian warheads. That is a switch from a ratio of 13 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo, to a ratio of 4 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. Getting rid of Minuteman ICBMs would reverse that progress and make the ratio even worse, with 175 Russian warheads to every U.S. missile silo. How is that an improvement?
  • The U.S. “cannot afford to delay modernization initiatives” while the “American people and our allies are counting on congressional action to fund our nuclear enterprise modernization efforts.” — General Robin Rand, the commander of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
  • America’s ability to defend itself is at stake.

In April 2017, the Pentagon launched the U.S. Defense Department’s legislatively mandated quadrennial Nuclear Posture Review to determine American policy, strategy and capabilities. The process now underway involves testimony from experts arguing over how the estimated $27 billion spent annually (growing over the next decade by an additional $10 billion a year) on America’s nuclear arsenal should be allocated. Continue reading

White House Mulls Big Nuclear Policy Changes, and Lawmakers Speak Up

With this nuclear policy change, it means no first-strike capability. No first-strike capability means that America’s enemies would be able to nuke America first before it would be able to decide to retaliate. It works great for everyone but America.

 

 

WASHINGTON — As the clock ticks down on the final term of US President Barack Obama, who is believed to be reviewing a potential disarmament agenda for his last months in office, there has been a flurry of activity on Capitol Hill to try to influence the internal debate.

Lawmakers both pro and con for nuclear modernization have fired off dueling letters—the latest a July 20 letter to Obama from five key House Democrats who want to scale back standing nuclear modernization plans. Continue reading

USAF begins removing nuclear role from some B-52 bombers

America’s continued suicidal disarmament while its enemies continue to arm and modernize:

 

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Thirty of the USAF’s 76 operational B-52H bombers are to lose their nuclear role under the terms of the New START treaty with Russia. A further 12 monthballed aircraft will also go through the process, with work set to be complete in early 2017. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen

 

The US Air Force (USAF) has begun converting nearly half of its Boeing B-52H Stratofortress strategic bombers to the conventional role only, in line with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) signed with Russia in April 2010, the service announced on 17 September.

Conversion of the first (serial number 61-1021) of 30 operational aircraft into non-nuclear-capable platforms was completed at Barksdale Air Force Base (AFB) in Louisiana over the previous weeks. Continue reading

Air Force security failed nuke test

WASHINGTON — Armed security forces at a nuclear missile base failed a drill last summer that simulated the hostile takeover of a missile launch silo because they were unable to speedily regain control of the captured nuclear weapon, according to an internal Air Force review obtained by the Associated Press.

The previously unreported failure, which the Air Force called a “critical deficiency,” was the reason the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana flunked its broader safety and security inspection.

The security team was required to respond to the simulated capture of a Minuteman 3 nuclear missile silo, termed an “Empty Quiver” scenario in which a nuclear weapon is lost, stolen or seized. Each of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 silos contains one missile armed with a nuclear warhead and ready for launch on orders from the president. Continue reading

Military removes commander of nuclear weapons unit

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. (AP) — The Air Force has removed the commander of a nuclear weapons unit at a Montana base following a failed safety and security inspection that marked the second major misstep this year for one of the military’s most sensitive missions.

Military leaders say the decision to relieve Col. David Lynch of command at Malmstrom Air Force Base stems from a loss of confidence. They say it is not the result of the failed inspection this month first reported by The Associated Press on Aug. 13. Continue reading