War Rumours, Threats: It Could Extinguish ‘Essentially All Life on Earth’: U.S. Air Force’s Nuclear Command Is Reorganizing
David Axe The National Interest•November 28, 2019
The U.S. Air Force’s nuclear command says it’s about to undergo a major reorganization as it prepares to field new bombs, missiles, bombers and rockets.
Air Force Global Strike Command stood up in 2009 as the successor to Strategic Air Command, which maintained around-the-clock nuclear alerts during the Cold War.
Today the command’s almost 35,000 personnel oversee 20 B-2 stealth bombers, 75 B-52 bombers and 450 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles together capable of delivering thousands of nuclear warheads. It also operates over 60 B-1 bombers that do not have a nuclear mission.
AFGSC’s forces comprise the aerial and ground “legs” of the United States’s atomic triad (3) which also includes the U.S. Navy’s submarine-launched Trident (3) ballistic missiles.
The command’s forces are capable of extinguishing essentially all life on Earth within a matter of hours.
Accidents and misbehavior marred AFGSC’s early years. In 2014 ICBM crews got caught cheating on tests. In 2018 security forces at Minot Air Force Base, home to a portion of the Minuteman fleet, lost track of some of their weapons. The suicide rate is high in the atomic force.
Now the command is in the beginning of a modernization effort costing tens of billions of dollars. New B-21 stealth bombers are slated to supplant the B-1s and B-2s starting in the mid-2020s. The Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent rocket, a replacement for the 1960s-vintage Minuteman, is in development.
The new Long-Range Stand-Off Weapon, a nuclear-tipped cruise missile, will replace the B-52’s current nuclear cruise missiles. The bomber fleet is getting a refurbished model of its main atomic gravity bomb, the B-61. The missile wings’ security forces are swapping out their five (5) -decade-old UH-1 helicopters for new MH-139s.
AFGSC wants new concepts to accompany the new hardware. “The need for a clear way ahead is more prevalent now than ever with the five (5) rising tensions between Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and transnational violent extremism (‘those who worship the dragon), and the increase in our adversaries’ nuclear capabilities and innovations,” AFGSC stated.
Categories: Rumors and Threats of Wars