The US Air Force is preparing to put its B-52 nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert, an unusual situation which hasn’t happened since the Cold War ended in 1991. Still, the Air Force Chief says the decision was made to tackle not one specific threat but “the reality of the global situation.”







B1-B bombers flying over South Korea

B1-B bombers flying over South Korea Photo credit: US Air Force/Channel 2 News

For the first time since the Cold War, the US Air Force is preparing to put its nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert.

Gen. David Goldfein, the US Air Force Chief of Staff, told Defense One that the decision was made to ensure that the US was prepared, but did not state any specific threat, such as the one coming from North Korea.

“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,” he said.

According to the report, placing the B-52 planes back on 24-hour alert is just one of several steps the US Air Force is preparing to take.

“The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons,” Gen. Goldfein said. “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.”