United States said to ready nukes amid war of words with North Korea

A North Korean long-range rocket is launched

The U.S. Air Force is denying a recent report suggesting the military is readying nuclear-armed B-52 bombers for 24-hour alert.

According to Defense One, the USA bombers, armed with nuclear weapons, would be set to take off at a moment's notice once the order is in place.

"The world is a unsafe place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons", Gen. Goldfein said, who pointed out that times have changed since the USA and the Soviet Union confronted on another.

In an interview with the USA newspaper Defense One, he revealed that preparations were already under way for the B-52 bombers to be on permanent alert.

The U.S. Air Force began flying the B-52s around the Korean peninsula after North Korea's nuclear test in early 2016.

A U.S. Air Force B-52 flies over Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, January 10, 2016. The Air Force is just gearing up in case the situation arises.

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Goldfein told Defense One that "the world is a unsafe place and we've got folks that are talking openly about use of nuclear weapons", while stressing that preparations were underway although no official order had been given.

This seems a wise precaution, given that the bombers are the most survivable leg of our nuclear triad that include subs and ICBMs.

Meanwhile, Japan's Defense Minister Itsunori Odonera asserted yesterday that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities have grown to an "unprecedented, critical and imminent" level. "It's never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right", the general said.

"You would be shocked to see how totally prepared we are if we need to be", Trump said in an interview on the Fox Business Network on Sunday, adding to fears of imminent nuclear conflict.

The Christmas tree at Barksdale will also be receiving two additional visitors soon, the E-4B Nightwatch and E-6B Mercury. Should the commander in chief issue a nuclear strike order, the launch codes would be transmitted from these command planes to nuclear bombers, ICBM launch facilities, or nuclear capable submarines-the three components of the nuclear triad. 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.

"Our job", said General Goldfein, "is options".

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