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Asia-Pacific , Missile and Space

Who Needs Deterrence?

US Strategic Command Claims its B-1 Bombers Are in Fact Nuclear Capable, Maintains Nuclear Silos at Secret Locations Potentially on the Korean Peninsula

November 17th - 2017

At the end of the Cold War the United States claimed that it had denuclearised its fleet of B1-B Lancer long range supersonic bombers and removed its nuclear arsenal from South Korea. While several US adversaries, North Korea in particular, have long suspected that these claims were not entirely true, there was neither evidence to support or refute the American claim. Such countries were left for over two decades having to assume the worst, or else risk staking their national security on the word of their potential adversary. A statement from the U.S. Strategic Command in November 2017 however has confirmed the fears of these strategic adversaries - that the American military's B-1B bombers are in fact nuclear capable and that the country maintains 'secret silos' of nuclear hardware at undisclosed locations. The Korean Peninsula remains a likely location for these 'secret silos', considering both that the statement was made in the context of tensions with North Korea and that South Korea maintains all the U.S. military infrastructure necessary to house nuclear weapons - which had been deployed there from the early 1950s to the 1990s. This announcement has significant strategic implications, and may well lead to retaliation by nuclear escalation from strategic adversaries. It comes in the wake of the announcement that the B-52 bomber fleet, itself nuclear armed, is being put on a 24 hour full alert - as well as calls from the Trump administration to initiate a costly modernization program for the United States' nuclear arsenal.


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