Amid rising tensions with North Korea, the US has launched a worldwide nuclear war drill involving nuclear-capable missiles and bombers.
The worldwide annual war games began on Tuesday.
US Strategic Command (StratCom) described the secretive drill called “Global Thunder”, as preparing their forces for “wherever they are needed”.
Press TV reports:
The Pentagon has not released many details about the exercise, but its mission statement is to prepare the American nuclear command center for war.
The drill comes as the US is threatening to launch a military strike against North Korea with Russia and China warning against any such attack.
Moscow has spoken out over the drill, saying, “Russia’s nuclear potential significantly outstrips that of the US.”
According to reports, US forces are expected to practice first strike and missile defense exercises during the drill.
America’s B-52 Stratofortresses and B-2 bombers conducted strike missions during the last year’s drill.
“These exercises achieve the vision of a unified team, integrating all the capabilities of US Strategic Command across the globe wherever and whenever needed,” US Air Force General John Hyten said.
“We need to integrate our strategic capabilities in order to deliver multi-domain effects against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time,” he added.
According to reports the administration of US President Donald Trump is working on a new nuclear weapons policy that would end the post-Cold War disarmament and allow Washington to expand its arsenal.
Trump and his top national security advisers discussed the matter in September at the White House, where the first draft of the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was presented.
Apparently, Congress and US allies have been briefed on the progress of the new NPR, which is still being debated and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, The Guardian reported Sunday.
Among the elements being considered under the expansion plan are new low yield warheads for ballistic missiles as well as sea-launched cruise missiles.
Washington is currently keeping some 450 long-range nuclear missiles in underground silos across the US, in addition to an undisclosed number deployed to its military bases in Europe.
Tensions between the US and North Korea have dramatically increased following a series of weapons tests by Pyongyang and an ugly war of words between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Trump has called on China, North Korea’s main ally, to help contain North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
But relations between the United States and Russia have hit their lowest ebb since the end of the Cold War in 1991, largely due to the crises in Ukraine and Syria and over allegations Moscow meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.
The North Korean leader has ordered the production of more rocket warheads and engines, shortly after the United States suggested that its threats of military action and sanctions were having an impact on Pyongyang’s behavior.
Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea. Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.
A former American Senate foreign policy adviser has said the risk of war between the United States and North Korea has increased by about 30 percent, after the US Air Force decided to place its fleet of B-52 nuclear bombers on 24-hour alert for the first time since 1991.