The Pentagon is set to begin a round of drills simulating a nuclear war, according to a Defense Department press release. The war games come as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warns a civilization-ending war is closer than at any time in history.
The military exercises, dubbed Global Thunder 23, will be conducted by Strategic Command (STRATCOM). American soldiers and bombers will be joined by allies in the war games. The STRATCOM press release said this year’s drills “will include an increase in bomber aircraft flights throughout the exercise.”
Global Thunder is an annual war game. The exercises are typically conducted at the end of the year. Last year, the Pentagon delayed Global Thunder until early 2023. Making this year’s iteration of Global Thunder the first since Russia invaded Ukraine. During Global Thunder 22, held in November 2021, US strategic bombers flew within 12.4 miles of the Russian border and simulated a nuclear attack.
STRATCOM maintains the war games are “not in response to actions by any nation or other actors,” but are rather intended to “enhance nuclear readiness and ensure a safe, secure, and reliable strategic deterrence force.”
However, an American military officer said in 2019 that training missions in Europe could be used to drop bombs. “It’s no longer just to go partner with our NATO allies, or to go over and have a visible presence of American air power,” said Col. Michael Miller, 2nd Bomb Wing commander. “That’s part of it, but we are also there to drop weapons if called to do so.”
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has warned that the proxy war between Washington and Moscow is pushing the world toward a nuclear conflict. “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality. 90 seconds to midnight is the closest the clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly,” BAS president and CEO Rachel Bronson said in January. “The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the clock.”