Hollywood once made a film about America’s newest bomber. That was 60 years ago. All the stars that made the movie are dead. The B-52 is still around. The Pentagon plans to fly the plane on the frontlines until 2040.
In part, what keeps the B-52 in the air is that it is a remarkable aircraft. But there is more to the story. The entirety of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the weapons and the delivery system like the B-52 bomber are aging. That’s a problem.
Obama may be making a pilgrimage to Hiroshima to plead for a nuclear-free world. Unfortunately, his efforts to reduce nuclear threats have utterly failed.
To make matters worse, in two terms as president, Obama has done next to nothing to make a dent in nuclear modernization.
Defense analyst Loren Thompson finds the utter absence of attention to “the sole man-made threat capable of wiping out American civilization for the foreseeable future” as something next to suicidal.
Rebuilding America’s arsenal is going to have to be a top priority for the next president.
Last year, the Air Force awarded a contract to build a new bomber. In February, the GAO rejected a protest against the award. Still, there are already concerns in Congress about how they service plans to fund the new bomber.
A new movie from Hollywood might help.
Better though would be a new administration that makes building the bomber right among its national priorities.