Inside the Nuclear Triad (Part One): ICBMs
The threat of nuclear war is the highest it’s been since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Coffee or Die Magazine’s Nolan Peterson visited a US Air Force nuclear missile silo and underground launch facility. He observed how America’s nuclear missile arsenal remains on alert 24 hours a day, every day, ready to defend the homeland should the unthinkable ever come to pass.
The 319th Strategic Missile Squadron, based out of F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, maintains an arsenal of Cold War-era, nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are always ready to launch within minutes. Those missiles belong to US Air Force Global Strike Command, which also controls America’s fleet of nuclear-capable strategic bombers. AFGSC and the bombers make up two legs of the so-called nuclear triad, which also includes the US Navy’s submarine-based missiles.
America has never gone to war against a nuclear-armed adversary. But in this new era of great-power competition, the US homeland is increasingly enmeshed within a global threat environment more complicated, and perhaps more dangerous, than the Cold War ever was.