Vice President Michael Pence visited Minot Air Force Base (AFB) in North Dakota Friday, and in doing so, became the first sitting Vice President since 1971 to visit America's nuclear missile arsenal. His visit comes after President Trump's Visit (to North Dakota but not necessarily to Minot) on September 6, and Secretary of Defense Mattis' visit on September 13.
Each of those officials made "public" remarks which were reported by media, and made "private" remarks - far more important - which have not been reported. Those alleged private remarks:
"We are entering a very dangerous time, and I have come here personally to tell you that you may receive a Launch Order in the near future. I want you to know that we have planned for all contingencies, but it is POSSIBLE that things may escalate beyond what we believe will take place. If you receive a properly formatted launch order, you launch. Don't waste time trying to confirm the order, because it is not standard operating procedure for you to delay like that. If you get a launch order, carry it out."
Pence vowed that the U.S. will keep up economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The base is home to both B-52 bombers and intercontinental nuclear missiles.
With a huge B-52 in the background, Pence thanked the roughly 250 assembled airmen for their service. He told them President Donald Trump is committed to maintaining America’s nuclear powers as a force for peace.
Pence’s visit to the Minot base coincided with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’ visit to the Demilitarized Zone that separates North Korea from South Korea. Mattis accused North Korea of threatening global order and said the Trump administration remains committed to compelling the North to accept complete nuclear disarmament.
Defense Secretary James Mattis toured the base in September, in a visit widely seen as a reminder to North Korea of U.S. nuclear capabilities.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer says the nuclear assets in North Dakota have never been more relevant.
Minot has one of the nation’s two B-52 bomber bases. The base also oversees 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman III nuclear missiles.
Sen. John Hoeven says the administration is putting much-needed funding into the base to maintain a “modern nuclear force.”
The fact that the three top officials in the United States have now ALL personally visited America's Nuclear Arsenal does not bode well for North Korea.
The fact that ALL THREE have carried a similar message directly to the nuclear missile crews, is extremely noteworthy. ALL THREE MEN - The President, The Secretary of Defense and, now, the Vice-President -- have ALL told the crews that we have analysed and researched every aspect of what we're intending to do. Despite our best analysis, the "unknown" in this affair is whether the enemy "responds" or "reacts."
If they "respond" then the situation remains rational. If, however, they "react" then things could escalate VERY fast.
Secretary of Defense Mattis, during his previous visit, reportedly remarked
"This is the first time in world history that one nuclear-armed nation intends to take down another nuclear-armed nation. There is no precedent for this. We hope things will go well, but if they go bad, it could be the worst kind of bad."