Are YOU on High Alert?

Russian ICBM test launch
A Russian ICBM test launch

I’ve heard rumbles and rumors that U.S. nuclear forces are on high alert and that they have dispersed nuclear bombers to multiple locations. Here are some possible reasons:

  • NATO is in the middle of a two-week nuclear exercise called Steadfast Noon, using non-strategic nuclear bombs.
  • Russia just practiced nuclear launches in an exercise that was supposed to simulate a “massive nuclear strike.”
  • We could also be on high alert because of all of Russia’s bluster and blather about using nuclear weapons. (In fact, I think it would be foolish if we weren’t on alert.)
  • North Korea has been launching multiple ballistic missiles and is planning a nuclear test.
  • At least some U.S. military leaders believe China will soon invade Taiwan.

I can’t help but wonder if the two-week exercise NATO is running is cover for the dispersal of nuclear weapons to sites across Europe. This could include the addition of more bombs to sites where they are known to be stored, as well as the addition of bombs where none are normally present. It might also allow the U.S. to station men and airplanes at airfields where they are not normally based.

This would be a clever use of an exercise. You show the Russians what they expect to see and perhaps they don’t see what’s going on behind the curtain.

Russia tried and failed to hide their invasion forces behind the idea that it was a massive training exercise. Maybe we’re showing them how it’s done with misdirection and greater subtlety. After all, the U.S. is supposedly hiding experimental aircraft at Area 51 and other locations. Why can’t they hide planes in Europe? It’s not like they don’t know when the Russian and Chinese satellites are passing overhead.

The Unknowns

There are many unknowns, of course. We don’t know what is happening; only Internet rumors that are never first hand. “I heard it from a friend who knowns a guy who works at NORAD” type of stuff. If a country is going to be secretive about anything, you’d think it would be their plans for nuclear war. But it goes beyond that.

For example, we don’t know if the Russians are planning an attack or not. We don’t know Putin’s health condition or his mental state. Despite claims, we don’t know if Russia’s military would let Putin trigger a nuclear war. We don’t know if the U.S. would respond to an attack on Ukraine, or how they would choose to do so.

Some would argue that the unknowns are what make this a scary situation. Many of us are better dealing with concrete threats than the great unknown.

Should you be on High Alert?

I’m not on high alert to the point where I rush to check the headlines to make sure no nukes have gone off. If one does, an alert will show up on my phone from the news sources to which I subscribe. Neither do I stay up late worrying about nuclear war, and I don’t think you should, either, because we can’t prevent it. All we can do is take actions to protect ourselves from fallout if we survive a nuclear attack or war.

Instead of worrying, I get prepared. My location is a pretty good one because mountains surround us. That should protect us from blast damage, including heat and radiation. The optimal height to airburst a nuke is actually lower than our mountains, so they should buffer us from most of the immediate impact.

Bugging Out

I have talked to close family members and people who will bug out here to make sure their plans are up to date and they have a bugout bag packed. If you plan to bug out in the case of a nuclear event, I would encourage you to make sure your bugout bag is ready and your plans are in place as well. Since you should be able to drive, I would pack some clothes in a piece of luggage and set aside anything else you want to take with you when you bug out. This could include everything from food and weapons to board games.

It’s also a good idea to have a full tank of gas, paper maps in case the GPS system is down, and some cash in case you cannot use your cards and electronic payment methods. When we planned to bug out, I had multiple routes plotted, and we practiced by taking a different route to or from our retreat most visits. This included routes that avoided interstate highways.

I had once considered getting an enclosed cargo trailer and packing it with prepping gear so we could hook up and bug out. We never did this because of the cost. Instead, our plan was to drive two vehicles, a truck and an SUV, both of which had four-wheel drive. This would allow us to carry more supplies and to have some redundancy if one vehicle failed or was involved in an accident. Now we have eliminated those concerns by moving to our prepper property and living here full time.

We didn’t move because we feared nuclear war, but knowing this was a relatively safe location far from targets didn’t hurt. The best way to survive a nuclear strike is to be as far away as possible.

City or Country?

There are those who predict that an attack by Russian nukes would target our Minute Man missile silos, airfields that house bombers, naval bases, and military bases in an effort to prevent a response. I disagree. That may be the smart tactic, and it may be what we would do, but Russia has been attacking civilian targets since the first days of its Ukraine invasion. I don’t see why they would stop now when a couple warheads targeting Washington D.C., Arlington, Va., New York, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans, and a few other big cities would cause catastrophic damage and slow our recovery tremendously.

Regardless of what Russia does, I’m going to stick with my premise that cities are no place to be when the SHTF.