Leon Tan — Morning Ledger Oct 15, 2016
The state of affairs between the US and Russia at this time seems to be unstable. A US Russia War has become a greater concern more recently; shades of the Cold War and nuclear arms races are being reflected in today’s reality. Given the current situation, has the US elevated its defense system to DEFCON level 3?
EFCON refers to “defense readiness condition”, the state’s level of readiness to act against an external threat such as that of nuclear war. DEFCON can be referred to in its 5 levels. Level 5 would be the state of lowest risk. Level 1, on the other hand, would refer to an imminent threat of nuclear war and indicate the state’s position to immediately respond. Level 3 means that the US Air Force will be ready to mobilise in a mere 15 minutes.
According to the unofficial site DEFCON Warning System, DEFCON is already at level 3. Current international events, rising tensions, and therefore the increased possibility of a declared US Russia War seems to have raised the level. There is no lack of potential triggers – the greatest of which would be the state of the Syrian civil war, which has had both the US and Russia blaming each other over a broken ceasefire agreement, bombed aid envoys, and devastating airstrikes on and around Aleppo. With the US backing rebel groups and Russia pushing Bashar al-Assad’s government, the continued bloodshed has not made communication between the two nations any easier.
Meanwhile, Russia has joined China in trying to block the operation of a US missile network in Europe and Asia. The tensions have even spilled over onto the presidential elections, where suspicions of Donald Trump conspiring with Russians have cropped up.
Though the threat of war seems to be rising on a few fronts, the DEFCON level 3 indication reported by the website is only speculation; the actual DEFCON status is not shared with the public by the US Military for obvious security reasons. The website, unaffiliated with any branch of the military, urges visitors to “make their own evaluations” and “learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack”.
While being ready for a nuclear attack or a US Russia War would certainly put the public at ease, however, nothing would do that better than the two superpowers simply backing down.