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America’s vast nuclear arsenal is firmly in the spotlight. On Tuesday Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, presided over a hearing that is examining the authority of the U.S. president to order a nuclear weapon strike and the process for using nuclear weapons.

Neither this committee nor House Foreign Affairs Committee has scrutinized the nuclear authority issue since 1976, according to the Congressional Research Service.

President Trump has made his views on nuclear weapons very clear — before taking office, he tweeted that “[the United States] must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes.”

So what exactly is the nuclear weapon arsenal currently available to President Trump?

The “Triad”

Since the Cold War, the nation has relied on the “triad” and it looks like it will continue to do so under Trump’s presidency. In the simplest of terms, this is a three-pronged approach to nuclear weapon strategy: sea, air and ground.

NORTH KOREA: WILL MINI NUKES BECOME AN OPTION FOR TRUMP?

The United States has a vast and formidable nuclear arsenal and many methods to deliver nuclear weapons, from submarines through to fighter jets.

But much of the nuke program dates back to the Cold War and is feeling its age.

Huge modernization is already underway – to the tune of $400 billion.

Congress has passed initial funding for the cornerstones of a new, modern Triad: the new B-21 Raider next-generation stealth bombers, the Ohio-class ballistic missile nuclear submarine replacements, and the potential Minuteman III ground based intercontinental missiles replacement.

President Trump has also ordered a thorough review that may provide new ideas to adapt, modernize and innovate so the United States is even more prepared to tackle today’s nuclear threats.

Nuclear strike by air

If a nuclear strike is necessary, then the air component of the triad can be deployed. There are two options: the behemoth B-52H Stratofortresses and the stealth B-2A Spirits.

WILL A SINGLE BOMB STOP NORTH KOREA?

With a range of almost 9,000 miles, the B-52s can travel huge distances to deliver a nuclear weapon.

The iconic B-52s have been in service for more than 50 years and about 44 B-52H Stratofortresses carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.



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