Despite POTUS warning, US nuclear arsenal needs major improvements

In the face of North Korea's threats, we examine the status of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

TAMPA — North Korea is going right ahead with its plans to potentially launch missiles at Guam -- despite President Trump's threat to unleash "fire and fury."

In a statement from the military, North Korea calls that threat a "load of nonsense."

The statement goes on to say President Trump is "bereft of reason" -- and that only absolute force can work on him.

North Korea says it'll have a plan to launch missiles at Guam ready by the middle of the month-- and then leader Kim Jong Un will make a final decision about whether to strike.

Experts who analyzed North Korea's latest test launch say an intercontinental ballistic missile could reach not only Seattle but as far east as Chicago.

That means most of the continental U.S. could be vulnerable, not just Alaska, Hawaii, or the West Coast.

The back-and-forth threats have a lot of people wondering what our nuclear weapons are like.

The fact is, the technology in an iPhone is more advanced than some components of our nuclear arsenal.

So when President Trump tweets that his first order was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal and that “it's now far stronger and more powerful than ever before,” you need to know big changes for our nukes and their facilities haven't happened yet.

“Unfortunately, as it's already been pointed out, much of this infrastructure is antiquated, with many facilities dating back to the Eisenhower administration and in some cases the Manhattan Project itself,” said retired Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz a few months ago.

Klotz is responsible for making sure our nuclear arsenal is safe, secure and effective, and he's saying some of the U.S. gear dates back to when black and white photos were all the rage.

Right now, there's a $3.7 billion backlog in deferred essential repairs to our nuclear weapons infrastructure.

“In some ways that's a bad thing, right? Because they're not modernized, and difficult to find replacement parts because nobody makes these things anymore,” said associate director of the Missile Defense Project, Ian Williams. “But on the other hand, it's also a benefit, in a weird way, in that it's very difficult to use cyber capabilities against them. Because they're so low tech, they're so old, that they can't be hacked.”

So, there's a silver lining.

The United States will likely spend over a trillion dollars over the next 30 years to maintain and modernize our nuclear capabilities.

We're adding new bombers and missiles, but the experts say we're still years away from seeing real and necessary modernization.

Even so, the world agrees, our nukes could take out any enemy.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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