What that means in layman's terms is that Russia could launch into a nuclear war against the United States with very little advance warning. In this type of a posture any one of the simulated long-range nuclear cruise missile attacks by Tu-95 Bear bombers or fully modernized Tu-160 Blackjack supersonic bombers flown in the immediate future against targets on the US east and west coasts could turn out to be the real thing.
In the face of Obama Administration defense cuts (Obama's new found flexibility, no doubt) the ability of the US defenses are suspect at best. Admiral Locklear testified to a most distressing litany of capability shortcomings and problem areas in US military readiness to include: antisubmarine warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance, space systems, battle management, command and control (C2) as well as cyber-warfare, anti-air and anti-missile defenses, aircraft, airlift and fuel.
Details, once again, come from Bill Gertz' Inside The Ring column at The Washington Times.
12 April 2015: It has been revealed by Bill Gertz via the Washington Free Beacon that during the morning of this past Tuesday, 7 April, a Russian Su-27 Flanker intercepted and nearly caused a mid-air collision with an American RC-135 'Rivet Joint' Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) reconnaissance and collections aircraft, code named "Combat Sent," which was flying its mission in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.
The Russian fighter missed striking the American aircraft by a mere 20 feet in what U.S. officials protested as "unsafe and unprofessional" conduct by the Russian pilot. Gertz suggests that the mission was directly related to ELINT intelligence collection to confirm Russia's recent deployment of short-range Iskander nuclear-capable missiles to Kaliningrad and recently annexed Crimea.
The Gertz article also reveals:
"A report by the European Leadership Network, “Dangerous Brinksmanship: Close Military Encounters Between Russia and the West in 2014,” states that last year NATO aircraft conducted more than 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft, three times the number of intercepts in 2013. A total of 11 encounters were described as being of a serious and “more aggressive or unusually provocative nature, bringing a higher level risk of escalation.”
“These include harassment of reconnaissance planes, close overflights over warships, and Russian ‘mock bombing raid’ missions,” the report said, noting that the intensity and gravity of the incidents coincided with the Russian annexation of Crimea.
“These events add up to a highly disturbing picture of violations of national airspace, emergency scrambles, narrowly avoided mid-air collisions, close encounters at sea, simulated attack runs, and other dangerous actions happening on a regular basis over a very wide geographical area.”"
"The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined."