Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Air Force Sidelines 17 ICBM Officers After Unpublicized Failings

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Titan II Launched

The Huffington Post

      WASHINGTON — The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control – and, if necessary, launch – nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized failings, including a remarkably dim review of their unit's launch skills. The group's deputy commander said it is suffering "rot" within its ranks.

"We are, in fact, in a crisis right now," the commander, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, wrote in an internal email obtained by The Associated Press and confirmed by the Air Force.

Asked about this at a Senate hearing Wednesday, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, the service's top official, explained the problem by stressing that launch control officers are relatively junior in rank – lieutenants and captains – and need to be reminded continually of the importance of "this awesome responsibility" for which they have been trained.

Donley said commanders must "ride herd" on the launch crews, and he said the Minot revelation shows that the Air Force has strengthened its inspection system. He said he is confident that the nuclear missile force is secure.

Sen. Richard Durbin, chairman of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee, expressed outrage, saying the AP report revealed a problem that "could not be more troubling." . . .

1 comment :

  1. In my heart of hearts I've always strongly suspected the UFO incidents reported at Minot were cover stories for massive screw ups at the base. The current fiasco purportedly only goes back 20 years to the end of the Cold War, but there may be a much longer history of a base culture that has embedded in it lethargy and inattention to duty. Anyway, for me the Minot reports have always been less credible than others have held them to be. I just don't have as much faith in US military infallibility as so many seem to have.


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