WASHINGTON (AP) — The foundation of America’s nuclear arsenal is fractured, and the government has no clear plan to repair it.
It’s not clear that the government recognizes the full scope of the problem, which has wormed its way to the core of the nuclear weapons business without disturbing bureaucracies fixated on defending their own turf. Nor has it aroused the public, which may think nuclear weapons are relics of the past, if it thinks about them at all.
This is not mainly about the safety of today’s weapons, although the Air Force’s nuclear missile corps has suffered failures in discipline, training, morale and leadership over the past two years. Just last week the Air Force fired nuclear commanders at two of its three missile bases for misconduct and disciplined a third commander.
Rather, this is about a broader problem: The erosion of the government’s ability to manage and sustain its nuclear “enterprise,” the intricate network of machines, brains and organizations that enables America to call itself a nuclear superpower.
What have been slipping are certain key building blocks — technical expertise, modern facilities and executive oversight on the civilian side, and discipline, morale and accountability on the military side. Continue reading
Tag Archives: U.S. strategic nuclear forces
Inside the Ring: Problems of U.S. Nuclear Forces Must Be Addressed
The U.S. has developed and deployed nothing new in the strategic nuclear force since the late 1980’s. If you’ve been following these developments, this is nothing new under the sun from the last five to ten years. The only thing that should be new news is the level of complacency, neglect and urgency needed to stem the tide — of which only a small chance of doing so remains possible.
The prevailing view in the United States is that Nuclear Weapons are Cold War Relics while it also believes its adversaries create new ones, collect and expand their collection like children do LEGOS for fun.
U.S. strategic nuclear forces, both weapons and personnel, are experiencing serious problems that must be addressed urgently.
That is a central conclusion of a new study called the “Nuclear Enterprise Review” that the Pentagon is expected to release next week, according to defense officials familiar with the study.
Fixing nuclear forces’ problems will require the investment of billions of defense dollars in modernizing systems and greater leadership attention to training and readiness for the thousands of military personnel who operate and maintain the world’s most powerful arsenal.
The findings were made by an independent review panel on nuclear weapons personnel that identified key leadership and management lapses within nuclear forces.
The review followed several troubling incidents involving nuclear forces and personnel, including a cheating scandal uncovered in January on proficiency testing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, home of 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles. The scandal ensnared 34 troops.
2 Nuclear Commanders Fired, Another Disciplined
The purge continues while America continues to turn a blind eye.
The Air Force on Monday fired two more nuclear commanders and disciplined a third, fresh evidence of leadership lapses in a nuclear missile corps that has suffered a rash of recent setbacks, including the firing last year of its top commander.
The most senior officer to be relieved Monday was Col. Carl Jones, the No. 2 commander of the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, in charge of 150 of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles. He was dismissed “for a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities,” and has been reassigned as a special assistant to the wing commander.
The actions Monday were confirmed to The Associated Press in response to an AP inquiry about an internal Air Force investigation of two commanders at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, which also is responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 missiles.
It is unusual for disciplinary action to be taken against senior officers at two of the Air Force’s three nuclear missile bases on the same day. Officials said the timing was a coincidence. It extends a pattern of leadership failures in the ICBM force over the past year. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin promises new weapons will outstrip Western defence technology
RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has promised his military commanders a new array of weapons — from intercontinental nuclear missiles to aircraft and submarines — to counter what he calls ‘growing Western aggression’.
Mr Putin’s statement came as the military successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile launched from a nuclear submarine yesterday.\Putin accused the West of using the crisis in Ukraine to reinvigorate NATO, warning that Moscow will ponder a response to the alliance’s decision to create a rapid-reaction “spearhead” force to protect Eastern Europe.
His comments came as Russia’s relations with the West have plunged to their lowest point since the Cold War due to Russia’s role in the crisis in Ukraine. They appear to show that the Russian leader is determined to pursue a tough course in the face of more Western sanctions.
“We have warned many times that we would have to take corresponding countermeasures to ensure our security,” Putin said, adding that he would now take personal charge of the government commission overseeing military industries.
Russia Checks U.S. Nuclear Missile Silos Amid Tensions
The current administration continues speeding up national suicide via nuclear weapon reduction, giving the barbarians the keys to the gate:
The standoff over Russia’s incursion in Ukraine has not prevented Moscow from verifying the elimination of 18 U.S. missile sites, the Associated Press reports.
Russian experts visited Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana on April 9 to ensure that each intercontinental ballistic missile firing site had been loaded with soil and crushed rock, and that their entryways could no longer seal shut. Their trip was one of eight annual checks Moscow can conduct at U.S. installations under the New START arms control treaty. Continue reading
Obama to Announce Major US Nuclear Force Cuts Soon
The USA continues its suicidal downgrades while the rest of the world upgrades, giving the Russians and Chinese the upper hand and likely first-strike capability.
President Barack Obama is set to announce a new round of strategic nuclear warhead reductions in the near future as part of a disarmament agenda that could reduce U.S. strategic warheads to as few as 1,000 weapons.
The next round of U.S.-Russian arms talks would follow Obama’s expected announcement that the United States’ arsenal of strategic warheads can be reduced unilaterally to around 1,000 warheads. That position is expected as part of the Pentagon’s long-delayed Nuclear Posture Review implementation study that Obama was expected to sign earlier this year.
Recent press reports have indicated that President Obama may make the cuts — fully one-third of the nation’s arsenal — by executive action and without Congressional authorization. Continue reading
Inside the Ring: Russia builds up, U.S. down
During the last five years, hearing about the US disarming while the Soviets (China as well) re-arm and modernize is alarming, but nothing new under the sun. What’s new, and yet more alarming, is that they are further concentrating on road mobile missiles. To be realistic, they likely never abided by the previous START treaties as it’s in Russian history to treat treaties as pie crusts, which is to say they’re meant to be broken. Nobody knows what roads/routes they travel, which is what makes them hard to detect. There is no such thing in the United States, and this would quite possibly give them first-strike capability. To avid readers of current events, the ability to penetrate US missile defenses was also not new and something bragged about years ago by the Russians.
As the Obama administration prepares to launch a new round of strategic nuclear missile cuts, Russia’s strategic nuclear forces are undergoing a major modernization, according to U.S. officials.
Russia’s military announced last month that as part of the nuclear buildup, Moscow later this year will deploy the first of its new intercontinental ballistic missiles called the Yars-M.
Details of the missile are being kept secret, but it has been described as a fifth-generation strategic nuclear system that Russian officials say will be able to penetrate U.S. missile defenses using a new type of fuel that requires a shorter burn time for booster engines. Continue reading