US Nuclear Teams Leaking Competence, Morale

In April of 2013 some 17 officers out of 150 at the North Dakota nuclear missile site were removed from their normal duties for a range of behavioral and attitudinal problems.  The Colonel in charge in a memo he wrote complained about ‘rot in the crew force.

On Friday a RAND study, commissioned by the Air Force, was released after repeated requests by news organizations.  It confirms what was reported at the time of the April suspensions.

Trouble inside the Air Force’s nuclear missile force are significantly worse than officials have let on.

An unpublished study for the Air Force cites “burnout” among launch officers with their fingers on the triggers of 450 weapons of mass destruction. Also uncovered, evidence of broader behavioral issues across the intercontinental ballistic missile force, including sexual assaults and domestic violence.

The study says that court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. Administrative punishments, such as written reprimands for rules violations and other misbehavior, also were higher in those years.

This is the same base, and presumably the same problem, implicated in the August 2007 flight of a B-52  armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from Minot in North Dakota to Barksdale in Louisiana.
These are Nuclear Weapons!  You remember the dropped socket wrench that pierced the skin on a rocket’s first stage fuel tank — which began to leak.
Time to take these puppies to Zero.  Give the bored troops something to focus on, do right, and get our thanks for a job well done.
Global Zero

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