Continued from page 1

“Sexual relations in a deployed environment can have an adverse impact on unit cohesion, morale, good order and discipline,” the memo stated. “Accordingly, sexual relations and intimate behavior, not otherwise prohibited by the [Uniformed Code of Military Justice] between individuals not married to each other, are highly discouraged.” Lower ranking commanders who seek more restrictive rules must first seek approval from Gen. Schloesser, it stated.

Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green, spokeswoman for the task force, disputed a report in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, which first reported the new order, that it will be easier for single troops and civilians to have sex.

“As the order exists now, I personally cannot imagine a scenario in which unmarried individuals can have intimate sexual relations,” she said. “I personally do not believe that a general order stops such relations anymore than the existing regulations and UCMJ do.”

According to Col. Nielson-Green, the change “simply allows commanders at levels below the commanding general to remedy cases of sexual misconduct” and brings task force troops under rules in use in Iraq and other Central Command deployment areas.

The current House version of the fiscal 2009 Defense Authorization bill contains a provision that would require the Pentagon to report annually on the threat posed by tactical nuclear weapons.

The $601 billion bill contains language stating that numerous “nonstrategic” nuclear weapons are deployed by various countries and “their prevalence and portability make them attractive targets for theft and for use by terrorist organizations.”

“The United States should identify, track, and monitor these weapons as a matter of national security,” the bill states, noting that a report should assess the risks of these arms being obtained by rogue states, terrorists and non-state entities.

The measure appears aimed at countering tactical nuclear arms, including so-called “suitcase” nuclear weapons that actually are steamer trunk-sized bombs, developed during the Cold War by both the United States and Soviet Union. According to Russian officials in the 1990s, not all of Moscow’s portable nuclear weapons have been accounted for since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

A U.S. Air Force Minuteman III strategic missile lit up the early morning sky over Southern California yesterday as part of test launch of the long-range missile.

An Air Force spokesman from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., said the missile launch at 3:04 a.m. PDT flew a southwest course. Its simulated warhead hit a ocean target 5,250 miles away in an area 230 miles southwest of the Pacific island of Guam.

The flight test was about 1,000 miles longer in range than most tests and successfully hit its target, the spokesman said.

Pentagon officials said the Minuteman III test was a routine reliability test of the nuclear delivery system. But it also will be used as part of a plan to convert up to 50 of the 500 Minuteman IIIs from nuclear to conventionally-armed long-range missiles, as part of what the military calls deep strike, or the capability of conducting very rapid long-range conventional attacks against weapons of mass destruction or terrorist targets.

* @