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EXCLUSIVE: Air Force fails new nuclear reviews
The January task force report stated that one of the problems for the Air Force’s nuclear weapons mission is that troops do not clearly understand the deterrence mission of the expensive and extremely powerful strategic weapons.
Unlike the Air Force, which has numerous problems with its nuclear mission, the Navy has sustained its commitment to nuclear forces but still is “fraying at the edges,” the report said.
The task force “did not find in the Navy the kind of deterioration in morale that characterized Air Force nuclear units,” the report said.
“The attitude in the Air Force was: ‘We know that the president and secretary of defense don´t give a damn about what we do,’ ” the report stated.
By contrast, a Navy ballistic missile submarine crew told task force investigators that while senior Navy leaders are disinterested in the strategic nuclear deterrence forces, the ballistic missile submariners remain highly motivated.
“The attitude in the Navy was: ‘We know that the president and secretary of defense don´t care - but we do,’ ” the report stated.
However, the final report also contained the conclusion that the problem of “the lack of interest in and attention to the nuclear mission and nuclear deterrence … go well beyond the Air Force.”
“This lack of interest and attention have been widespread throughout DoD and contributed to the decline of attention in the Air Force,” the final report stated.
The report called for creating the position of assistant secretary of defense for nuclear deterrence, which would elevate nuclear issues that have been separated and downgraded as the result of a Pentagon reorganization during the Bush administration.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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