US nuclear crew gets a D grade

2013-05-09 20:18
US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel (Jason Reed, AFP)

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel (Jason Reed, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The general who commands US nuclear forces said on Thursday, he has ordered further review of failings discovered among Air Force officers, who operate nuclear missiles.

But he told Congress on Thursday he was not alarmed by their shortcomings.

General Robert Kehler, commander of US Strategic Command, told a House Armed Services panel, that the Air Force assured him it is searching for root causes of the problem among missile launch officers at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

"As I sit here today I don't see anything that would cause me to lose confidence" in their ability to perform their mission, Kehler said.

AP reported on Wednesday that a March inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot gave the missile crews the equivalent of a "D'' grade in missile operations, leading to the removal from duty of an unprecedented 17 officers.

Kehler said he has told the Strategic Command's inspector general to review the results of the Minot inspection, which was performed by the Air Force Global Strike Command.

That command is responsible for the missile unit's training and readiness, but would cede responsibility for them to Strategic Command in time of war.

Kehler said "the Air Force is digging into this," and that his command's inspector general will review the previous inspection's results as well as the responses to it by commanders at Minot.

"This has my personal attention," Kehler said.

A troubled unit

Kehler's comments stood in contrast to the tone of a confidential e-mail obtained by the AP, in which a senior officer at Minot sketched a picture of a troubled nuclear unit.

"We are, in fact, in a crisis right now," Lieutenant Colonel Jay Folds, a deputy commander at Minot, told subordinates in the 12 April e-mail.

His group is responsible for all Minuteman 3 missile launch crews at Minot.

In his e-mail, Folds lamented the remarkably poor reviews the launch officers received in the March inspection.

Their missile launch skills were rated "marginal," which the Air Force told the AP was the equivalent of a "D'' grade.

Turmoil in the ranks

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel responded to the AP report on Wednesday by demanding more information from the Air Force.

The service's top general, General Mark Welsh, said the problem does not suggest a lack of proper control over the nuclear missiles but rather was a symptom of turmoil in the ranks.

"The idea that we have people not performing to the standard we expect will never be good and we won't tolerate it," Welsh said when questioned about the problem at a congressional hearing on budget issues.

Underlying the Minot situation is a sense among some that the Air Force's nuclear mission is a dying field, as the government considers further reducing the size of the US arsenal.

- AP

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Who won? Let the News24 App notify you!

Not only can you stay up to date with the latest elections news, you can also get notification of results during the results phase with our easy-to-use app.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Cape Town - 15:29 PM
    Road name: Roeland Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working correctly at Plein Street
  • Thursday Parow - 15:28 PM
    Road name: Frans Conradie Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Fairfield Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.