America's nuclear force faces a cascade of missteps
WASHINGTON (AP) - First it was bad attitudes among young officers in nuclear missile launch centres. Now, it's alleged bad behaviour by two of the nuclear arsenal's top commanders.
Together, the missteps spell trouble for a nuclear force doubted by some for its relevance, defended by others as vital to national security and now compelled to explain how the firing of key commanders this week should not shake public confidence.
The Air Force on Friday fired Major-General Michael Carey, who was in charge of its nuclear missiles. Two days earlier the Navy sacked Vice-Admiral Tim Giardina, the second-in-command at US Strategic Command, which writes the military's nuclear war plans and would transmit launch orders should the nation ever go to nuclear war.
In an Associated Press (AP) interview on Friday, the United States' most senior nuclear commander, Air Force General Robert Kehler, said he told his bosses, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and the Joint Chiefs chairman, Army General Martin Dempsey, that despite the two "unfortunate behavioural incidents", the nuclear force is stable.