Defense

January 24, 2014

Pentagon to review strategic nuclear deterrence mission

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has directed a review of U.S. strategic nuclear deterrence forces and their ability to carry out their mission, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Adm. John Kirby said Jan. 23.

At a Pentagon press briefing, Kirby said the secretary still has confidence in the strategic deterrence force, but seeks to upgrade the entire nuclear enterprise.

“He also recognizes that to keep it safe, secure and effective well into the future,” he said, “the whole nuclear enterprise must be supported by both a modern physical infrastructure, as well as highly capable, skilled and motivated members of the military.”

Hagel was encouraged by the talent and professionalism of the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile force during his visit to F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., earlier this month, Kirby said.

“But he was also reminded of the fact, while there, that not all of them live up to the same high standards required by the gravity of that work.”

“The secretary shares the frustration of Air Force Secretary [Deborah Lee] James, and Air Force Chief of Staff General [Mark A.] Welsh, about recent reports of drug use and cheating inside the ICBM force,” Kirby said.

The secretary welcomes the attention they are giving it and appreciates their leadership, Kirby said, and noted that Hagel spoke with James this morning to get a sense of her observations.

“He also spoke this week with Admiral [Cecil D.] Haney, the strategic command commander, who likewise, assured the secretary that he is committed to addressing these issues,” he said.

Kirby said lapses by those responsible for overseeing the strategic deterrence enterprise, combined with recently raised allegations, have created “legitimate concerns about the department’s stewardship of one of our most sensitive and important missions.”

He said Hagel believes it’s time for the entire department to place a renewed emphasis on examining the health of the nuclear force, and particularly, issues that affect the morale, professionalism, performance and leadership.

“He has, today, issued a memo to the senior leaders of this department, as well as those of the Air Force and the Navy, calling for the following initial steps,” Kirby said.

In the next two weeks, he said, the defense secretary and Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will hold a meeting with key nuclear enterprise stakeholders to raise and address any personnel challenges in the nuclear force.

Kirby said the secretary will direct senior leaders to develop and implement an action plan, to be delivered to him in 60 days, to:

• Examine the underlying leadership and management principles governing the strategic deterrence enterprise and the health of the culture that implements those principles.

• Identify successful personnel management practices within the strategic deterrence enterprise.

• Identify key gaps and/or problems concerning the growth and development of the personnel within the nuclear enterprise.

• Identify remedies for any gaps or problems.

• Direct action to rapidly implement identified remedies and any other required actions.

“Finally, the secretary is calling an independent review to conduct a broader examination of the strategic deterrence enterprise as it relates to personnel,” Kirby said.

The review will involve a small number of “experienced” former officials who will assess the quality and effectiveness of the action plan, and provide a sense of any persistent challenges that could affect the performance of the deterrence mission, and then provide recommendations.

“This review will be completed no later than 90 days after its start,” he said. “We hope to get it started within the next couple of weeks.”

“Secretary Hagel has made it clear there is no mission more vital to our national security than that of strategic nuclear deterrence,” Kirby said. “He has called it a ‘no-fail’ mission.”

Hagel, he said, recognizes that the majority of the nuclear deterrence force performs “honorably and with great pride,” but a series of individual failures has given him pause.

“The secretary looks forward to meeting with senior leaders in the coming days,” Kirby said, “and to moving ahead with the important work of ensuring this department, in every way, continues to protect and defend our national interests.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 29, 2014

News: U.S. military limits warplanes used for Islamic State bombings - The U.S. is relying mostly on warplanes already positioned in the region for its air war against the Islamic State, as opposed to dispatching a major buildup of aerial forces that happened in previous campaigns.   Business: At DOD, it’s use-it-or-lose-it season - As fiscal 2014...
 
 

News Briefs September 29, 2014

Navy awards ship design grant to UNO The University of New Orleans has received a $210,000 grant from the Navy s Office of Naval Research to test information gathering and analysis techniques intended to improve warship design. The goal for warship designers is to produce a vessel that can be repurposed numerous times throughout its...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

TACP-M ties it all together

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Lealan Buehrer Tactical air control party specialists with the 169th Air Support Operations Squadron survey an enemy-controlled landing zone before calling in close-air support Aug. 14, 20...
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Nellis aggressor squadron inactivated

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler SSgt. Justin White signals to Maj. Sam Joplin to begin taxiing a 65th Aggressor Squadron F-15 Eagle to the runway Sept. 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base Nev. The roles and responsib...
 
 
Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger

82nd Airborne helps commemorate 70th Anniversary of Operation Market Garden

Army photograph by SSgt. Mary S. Katzenberger A paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, reflects near the grave of a British paratrooper at the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, Sept. 14, 2014, in the Netherlands. The...
 
 

Raytheon awarded $251 million Tomahawk missile contract

The U.S. Navy has awarded Raytheon a $251 million contract to procure Tomahawk Block IV tactical cruise missiles for fiscal year 2014 with an option for 2015. The contract calls for Raytheon to build and deliver Tomahawk Block IV cruise missiles to the U.S. Navy and U.K. Royal Navy. Raytheon will also conduct flight tests...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>