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 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




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>