The Air Force removed Major General Michael Carey, a 35-year veteran, from a command where he served for 20 years. He was responsible for 450 of the intercontinental ballistic missiles. According to the Air Force, Carey will be reassigned pending the outcome of an investigation with his personal misbehavior.
Removing senior officers in the nuclear force is very rare and unusual, however, it happened twice this week. The Air Force said it had nothing to do with performance or combat readiness.
The Navy said Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, the second in charge at U.S. Strategic Command, was fired due to investigation of gambling issues. He was demoted from three-to-two star rank and reassigned to a Navy staff job until completion of investigation.
The firing of these two men obviously sends a message there are some serious problems facing the military’s nuclear force. The Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICMB) has had several setbacks such as a failed safety and security inspection at a base in Montana in August. The colonel there in charge of security forces was fired as well.
The Associated Press revealed three men at the Minot Air Force Base, N.D. was taken off duty due to a misrepresentation of ICBM force. During the March inspection, missile launch crews at Minot scored the equivalent of a “D” grade on missile operations. In June the Minot officer in charge of training and expertise of missile crew was fired.
The Pentagon and the Air Force have been insisting the nuclear force is safe and secure. The recent actions that have been taken leads to question the management of the ICMB force.
The U.S. has been shrinking the size of the nuclear force for many years. As of October 1, the U.S. had 1,688 deployed strategic nuclear warheads, which Washington is obligated to reduce to 1,550 by 2018 under the New START treaty with Russia.
At a Pentagon news conference, an Air Force spokesman, General Les Kodlick, wouldn’t provide specific details about the alleged misbehavior by Carey, except to say, it doesn’t involve sexual misconduct or criminal activity. He went on to say the investigation was underway for several months.
The two senior defense officials with knowledge of the allegations told the Associated Press that they are at least partly related to alcohol abuse. The officials spoke only in condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss an internal investigation that is not yet finished.