In an unprecedented action, an Air Force commander has stripped 17 of his officers of their authority to control and launch nuclear missiles.
The 17 are being sent to undergo 60 to 90 days of intensive refresher training on how to do their jobs. The action comes after their unit performed poorly on an inspection and one officer was investigated for potential compromise of nuclear launch codes, according to Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an Air Force spokesman.
The story was first reported by The Associated Press.
The action was taken by the deputy commander of the 91st Operations Group, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, whose officers run launch control centers for the Minuteman III nuclear missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.
Folds announced the action in an emotionally charged April e-mail to his unit, saying in part, “Did you know that we, as an operations group, have fallen — and its it time to stand ourselves back up?”
In that e-mail, Folds said, “We’re discovering such rot in the crew force,” while they are on alert status — standing watch over the nuclear force — that the unit is accepting of violations of weapons safety rules, and code compromises.
In words not often used by military officers, Folds told his troops to “crush any rules violators” and said, “We are, in fact, in a crisis right now.”
Read more on this story at CNN.com