Defense Secretary Robert Gates will announce a range of punishments for at least five general officers and possibly several colonels for lapses connected with the nations nuclear weapons.
Several senior Air Force generals declined to comment about the disciplinary actions this afternoon at the Air Force Associations annual conference. But a congressional aide confirmed the Defense Department sent a letter to lawmakers yesterday confirming the impending disciplinary actions.
A report by Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald, director of naval nuclear propulsion, into the nuclear enterprise detailed a loss of oversight from senior Air Force leaders and lowered performance related to the nuclear mission.
Gates had to intervene personally and ordered Donalds review after sensitive nuclear parts were sent mistakenly to Taiwan and a B-52 bomber flew across the country carrying six armed nuclear cruise missiles.
Last week, a panel of august experts led by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger said they had been surprised by the erosion of controls over nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War and recommended that Air Force Space Command be folded into a new Air Force Strategic Command and urged a range of other measures to ensure airmen dealing with nukes feel they are part of an important mission.
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