Hagel wants answers on 'rot' at nuke missile base

Associated Press
FILE - This 2002 file photo provided by the National Park Service shows the launch key mechanism at the deactivated Delta Nine Launch Facility near Wall, S.D. The Air Force stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to control _ and if necessary launch _ nuclear missiles after a string of unpublicized and unacceptable failings, including a potential compromise of missile launch codes. The group’s deputy commander said it is suffering “rot” within its ranks. The tip-off to trouble was a March 2013 inspection of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., which earned the equivalent of a “D” grade when tested on its mastery of Minuteman III missile launch operations. (AP Photo/Minuteman Missile NHS)
.

View gallery

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is demanding details of turmoil at a North Dakota military base after revelations that an unprecedented 17 officers were removed from their duty of standing 24-hour watch over the Air Force's most powerful nuclear missiles.

Hagel reacted after The Associated Press on Wednesday reported the unprecedented sidelining of the officers at Minot (MY'-naht) Air Force Base, where one of their superiors complained of "such rot" in their unit that even the willful violation of missile safety rules — including a possible compromise of launch codes — was tolerated.

The AP quoted from an internal email written by the deputy commander of the unit responsible for all Minuteman 3 missile launch crews at Minot. He lamented the remarkably poor reviews they received in a March inspection.

View Comments (19)