On 8 May 2013, Michael R. Gordon for The New York Times and others reported that “The Air Force removed 17 officers assigned to standing watch over nuclear-tipped Minuteman missiles after finding safety violations, potential violations in protecting codes and basic attitude problems.” This has caused the AP to ask “Is There a Morale Crisis in the US Nuclear Force?” Well, yes. And it is history and those damned politicians’ faults. If they just stopped trying to reduce the nuclear arsenal, morale would be higher. An excerpt:
Bruce Blair, a former missile launch officer and now a national security scholar at Princeton University, said Friday that morale has dropped in part because the ICBM mission that originated in 1959, deterring the Soviet Union from attacking the U.S. or Europe, is less compelling than it was generations ago.
“This dead-end career is not the result of shrinking nuclear arsenals, but rather because the Cold War ended decades ago and because so few senior commander jobs exist within the missile specialty,” Blair said. “Most crews can’t wait to transfer out of missiles into faster-track careers such as space operations, but the Air Force doesn’t make it easy.”
[Air Force Secretary Michael] Donley came close to blaming the White House for any malaise. He said that when officers see “the national leadership” contemplating more nuclear reductions “this does have a corrosive effect on our ability to maintain focus on this mission.” He also said “critics or others” contribute to this when they suggest getting rid of the ICBM force entirely.
Yeah, because this should all be our primary concern with regard to nuclear weapons: that the morale of soldiers stays high. I don’t know what to say.