Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Air Force nuclear missile officers: Bored, cranky, frustrated — and court-martialed

Like I was saying: This may be a national problem that sneaks up on us. A report done for the Air Force found that "court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. Administrative punishments, such as written reprimands for rules ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia

Like I was saying: This may be a national problem that sneaks up on us.

A report done for the Air Force found that "court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. Administrative punishments, such as written reprimands for rules violations and other misbehavior, also were higher in those years."

This line really struck me: "In his doctoral dissertation published in 2010 after he finished a tour with the 91st Missile Wing at Minot, Christopher J. Ewing said 71 of the 99 launch officers he surveyed there had not chosen that assignment." I have to wonder what that portends for the future of the leadership of the U.S. nuclear force. Is it really true that we just don't care just who is getting handed weapons of mass destruction?

Like I was saying: This may be a national problem that sneaks up on us.

A report done for the Air Force found that "court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. Administrative punishments, such as written reprimands for rules violations and other misbehavior, also were higher in those years."

This line really struck me: "In his doctoral dissertation published in 2010 after he finished a tour with the 91st Missile Wing at Minot, Christopher J. Ewing said 71 of the 99 launch officers he surveyed there had not chosen that assignment." I have to wonder what that portends for the future of the leadership of the U.S. nuclear force. Is it really true that we just don’t care just who is getting handed weapons of mass destruction?

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

Bill Clinton and Joe Biden  at a meeting of the U.S. Congressional delegation to the NATO summit in Spain on July 7, 1998.

Liberal Illusions Caused the Ukraine Crisis

The greatest tragedy about Russia’s potential invasion is how easily it could have been avoided.

A report card is superimposed over U.S. President Joe Biden.

Is Biden’s Foreign Policy Grade A Material?

More than 30 experts grade the U.S. president’s first year of foreign policy.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan gives a press briefing.

Defining the Biden Doctrine

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sat down with FP to talk about Russia, China, relations with Europe, and year one of the Biden presidency.

Ukrainian servicemen taking part in the armed conflict with Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk region of the country attend the handover ceremony of military heavy weapons and equipment in Kiev on November 15, 2018.

The West’s Weapons Won’t Make Any Difference to Ukraine

U.S. military equipment wouldn’t realistically help Ukrainians—or intimidate Putin.