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A Problem With Discipline: The Guys In Charge Of Our Nuclear Arsenal Are Napping, Gambling and Otherwise Screwing Up

Abby Zimet


Not to worry you, but in the last two weeks, this happened: Air Force officers were twice found to have left open a blast door to the nuclear missiles in their underground command post while they napped, thus violating a gazillion rules and leaving launch codes open to theft - a slip-up that's evidently happened, undetected, many times before; the Air Force fired the senior general in charge of 450 nuclear missiles due to their “loss of trust and confidence” in him, for reasons that remain unspecified; and the Navy relieved of his duties the deputy commander of all U.S. nuclear forces amidst charges that he used counterfeit chips while gambling at an Iowa casino. Then there's the failed safety inspections and record falsifications, the low morale and the newly-revealed almost-bombing of North Carolina in the 1960s along with hundreds of other nuclear accidents. In response to the napping incident, the Air Force noted that the underground launch control center boasts "multiple safeguards and other protections" before anyone could reach the multi-ton, concrete-and-steel blast door, which is secured by 12 hydraulically operated steel pins - when, that is, it's closed.

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