Two US Air Force commanders and four subordinates were fired this week after their base failed safety and security inspections related to its nuclear stockpile.
Colonel Gregory Mayer and Major Jonathan Welch were the two officials relieved of their duties due to a “loss of confidence” in their ability to run North Dakota’s Minot Air Force Base, officials said Monday.
The exact reason for the loss of trust was initially not shared, but has since been made public by a report from CNN the disclosure of the failed security tests.
Minot Air Force Base houses two legs — ballistic missile and bomber silos — of what is often referred to as the “nuclear triad,” or the three ways to send nuclear weapons.
It is unclear at this time what caused the unit to fail security clearance and there is currently no evidence that it itself misused a nuclear weapon.
Two US Air Force commanders and four subordinates were fired this week after their base failed safety and security inspections related to its nuclear stockpile
Colonel Gregory Mayer was one of two officers relieved of their duties due to a “loss of confidence” in their ability to command Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota
In a Edition Major General Andrew Gebara, a two-star officer in charge of the Air Force’s nuclear units under the 8th Air Force, called the shelling “necessary.”
“These personnel actions were necessary to maintain the very high standards we demand from the units charged with supporting our country’s nuclear mission,” Gebara said.
The test that the unit failed is being conducted to ensure the supply at the North Dakota base is safe and secure, two defense officials told CNN.
Nuclear certainty doctrine tests, among other things, a unit’s ability to carry out its mission, as well as the overall safety and security of its nuclear weapons.
The results of the test are classified.
An official told the outlet that the failure that resulted in the layoffs was ahead “non-compliant safety inspections of vehicles and equipment.”
In a statement, Colonel Brus E. Vidal, public affairs director for the Air Force Global Strike Command, said he could not confirm the details, but said there are clear guidelines for members to follow.
“We have well-considered and disciplined inspection protocols and we expect 100% compliance,” Vidal told CNN.
Anything less than 100% compliance is unacceptable. It’s so important to us,” he said.
In a press release sent Monday, Major General Andrew Gebara, a two-star officer in charge of the Air Force’s nuclear units under the 8th Air Force, called the firing “necessary.”
Minot Air Force Base A is a critical member of the United States’ nuclear weaponry
This is the statement of Major General Gebara confirming the dismissals earlier this week
Minot Air Force Base houses two legs — ballistic missile and bomber silos — of what is often referred to as the “nuclear triad,” or the three ways to send nuclear weapons
Upon his release earlier this week, Gebara confirmed that he had relieved the commanders of the 5th Mission Support Group and the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
Their identities were subsequently reported by the Air Force times.
Mayer commanded the 5th Mission Support Group while Walsh commanded the 5th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
The Mission Support Group provides basic facilities for troops and civilians, about 1600 people.
The Readiness Squadron works on implementation planning and supply chain management.
“Eighth Force continues to protect global combat power and conduct 24-hour strategic deterrence operations in a safe, secure and effective manner,” Gebara said Monday.
He continued, saying that he and his officers are focused on their “no-fail mission.”
“Our mission is fundamental to the defense of our nation and we remain committed to the success of that no-fail mission,” the major general said.
PICTURED: A sign at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Cascade County, Montana
In 2013, another unit working on nuclear missiles failed a 2013 safety and security test at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana
In 2013, another unit working on nuclear missiles failed a 2013 safety and security test at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.
At the time, officials said in a statement, the group was given an “unsatisfactory rating” after making “tactical level errors.”
However, the exact details of the situation have never been made public and were even classified in 2017 over concerns they could reveal tactical issues that could leave the US vulnerable.