November 25, 2014

America Musn’t Neglect Its Nukes

By Elbridge Colby

Earlier this month the Pentagon released a devastating assessment of its own management of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The report, authored by two widely respected former four-star officers, judged that America’s nuclear weapons complex — particularly the personnel who operate and maintain it — is near its breaking point, worn down by years of neglect, lack of funding and unnecessarily invasive and inquisitorial screening of employees. This malaise has been exacerbated by bouts of apathy and even hostility on the part of prominent voices in and out of government: The prevalent attitude is that there are more important national security priorities and, among some, that nukes are useless and should be left to rust.

The situation is considerably worse than we thought — even worse than in 2007 when it was revealed that the Air Force had inadvertently transported six live nuclear weapons from North Dakota to Louisiana. Last week a senior Pentagon official claimed in a background briefing that unless immediate and substantial action is taken to modernize antiquated infrastructure, prioritize the issue, and relieve suffocating bureaucratic pressure, the nation’s nuclear complex risks coming apart at the seams.

Read the full piece at The New York Times.

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