Another general in charge of nuclear missiles is fired
Air Force officials said Maj. Gen. Michael Carey has been under investigation since the summer for accusations of “personal misbehavior” but would not specify what prompted his firing.
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The Air Force fired a general in charge of all land-based nuclear missiles Friday, the second time in a week that a senior commander of the country’s nuclear arsenal has been let go for allegations of personal misconduct.
Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, commander of the 20th Air Force, was removed from his job “due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment,” said Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, an Air Force spokesman.
Air Force officials said Carey has been under investigation since the summer for accusations of “personal misbehavior” but would not specify what prompted his firing.
Kodlick said the case did not involve drugs, sexual misconduct, gambling or any form of criminal activity, but he declined to comment when asked if alcohol played a role. He said he could not give details because the investigation was continuing.
“We wanted to make it very clear it wasn’t operations-related,” Kodlick said.
Carey’s firing comes two days after the Navy said it had fired a three-star admiral serving as the deputy commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees all nuclear-armed missiles, bombers and submarines.
In that case, Vice Adm. Tim Giardina remains under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service after he was allegedly caught using $1,500 in counterfeit gambling chips by a casino in Iowa. The casino is near Strategic Command headquarters in Omaha, Neb.
The U.S. military has seen a rash of generals and admirals lose their jobs in the past year for alleged personal misconduct. But the firings of Carey and Giardina were especially unusual, given their responsibility for nuclear weapons.
The 20th Air Force is responsible for operating intercontinental-ballistic missiles. Overall, the Air Force maintains about 450 Minuteman IIIs missiles at three bases in North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
The Air Force said Carey’s alleged misconduct occurred during a temporary assignment away from the 20th Air Force headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyo., although officials declined to say where it happened, or when.
The decision to relieve Carey of command was made by Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, head of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The Air Force has been dogged by concerns about its management of nuclear forces. In August, the Air Force relieved a colonel in charge of a nuclear-weapons unit at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, citing a “loss of confidence” in his leadership.
In 2008, Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired the Air Force’s top general and civilian leader after a series of nuclear gaffes, including an incident in which a B-52 bomber crew flew across the country without realizing that six cruise missiles on board had been loaded with nuclear warheads.