A “declining focus on the strategic nuclear bomber mission” was a significant factor in the errant transfer of nuclear weapons from Minot AFB, N.D. to Barksdale AFB, La., last August aboard a B-52, Lt. Gen. Daniel Darnell, deputy chief of staff for Air, Space, and Information Operations, Plans and Requirements, told the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday. This is in addition to the unit-level leadership and discipline breakdowns, he said. The role of the strategic nuclear mission, particularly in dual-tasked aircraft units, had to compete for time, attention, and focus while the Air Force went into 17 years of continuous combat, Darnell said. Less time was allotted for training in nuclear procedures and experience levels declined. The Air Force has just completed its Blue Ribbon Review of its nuclear weapons procedures following the Bent Spear incident; look for more coverage here. (Written testimony)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.