This Time It Will Work

Revitalization of the nuclear enterprise is really going to work this time because of the high-level attention it’s getting, Pentagon point man on the effort, Yisroel Brumer, told a House Armed Services Committee panel Thursday. Responding to a question from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), who noted that there have been “24 separate reports over nine years” investigating various problems with the enterprise, ranging from cheating to obsolescent equipment, Brumer said he’s been charged to “ensure this is not just the latest attempt” to fix things. Previous efforts, he said, were hampered by “a ‘checking the box’ mentality,” which sought to correct specific issues in isolation without addressing underlying, broad problems. This time around, there’s “personal involvement” from the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Air Force and Navy service Secretaries and Chiefs, he said. Evidence of their seriousness is the elevation of Air Force Global Strike Command to a four-star billet, commitments to higher funding, and top leader visits to hear and act on the concerns of nuclear personnel, he noted. Troops can see for themselves that new gear is showing up, more billets have been added, and the ways of doing business have changed, Brumer observed. That said, however, he admitted things won’t get fixed overnight. “It will take years to see that the risk margin has been regained,” he said. (See also Nuclear Force Improvements from the April issue of Air Force Magazine.)