The branch of the military too young to have tradition has begun to finally set some traditions. Like, failing Nuclear technical proficiency Inspections! Years ago, when the Navy was subject to these inspections, we knew they were the NO BS, real thing! We knew failing one was the end of the career of most senior personnel involved! We practiced what we were taught and in my memory, we never detoured from that standard.
I remember one NTPI inspection, back in the early1970's, on a Knox Class DE, we were going through the Security Alert evaluation. Now, we were trained that there were NO security drills! We treated every Security Alert as the real thing. Guns, ammunition, procedures, all with the intention of protecting what we were charged to protect. One of my Gunner's Mates, who joined the Navy to avoid the Draft and service in Viet Nam, caught the Inspector climbing up a ladder on the outside of the ship. He had the bolt locked back and a live magazine in his M16A1. Now, if you know the M16, you will know, that a slight bump will sent the bolt flying closed when the bolt is locked back. Well, my GMG3 got excited when he apprehended the Commander who was an Inspector, bumped the but stock of the rifle against the ladder and the bolt slammed closed. The Commander asked my GMG 3, was that a live magazine? My GMG 3 said, yes sir! The Commander then said, with his hands in the air; "Please take me to your Captain." When he got to the Captain, his first words were; "Do you always load your guns for a Security drill?" My GMG 3 broke in and said; "There is no such thing as a Security Alert Drill!" We passed the Security portion of our Inspection and every other portion. Good training makes for good performance!
So, it perplexes me how the Air Force can fail these inspections. My deduction is they are not following procedures as a normal part of life. That is a problem!! The handling, deployment, and security, of nuclear weapons is a topic that has no margin for error. There are written rules, procedures, and practices that are required to be applied every time anyone does anything relating to these weapons. If an individual, a unit, or an organization, is not following the written rules and procedures, there must me punishment. The last time an Air Force unit failed this inspection, 17 personnel were relieved and punished. That's a start, but what about the Senior Officers that over look and Command these units? How man of them were fired?? My bet is, NONE!
Our Nation's strategic defense rests on nuclear weapons. The theory of mutually assured destruction is alive and well. But, if our enemies get the idea that we cannot effectively handle, deploy, or secure, our nuclear arsenal, maybe they will get more bold in how they deal with us. That would not be good.
During the Cold War, the Soviets knew we would deploy or nuclear weapons effectively and quickly. Now, they have proof that we can't provided by the incompetence of the Air Force. This is just more evidence that our military is being stripped, diminished, and reduced. I now question whether we can defend our nation. Not a good feeling.