8 Generals Disciplined After Misstep On Warheads

Associated Press
Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eight generals, ranging in rank from one to three stars, have been disciplined as a result of the mistaken shipment of fuses for nuclear warheads to Taiwan.

Defense officials said Wednesday that the six Air Force and two Army generals were given disciplinary letters that vary in seriousness but can often end careers or hopes of promotion.

The officers are mainly in logistical jobs and were involved to some degree in the mistaken shipment to Taiwan of four electrical fuses for ballistic missile nuclear warheads in 2006. The error did not come to light until this past March.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the actions are not being announced until Thursday.

According to officials, at least one Air Force general received a letter of reprimand, which is a more serious rebuke, while others got less severe letters of admonishment or counseling. The two Army brigadier generals received what are called "memorandums of concern," also a lower level of punishment.

Nine other lower-ranking Air Force officers also were disciplined, but no details were available.

In early June, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates fired Gen. T. Michael Moseley, then Air Force chief of staff, and Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne, blaming them for failing to fully address several nuclear-related missteps, including the mistaken shipment.

Gates acted swiftly after a sharply critical internal report on the shipping incident found "a decline in the Air Force's nuclear mission focus and performance" and a failure by Air Force leaders to respond effectively.

A second, broader review blistered the Air Force for a dramatic deterioration in managing the nation's nuclear arsenal and recommended that it consolidate nuclear responsibilities under one command.

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