The Peacekeeper's End

The last Peacekeeper nuclear missile, also known as the MX (for missile experimental), was deactivated, dismantled and retired from service in a ceremony last week at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo.

The base was home to the squadron of 50 Peacekeepers deployed stateside at the height of the Cold War. Each missile was 71 feet tall and eight feet in diameter and packed as many as 10 warheads.

The missiles, which cost $70 million each to build in 1983, were part of the famed U.S. nuclear triad, which also included submarines and long-range bombers.

The military began removing the Peacekeeper from its arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2002 after it determined the missiles were no longer needed with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

Farm Service Cuts?

The Agriculture Department wants to trim as many as 655 jobs from its payroll by closing nearly one-third of its 2,351 Farm Service Agency offices nationwide. But there could be quite a delay between the wanting and the doing.

The proposal, under review in Congress, would shutter 713 offices, with the biggest cuts in Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia.

The network of FSA offices, which dates to the 1930s, are farmers' primary link with the department. Employees help farmers get loans and farm subsidies.

The department says many offices are underutilized as the number of farms has shrunk and producers do business on the Internet.

The department this week offered an employee buyout aimed at reducing as many as 655 jobs. Agriculture officials say they are not sure how many more of the 15,000 to 16,000 office jobs would be eliminated. The goal is to move many into consolidated offices.

The effort already faces reluctance on Capitol Hill. Senators recently voted to delay the closures pending a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Agriculture officials said the consolidations would take at least three years.

-- Associated Press