Col. Joel Westa was relieved of command of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., on Oct. 30, becoming the second nuclear wing commander in less than three weeks to be sacked at the North Dakota base. Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter, commander of 8th Air Force, the 5th BW’s parent organization, removed Westa, who had led the wing since November 2007. Col. Douglas Cox, former vice commander of the 36th Wing at Andersen AFB, Guam, will take over the wing, which operates nuclear-capable B-52 bombers. According to an 8th AF release, Westa was not accused of misconduct. Rather, it cites a loss of confidence in his ability to command based on his “inability to foster a culture of excellence” and “lack of focus” as well as the wing’s “substandard performance” during nuclear surety inspections. (For more, read the Minot Daily News’ Oct. 31 report.)
Supply chain and vanishing vendor issues make supporting old nuclear systems increasingly difficult, Global Strike Command’s logistics and engineering chief Brig. Gen. Kenyon K. Bell said. Additive printing will be a big help but can be hampered by bureaucracy.