Not Just the Air Force

The Navy, too, is making some managerial changes to its nuclear weapons enterprise based on its review of the recommendations made earlier this year by the Defense Science Board and by Adm. Kirkland Donald, head of naval nuclear propulsion. “While the Navy’s nuclear weapons program is sound, we are taking action today to ensure a leadership oversight system is in place to monitor nuclear weapon activities and establish a culture of continuous assessment and improvement,” Lt. Clay Doss, Navy spokesman, told the Daily Report. The director of the Navy Staff has been designated as the primary flag officer responsible for coordinating all Office of the Chief of Naval Operations staff responsibilities for nuclear weapons under an OPNAV nuclear weapons council, Doss said. The DNS has also been directed to establish a new Navy nuclear weapon senior leaders council with the director of Strategic Systems Programs and the commander of US Fleet Forces Command. This, said Doss, will strengthen the ties between the service’s three major nuclear weapons functions: operations, material support, and oversight. The Navy operates one leg of the nation’s strategic deterrent with its nuclear-powered submarines that carry nuclear-tipped Trident ballistic missiles. Doss said the Navy is “absolutely committed” to their safe and secure operation. The DSB looked into DOD’s nuclear enterprise following the mistaken transfer of six nuclear-armed cruise missiles in August 2007 from Minot AFB, N.D., to Barksdale AFB, La., aboard a B-52H. Donald investigated the errant 2006 shipment of four ICBM fuses to Taiwan that came to light only in March.