Nuke Enterprise Better Off After Scrutiny

The recommendations from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s November 2014 DOD-wide nuclear enterprise review have served as a change agent across the Air Force and Navy, said Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, director of strategic deterrence programs on the Air Staff. Of the three reports generated from the review (the internal look, the external review, and US Strategic Command’s review), USAF is now tracking some 175 total recommendations, of which about 130 are USAF-related, said Harencak during an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast event in Arlington, Va. Many of these recommendations were already being implemented under the ongoing force improvement program, but the Air Force is “committed to getting all of them.” Some are simple, such as ordering specific tools or increasing funding for specific line items, he said. However, others are more complicated than just checking off a list, such as the push to rework how USAF sustains its Minuteman III fleet, and treat it more like the service does its aircraft programs. Some problems are traced back to USAF efforts to try and “normalize” deterrence operations in the 1990s. “Good people had to make tough decisions,” he said, but some changes were “probably a mistake.” Nuclear deterrence operations are not normal, he added, and “they must be treated differently.”