When It Rains

Headlines across Europe and in the US proclaimed over the weekend that an internal Air Force investigation shows the service’s nuclear weapons in Europe lack proper security. The various articles stemmed from a Federation of American Scientists blog report about the full report of the Air Force Blue Ribbon Review of Nuclear Weapons Policies and Procedures, conducted after last August’sinadvertent shipment of nuclear-equipped cruise missiles. USAF released a portion of the BRR led by Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer in February, but FAS secured a copy of the complete report, formerly marked “For Official Use Only.” In reviewing that report, we find that the BRR does state “most sites require significant additional resources to meet DOD security requirements.” It also states that “areas noted in need of repair at several of the sites include support buildings, fencing, lighting, and security systems.” However, the BRR report places responsibility for those issues largely on the host-nations, noting: “Inconsistencies in personnel, facilities, and equipment provided to the security mission by the host nation were evident.” And, the report further notes that the host-nations often use conscripts “whose total active duty commitment is nine months” to provide security manpower. What does the BRR say about US Air Forces in Europe munitions airmen? It says, “Munitions squadrons … have a solid nuclear-capable experience base,” but it also noted that many airmen serve in one-deep positions, which can cause shortfalls. During a recent visit to some of his munitions units, USAFE boss Gen. Roger Brady said: “I have no questions about our security. I have concerns because of our mission, and I have concerns because it’s human beings doing it. We’re still the best Air Force in the world, but there’s always room for improvement.” (Includes 52nd Fighter Wing report by SrA. Logan Tuttle)