You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Opinion

JAMES CARROLL

US nuclear weapons poised for catastrophe

It was bad enough when, last April, 17 US Air Force missile officers were relieved for dereliction of duty at the Minuteman III base at Minot, N.D. A commander there decried “rot” in the force that controls the most sensitive tripwire in the nuclear arsenal. The Minot missile wing is made up of squadrons named “Vulgar Vultures,” “Gravehaulers,” and “Wolf Pack.”

The good news last spring, according to an Air Force spokesperson at the time, was that the sister missile wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana was rated “excellent.” Its squadrons have slightly less puerile names: “First Aces,” “Red Dawgs,” and “Farsiders.” But the second shoe fell this month when the Malmstrom officers, too, failed a safety and security inspection. “This unit fumbled,” said Lieutenanat General James M. Kowalski, chief of the Global Strike Command. “The team did not demonstrate the right procedures.” The general declined to elaborate, lest he reveal “potential vulnerability” in America’s intercontinental ballistic missile force.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week