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US nuclear woes: Pentagon chief orders a shakeup

India TV News Desk 15 Nov 2014, 11:40:41 AM IST
India TV News Desk

North Dakota: Pledging firm action to support the men and women who handle the world's most powerful and deadly weapons, the Pentagon will spend an additional $10 billion to correct deep problems of neglect and mismanagement within the nation's nuclear forces, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said.

Hagel ordered top-to-bottom changes in the nuclear arsenal's management, which he said had been allowed over the years to backslide, afflicted by broken and missing equipment, poor leadership and inadequate training and staffing.

Hagel told a Pentagon news conference on Friday morning—before flying to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota where many of the nuclear force troubles began—that the Defense Department will boost spending on the nuclear forces by about 10 percent a year for the next five years, saying there is no problem on this issue the Pentagon can't fix. That would be a total increase of about $10 billion over the five years. Currently the Pentagon spends about $15 billion a year on the nuclear mission.

“The internal and external reviews I ordered show that a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces over far too many years has left us with too little margin to cope with mounting stresses,” said Hagel, who was flanked by senior Air Force and Navy officers. “The root cause has been a lack of sustained focus, attention and resources, resulting in a pervasive sense that a career in the nuclear enterprise offers too few opportunities for growth and advancement.”