Aug 1, 2014
USAF Defends Shielding Nuclear Force From Service Cutbacks
The Air Force announced in June that it had decided to retain 4,000 airmen working in the nuclear mission who would otherwise have faced possible involuntary separation from the service. In explaining the decision, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said it was necessary to have "full manning in our nuclear positions" because of the "vital importance of this mission." Earlier this spring, the secretary told that due to budget constraints the service intended to reduce its active-duty force by 16,700 personnel in the next fiscal year.
The Air Force this year has publicly shown more concern for its strategic deterrence mission, after a number of scandals highlighted low morale and a lack of professionalism by some airmen assigned to maintain, operate and protect the service's arsenal of strategic nuclear-tipped missiles.