The nation’s deteriorating nuclear force will get a $10 billion cash injection to shore up sagging morale and correct serious mismanagement problems, officials said Friday.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the top-to-bottom overhaul at a Pentagon press conference before flying to a nuclear site in North Dakota.
Hagel’s proposed upgrades are the result of two separate probes into the nuclear program he ordered in February, following a series of damning investigative reports from the Associated Press.
The AP had revealed several serious breaches in vital protocols, including two different incidents of personnel taking approved naps while on solo guard duty — but leaving security doors that should have been closed wide open to intruders.
The AP also found widespread leadership lapses and plummeting morale at nuclear sites.
The Pentagon will get the additional $10 billion in payouts over the next five years, Hagel said.
It costs about $15 billion a year to maintain the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
The ex-Senator, a Republican from Nebraska, flew to Minot Air Force Base after his announcement to deliver a pep talk.
“You are an indispensable element of our national security,” he said, although he acknowledged that too many years of neglect resulted in a “pervasive sense” that nuclear security was a dead-end career.
SOURCE: GINGER ADAMS OTIS
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS