DoD Buzz reports today that Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz (the man in charge of protecting, arming and delivering the Air Force’s share of nuclear weapons) can be added to the large list of experts and military personnel who support the New START Treaty.
“My sense is that the START Treaty ought to be ratified and ought to be ratified as soon as possible,” Klotz told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast this morning.
And on the claim that the Warren Air Force base mishap marks “one of the most serious and sizable ruptures in nuclear command and control in history?” Klotz essentially yelled “bullshit”:
Here is how Klotz described it. He said the missile crews “…temporarily lost the ability to monitor the status of 50 missiles…” The problem was caused by an “equipment malfunction in one of the silos.” Once the crews had gone through their checklist and isolated the problem they were able to fix it. Klotz told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast today that this is not the first time such incidents had occurred. “I think it has absolutely no link at all to the START Treaty,” he said. Two “similar events” took place in 1998, he added. Senior Air Force leaders have been at pains to make clear that the US retained the ability to launch the missiles and never lost command and control between the silos and the national command authority.
Of course, you can bet that the Heritage Foundation will dismiss Klotz’ remarks as just another instance of a General toeing the Administration’s line. Don’t listen to them. As Travis noted a while back:
The fact is that numerous military leaders have affirmed that the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons initiatives were developed through close cooperation between civilian and military officials. Nothing was imposed on anyone….Military officials have endorsed New START because they were involved in its creation and believe in its substance. To assert otherwise is to question their integrity.
Update 11/10/10: That’s not all Klotz said. Cheryl Pellerin with the Armed Forces Press Service reports further:
“The secretary of defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commander of [U.S.] Strategic Command and virtually every former commander of Strategic Command have very cogent and compelling arguments in favor of ratifying the treaty,” he said.
Klotz, who has been working in arms control and arms control policy since the mid-1970s, said such a treaty facilitates important communication between the two largest nuclear powers.
“It’s critically important that the United States and Russia … have a continuous dialog on issues related to nuclear policy, including such areas as security, safety and command and control,” he said.
“This type of interaction in which the arms control treaties are the centerpiece, the nexus around which all that takes place, are critically important for understanding, for transparency and for openness between the two largest nuclear powers,” the general added.