By Phil Stewart and David Alexander
WASHINGTON Oct 11 The two-star general
overseeing the U.S. arsenal of intercontinental missiles was
fired on Friday for personal misbehavior, the Air Force said,
adding the matter was not tied to the readiness or security of
America's nuclear missiles.
The removal of Major General Michael Carey from his job as
commander of the 20th Air Force was the latest in a string of
recent high-profile firings of top U.S. generals.
Just two days ago, the deputy commander of U.S. Strategic
Command, which oversees America's nuclear arsenal and space
operations, was relieved of his post during an investigation
into gambling issues. Last week, two Marine
generals were fired for failing to properly defend a base in
Afghanistan from a deadly 2012 Taliban attack.
The Air Force did not disclose what exactly Carey did wrong
but provided a laundry list of things he wasn't being accused
of, including sexual misconduct, adultery or drug use.
The investigation didn't relate to operational matters or
readiness and there was no indication of criminal activity,
although the investigation is not over, it said.
"There was misbehavior such that (his superior) decided that
it didn't exemplify the trust and responsibilities required of a
commander who was responsible for these nuclear forces," said
Brigadier General Les Kodlick, an Air Force spokesman.
"The nuclear deterrence mission is one of great focus and
discipline. Personal behavior is vital to that, especially from
Headquartered at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, the
20th Air Force is responsible for the nation's three
intercontinental ballistic missile wings.
The Air Force's management of those missiles has come under
intense scrutiny in recent months. Some 19 missile crew members
at 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota
were decertified after a poor showing in a March inspection.
In August, the 341st Missile wing at Malmstrom Air Force
Base in Montana got a failing grade in its inspection, which
cited "tactical-level errors during one of several exercises."
Still, the Air Force denied the inspections had anything to
do with Carey's removal. Carey remains in the Air Force as the
investigation continues but will be reassigned, Kodlick said.
"20th AF continues to execute its mission of
around-the-clock nuclear deterrence in a safe, secure and
effective manner," Lieutenant General James Kowalski, commander
of the Air Force Global Strike Command, said in a statement.
"It's unfortunate that I've had to relieve an officer who's
had an otherwise distinctive career spanning 35 years of
The Air Force has sought to tighten controls over its
nuclear weapons after a 2008 incident in which a B-52 bomber
accidentally transported nuclear armed missiles across the
That led to the ouster of then-Air Force Secretary Michael
Wynne and General T. Michael Moseley, the top uniformed officer
in the Air Force.