The US military leadership holds briefings with the leadership of the armed forces on the analysis of the state of alert of the strategic offensive forces (SNS) and the development of corrective measures.
It should be emphasized that the materials of the briefings are developed based on the results of strategic exercises, inspections of the combat readiness of the space wings of ICBMs (analogous to the missile army of the Strategic Missile Forces) and aviation wings. At the same time, the Pentagon leadership declares the high efficiency of inspections such as NORI (Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspections) and nuclear safety inspections such as NSI (Nuclear Surety Inspections). weapons).
The main purpose of NORI inspections is to comprehensively monitor and evaluate the combat readiness of the wings to work out the destruction of strategic targets at the stage of an armed conflict with the use of nuclear weapons (NF) according to two main indicators: Force Generation and their use. Formation of forces includes the actions of the control bodies and troops on warning signals; reporting on the state of the SNA and bringing them into readiness for combat use; organization of operational management; logistics; guard and defense, cover the objects of the SNA from air and ground enemy attacks. The indicator “use of troops” includes: assessment of the situation and prompt response to emerging threats; performance of combat missions for delivering nuclear strikes (conditionally); submission of reports on the performance of combat missions; the use of primary, backup and reserve combat control systems for troops and nuclear weapons; implementation of activities for the types of comprehensive security; liquidation of consequences and restoration of combat readiness of troops.
Air Force Minister Deborah Lee James is quite upset about the results of the tests of the wings of the ICBM.
NSI-type inspections checks are aimed at monitoring and evaluating the actions of the management team in the management of forces and equipment in various conditions and the fulfillment of nuclear safety requirements. In the course of these inspections, verification and assessment of the completeness and quality of the performance of the assigned tasks is carried out according to ten indicators: actions in the event of incidents involving nuclear warheads (nuclear warheads); completeness and quality of technical operations; inspection of technical services; monitoring the condition of the facilities, transportation of the nuclear weapons and the rules for handling them; safety of nuclear warheads; the safety of their storage; logistic support; meeting the requirements for the selection and verification of the moral and psychological qualities of the personnel allowed to work with the nuclear warhead; the state of logistics; meeting the requirements of the governing documents during all types of work and classes with nuclear warheads.
As for the naval strategic nuclear forces, they are subject to TRE (Tactical Readiness Inspection) inspections with each of the Ohio-type SSBN crews after the completion of combat patrols. However, the results of inspections carried out in the NSNF are not published in open foreign sources.
In addition, the state and prospects for the development of strategic offensive forces are being studied by an independent commission of the US Department of Defense, established in March of 2014, the results of its work are also closed.
DEGRADATION OF COMBAT READINESS SNA CONTINUES
According to the Pentagon, the state of alert of the SNA provides for nuclear deterrence of potential enemies of the United States and its allies. According to the results of strategic exercises, the proven wings showed the ability to perform combat missions to defeat the strategic targets of a potential enemy (conditionally).
At the same time, the analysis of open informational materials shows that, according to the results of inspections, a significant amount of flaws and poorly resolved systemic issues were discovered in the missile and aviation wings.
Thus, the 341 wing of the Minuteman III ICBM (Avb Malmstrom) was rated “unsatisfactory” by the results of the NSI type inspection of the Air Force Command of the Global Strikes (KSU) of the Air Force. The personnel showed low knowledge and practical skills in working with nuclear warheads. To eliminate the shortcomings, additional time was provided with subsequent rechecking.
The emblem of the 341 th wing of the ICBM Minuteman III.
At the briefings, special attention was paid to the analysis of the unsatisfactory organization of training and combat duty on duty. It is noted that instead of systematic training of personnel, formal tests are practiced. At the same time, numerous facts of fraud were revealed, dozens of officers were removed from combat duty, noticed in deception and writing off answers during tests for professional fitness, the majority of missile officers were sent for re-certification. It turned out that many of the officers from the maintenance and repair groups admitted to combat duty and maintenance of the nuclear weapons plank did not even know how to work with them. In the preparation of combat crews of launch control points (ICPs) of the Minuteman III ICBM, there is a narrow specialization, insufficient tactical outlook, commitment to work according to instructions, and general issues of military art are poorly understood. As in previous years, the facts of drug use by officers at the Minuteman III ICBM launch control posts, their distribution and sale were revealed. Some of them took up duty on duty after drug use, ostensibly to prevent stress.
The briefings also noted that the aviation wing guidance documents did not sufficiently regulate the actions of personnel in training B-52H strategic bombers with nuclear ALCMs for combat use. Directives and directives coming into the wings from the 20 VA, KSU, USC and the Ministry of the Air Force, often contradicted each other. In their content, more attention was paid to the order of solving non-nuclear tasks to the detriment of nuclear ones. In this regard, the plans of training and methodological collections, training programs and topics for training with flight crews, specialists of maintenance and repair teams were aimed at preparing for the implementation of non-nuclear tasks. And as a result - poor knowledge and insufficient practical skills in solving the problems of nuclear support for the use of ICBMs and long-range nuclear ALCMs.
The allocation of material and technical and financial resources for maintaining combat readiness, supplying modern types of general-purpose equipment, and solving social problems of military squadrons of the nuclear component of the Air Force was carried out according to the residual principle. In the missile wings, the facts of the formal attitude of the chiefs of the 20 VA, KSU, USK and the Ministry of the Air Force to the problems of combat duty and its comprehensive support were revealed. When considering career prospects, priority was given to personnel performing tasks in military conflicts, which caused dissatisfaction with rocket officers. The temporary and current shortage of key specialists also have a negative effect on the moral and psychological state of the personnel of the wings, and measures for its replacement have not been taken. In some parts and subdivisions of the maintenance and repair of aircraft wings, such a shortage was from 50 to 200 people. This led to a violation of schedules of combat duty and created significant physical and psychological stress on the personnel of combat crews and flight crews. Guiding documents governing staffing standards and marginal incomplete levels for the main specialties in the wings of the ICBM and aircraft wings have not been developed. The inspection materials also noted that in a number of rocket maintenance departments there were only a few key specialists, which did not meet the requirements of nuclear safety. The rocket maintenance work was often stopped due to the lack of qualified personnel, since the prerequisites were created for the occurrence of an emergency situation on nuclear missiles. When monitoring practical actions, some aviation wings exceeded the established standards for bringing the aircraft fleet to the highest levels of combat readiness.
Officers on duty at the ICBM launch control center Minuteman III, 91 th wing, Minot airbase, North Dakota.
Many commanders and chiefs stated problems in the technical support of combat and daily activities of the troops: various equipment, road transport, transport and handling units used when working with missiles and nuclear warheads, developed service life, need to modernize the nuclear warhead storage.
The materials of the inspections emphasized that the main reason for the shortcomings in combat readiness lies in the imperfection of the operational and administrative management of the SNA. Thus, the forces and means assigned to combat duty in peacetime are under the operational control of the USC command. As part of the administration, the missile and aviation wings are part of 20 IA, KSU and the Ministry of the Air Force and follow the relevant directives of the senior commanders. When transferring from peacetime to wartime to operational subordination of USC, the remaining forces and means are transferred, the quality of which training for combat duty does not always satisfy the command of USC. A strict system of selection and training of personnel on duty, verification of their moral and psychological qualities has not been implemented. The monitoring system of the state of combat duty does not provide knowledge of the real state of affairs in the duty forces. In the rocket wings, the requirements of AFGSCI 13-5301 instructions developed by the Air Force Global Strike Command, which regulate the preparation and conduct of combat duty by combat crews of the Minuteman III launch control points, are not fulfilled.
As a general flaw in combat readiness, the lack of targeted assistance and insufficient funding for the SNA from the US military-political leadership was confirmed. This has led to the emergence of systemic problems in ensuring sustainable command and control of troops and nuclear weapons; depreciation of infrastructure; low manning of personnel for combat duty; his lack of professional training; the deterioration of military discipline and the moral and psychological state of people. In the course of inspections, it was revealed that the commanders replace their subordinates in solving secondary tasks, depriving them of their independence and initiative. There is an excessive number of inspections by the wing command, 20 VA, KSU and USC, and surface training of the controllers themselves.
Nuclear bombs of type B-61 are being upgraded.
At the briefings, special attention was paid to the analysis of problems in the state of the nuclear weapons complex (NWC): it is the need to confirm the safety and extend the life of the nuclear warhead in the conditions of observance of the US moratorium on nuclear testing; doubtfulness of the identity of the results of three-dimensional computer simulation of thermonuclear reactions as compared with the actual nuclear tests of the nuclear warhead; limited opportunities for the implementation of the full cycle of creating nuclear warheads, since the manufacture of their key components (plutonium nodes) can be carried out in piece mode at the Los Alamos laboratory of the US Department of Energy; systematic non-compliance with the deadlines for implementation and frequent adjustments to large industrial and scientific-technical projects; physical deterioration and obsolescence of facilities and parts of NWK infrastructure equipment; the introduction of new, more stringent requirements for security, privacy and environmental protection, in the absence of additional resources; the increase in the number of specialists of retirement age and the difficulty in training new qualified personnel; loss of experience in carrying out full-scale tests of nuclear warheads at the Nevada nuclear test site, etc. Thus, the state of the NWC is consistent with the assessment stated in the US nuclear strategy (2010) as “decayed”.
This is not a complete list of shortcomings, but in reality, failures in the combat readiness of the US SNA.
The authors of the article analyzed the organization of individual issues of combat duty on a photograph published on the US Air Force website.
The results of the analysis indicate serious shortcomings in the organization of combat duty, the equipment for the launch control station, low discipline and responsibility of the personnel of the crew for launching and formal checks by officials and various commissions.
This conclusion is confirmed by the following arguments of the authors who have significant experience in combat duty in the Strategic Nuclear Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
1. The back of the commander of the combat crew of the launch and his deputy reclined, which indicates the desire of personnel to rest (sleep) in combat positions or malfunction of the seats. Not accidentally worn right armrest commander of the crew of the crew. During the briefings, it was emphasized how during the checks they found sleeping numbers of the crew, whose heads were leaning on the keyboard of the launch consoles.
It can be assumed that with the personnel of combat crews, the launch of systemic training, which would keep people on their toes, is not carried out. The armchairs are not equipped with safety belts designed to prevent injury to personnel in the event of a possible sudden movement of the propulsion structure in the event of an enemy nuclear missile strikes the control point (the structure is suspended on powerful hydraulic shock absorbers).
It is strange that the combat crew of the launch carries combat duty without personal protective equipment (gas masks), which must be at the combat post and attached to the head restraints. Obviously, the threat of the use of weapons of mass destruction by the enemy (and terrorists) in the US SNA is not taken into account, and training of personnel for protection against weapons of mass destruction is not fulfilled. Moreover, the equipment of filtering systems at the PMP has long been used up and is in need of replacement.
2. Obviously, the US SNA does not pay enough attention to ensuring the smooth functioning of a single time system. It can be seen that the PUP has only one set of wall clock sample of the last century. There is no reserve, and the readings of the wall clock and wristwatches of the deputy commander of the combat crew are different, which is unacceptable. It is possible that in the SNA of the USA they do not know that all available hours (including personal) on control points should show a single time. In addition, there are no clocks that keep a record of time in the Strategic aerospace directions, at least in one (Northern SVKN).
3. The deputy commander of the combat crew is on duty in violation of the uniforms, since the gate of the red T-shirt of an unidentified sample is viewed. Do not really notice this direct superiors, inspectors and members of numerous commissions?
4. It can be assumed that the photograph of the girl, pasted on the body of the lower lock of the safe, has a positive effect on the moral and psychological state of the officers of the combat crew. Meanwhile, the placement of locks is not conducive to the prompt opening of the safe and retrieving the contents. In addition, there is a threat of the lock falling on the keypad with its damage or issuing unauthorized commands and reports. It must be emphasized that the locks at the missile launch control points must be internal.
5. It should be noted also the negligence in the work of the commander of combat crew with documents. So, the restrictive plate of the shelf with documents is folded back, or the locking mechanism is faulty. Meanwhile, combat, operational, technical and other secret documentation should be kept in vaults to prevent their capture. In addition, it is prohibited to visually familiarize with the names of documents of officials allowed at the launch control center. There is a foreign object on the shelf of the deputy commander of the crew.
6. The launch control room is in need of repair, and the facility needs additional sealing. This is evidenced by a broken regiment and traces of moisture to the left of the commander of the crew.
The bed, installed behind the dirty curtain to the right of the deputy commander of the combat crew, does not contribute to increasing responsibility, discipline of combat duty and readiness for the immediate implementation of combat missions.
7. There are no antistatic floor coverings at the launch control center, since the structure is a reinforced concrete monocoque cylindrical structure. Therefore, the legs of the combat crew numbers are placed on the stiffeners of the elements of the structure.
8. A constructive disadvantage of the launch control point is the lack of separate tabletops for each combat crew number for working with documents and maintaining a combat duty log. In this regard, there are no (at hand) top-priority documents required at the time of receiving combat orders (signals): these are special duties, action algorithms, a list of reports, schedules, standards, etc.
BRIEFINGS: MEASURES TO ELIMINATE DEFICIENCIES
The results of the analysis allow us to draw the following conclusions about the measures to eliminate the shortcomings and failures in alertness, which were considered at the briefings.
So, in order to ensure the prestige of service in the strategic offensive forces, a decision was made to increase by one step the posts of the KSU commander to a four-star general and assistant chief of staff of the Air Force on strategic deterrence and nuclear integration to lieutenant general. It provides for an increase in the monetary allowance of servicemen serving in the SNA, as well as the payment of various bonuses. In addition, in order to stimulate personnel, a medal “For participation in nuclear deterrence operations” was instituted.
The issue of increasing the number of specialists involved in the Navy and Air Force to solve problems related to the preparation and use of nuclear missile weapons at 2,5 thousand and 1,1 thousand people, respectively, will be positively resolved. Due to the redistribution of Air Force funds this year, 145 million dollars were additionally allocated to recruit KSU troops, train personnel and improve the efficiency of work on recruiting and training specialists, eliminating deficiencies in the state of weapons and military equipment, etc.
Strategic bomber B-52H.
As for the US nuclear arsenal, by the end of 2030's. It is planned to have in service three universal nuclear chargers (YaZU) for warheads of land-based and sea-based strategic missiles and two YaZu for aircraft ammunition: the B61-12 guided bombs and the W80-4 ALCM warhead. This concept, called the “three plus two”, does not provide for the development of fundamentally new YaZU. The release of nuclear weapons is scheduled to be carried out by upgrading part of the existing ammunition using nuclear assemblies from previously used structures. Changes will be made only to non-nuclear components in order to unify them, as well as to increase the safety of nuclear warheads in emergency situations and to protect them from unauthorized actions.
Special attention is paid to the development, on the basis of existing modifications (В61-3, -4, -7 and -10), of a unified managed strategic aviation bomb В61-12 with a service life extended by 30 years. The launch of the serial production of this type of bombs is scheduled for 2020. Their carriers will be NATO military aircraft and US air force tactical aircraft, as well as strategic bombers. A program is being developed to upgrade the nuclear warhead W80-1 to the W80-4 modification for an advanced air-launched cruise missile with the aim of equipping a prospective strategic bomber. It is also envisaged to modernize the storage of nuclear ammunition, primarily located on Avb Barksdale. In general, the US military leadership intends to optimize the size and nomenclature of the country's nuclear arsenal in the period before 2040 in order to minimize the cost of maintaining it.
The briefings emphasized that modernization plans and the creation of new types of strategic offensive arms are not considered in the SNA, since there are no serious problems in their implementation.
Measures are being taken to tighten the system for monitoring the state of alert of the SNA with regard to planning, preparation and conduct of inspections, including sudden inspections. The tasks and functions of the Office of Cost Estimates and Analysis of US Department of Defense, which will verify the elimination of deficiencies in strategic offensive forces, analyze the results of the measures taken, the proper use of allocated resources, their impact on improving the combat readiness of the SNA and solving nuclear deterrence in general. The report is to be submitted on a monthly basis to R. Wark, Deputy Minister of Defense.
In this regard, a special group for evaluating the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence composed of representatives of the US Department of Defense, USC and KSU Air Force, which will analyze the materials received, will quarterly prepare conclusions and proposals for a report to the US Secretary of Defense.
Thus, the results of inspections and the work of various commissions, the state of alert of the strategic offensive forces, are of serious concern to the military-political leadership of the United States. This is confirmed by the unsatisfactory assessment of the alert status of the entire 341 th wing of the ICBM Minuteman III.