U.S. military fires second high-level nuke officer
October 11th, 2013
03:09 PM ET

U.S. military fires second high-level nuke officer

By Barbara Starr, Shirley Henry and Larry Shaughnessy

Another U.S. military officer with high-level oversight responsibility for the nation's nuclear arsenal has lost his job - the second in the past week.

Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, the two-star general in charge of three Air Force nuclear wings, was "relieved" of command "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment," the Air Force said in a statement on Friday.

Carey was fired by his boss Lt. Gen James Kowalski, head of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, several months after Kowalski requested an inspector general investigation.

Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick, the chief spokesman for the Air Force, told reporters the inspector general's office began its investigation after multiple "reports of misbehavior" but declined to be specific.

The alleged behavior occurred while Carey was traveling on business.

Kodlick said Carey's behavior did not impact highly sensitive nuclear weapons operations, but added it was such that he could not remain on the job in such a critical position - even though Carey had remained in place for some time during the investigation.

Leading the intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile facilities and operations is "a position of great trust and responsibility," Kodlick said. "Personal behavior is vital to that."

Carey remained on the job during the investigation over the past several months because the probe was still gathering information, Kodlick said.

That investigation is ongoing and Carey has been reassigned pending the final outcome.

The 20th Air Force, which Carey led, is responsible for three wings of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In August, one of those wings failed a safety and security inspection and a separate wing did poorly in an inspection earlier in the year, which resulted in 17 military personnel being decertified from their jobs. They have since undergone retraining and are back at work.

In the Air Force statement Kowalski said that Carey's former unit "continues to execute its mission of around-the-clock nuclear deterrence in a safe, secure and effective manner."

He said Carey's 35-year career otherwise has been distinctive.

In a separate case, Vice Adm. Tim Giardina was formally relieved of his duties earlier this week as deputy chief of U.S. Strategic Command, according to Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy's chief of information.

Giardina oversaw nuclear weapons forces. A military official said his demotion was connected to allegations that he used counterfeit gambling chips at an Iowa casino.

Giardina has been demoted to Rear Admiral and transferred to a job in Washington.

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