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Study: Nuclear Force Feeling 'Burnout' from Work


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I went from active duty missileer to Guard pilot and if there's one thing I continually remind myself of it is that I am continually on the greener side of the fence. Those poor bastards.

2. I went from missiles to ABM and am absolutely happy I made the switch. The first time someone told me I was going to take an MQF test and that I would have the questions AND answers, I knew I finally found some sanity.

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The reason I think you leave Malmstrom open is precisely because it has the largest missile field. I'm not sure I agree with having everything so close to one location (bombers/missiles) at Minot.

I don't know anything about the Herks in Wyoming, I'm just thinking the senators are going to want some quid-pro-quo action if they lose their ICBMs.

So you suggest to leave open the largest missile field, which in essence, is the most expensive to support with security, supplies, maintenance, etc. This make no sense from a fiscal standpoint. I'm in favor of closing one of the 3 (at least at the beginning) and going from there. As Breckey has said, the flying there is pretty sweet, but I don't think the higher ups should make a decision based on where Huey pilots would rather fly.

I don't disagree that the 1 Rep and 2 Senators from Wyoming would fight hard to keep their base open and only be ok with moving nuclear assets if there was a another mission/assets available for replacement (same with MT and ND). And this is why our fiscal situation in our country is so f'ed up...it's rarely about meaningful overall cuts but rather shifting funds here and there but only on the margins.

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So you suggest to leave open the largest missile field, which in essence, is the most expensive to support with security, supplies, maintenance, etc. This make no sense from a fiscal standpoint. I'm in favor of closing one of the 3 (at least at the beginning) and going from there. As Breckey has said, the flying there is pretty sweet, but I don't think the higher ups should make a decision based on where Huey pilots would rather fly.

I don't disagree that the 1 Rep and 2 Senators from Wyoming would fight hard to keep their base open and only be ok with moving nuclear assets if there was a another mission/assets available for replacement (same with MT and ND). And this is why our fiscal situation in our country is so f'ed up...it's rarely about meaningful overall cuts but rather shifting funds here and there but only on the margins.

But doesn't the largest missile field also have the greatest dispersal of missiles, which you would want as a military objective? Maybe the military objective can be met with just FEW & Minot - of course that requires that the military objective be precisely defined. I guess this is another variant of the "how many ICBM's do we need and how many can we afford" discussion.

If there are such morale problems in the ICBM force in the USAF, i wonder what the morale is like in the missile forces in other countries that have ICBM's.

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How many do we need? Well, since we have launched exactly zero missiles with a nuclear warhead at another country, then I would say we need...probably a lot less than we have now.

We don't keep ICBMs around to actually use them; we keep them around as a deterrent. Part of the deterrent is that they are dispersed enough to make destroying them all in a strike essentially impossible. Leaving Malmstrom open doesn't cost THAT much more than the other bases, we are talking gallons of gas, really not a huge expense. It does maintain enough geographic dispersion to ensure a credible deterrent.

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The sites at Malmstrom were the first ones built. By the time that Minot was built the dispersal algorithms had advanced enough that Minot's field could be constructed as efficiently as it was. The now-closed 564th squadron area at Malmstrom was built around the same time as the Minot and you can tell the layout is much more efficient.

Its still going to take damn near 150 warheads to take out either base so its pretty much a wash.

Also the sites locations are not classified. They have signs on the gates that say "Welcome to A-01!"

Edited by Breckey
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The sites at Malmstrom were the first ones built. By the time that Minot was built the dispersal algorithms had advanced enough that Minot's field could be constructed as efficiently as it was. The now-closed 564th squadron area at Malmstrom was built around the same time as the Minot and you can tell the layout is much more efficient.

Its still going to take damn near 150 warheads to take out either base so its pretty much a wash.

Also the sites locations are not classified. They have signs on the gates that say "Welcome to A-01!"

Hell, there are GoogleEarth KML files downloadable from the ol' Interwebs that show each launch site in great detail!

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The now-closed 564th squadron area at Malmstrom was built around the same time as the Minot and you can tell the layout is much more efficient.

You mean the ones about to be getting filled with gravel? Those are the efficient ones, and they chose to keep the shitty ones?

One thing I've wondered...what went into the decision process to put a missile where. Obviously there were certain parameters/criteria that had to be satisfied, it's just you drive by sites from time to time and wonder "why there?" Example...the one in Monarch, coming back down the hills from Showdown...up in the Little Belts and completely away from much of anything else, next missile (and obvious cluster) is miles away near the Sluice Boxes State Park. Just an odd location.

Kind of wonder how the process went too...farmer gets a knock on their door, dudes in suits saying "hey we've surveyed, and we'd like to put this instrument of nuclear death in your field, is that cool?" Just interesting all around.

Edited by Clayton Bigsby
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You mean the ones about to be getting filled with gravel? Those are the efficient ones, and they chose to keep the shitty ones?

One thing I've wondered...what went into the decision process to put a missile where. Obviously there were certain parameters/criteria that had to be satisfied, it's just you drive by sites from time to time and wonder "why there?" Example...the one in Monarch, coming back down the hills from Showdown...up in the Little Belts and completely away from much of anything else, next missile (and obvious cluster) is miles away near the Sluice Boxes State Park. Just an odd location.

Kind of wonder how the process went too...farmer gets a knock on their door, dudes in suits saying "hey we've surveyed, and we'd like to put this instrument of nuclear death in your field, is that cool?" Just interesting all around.

History Sunday:

The original 150 sites at Malmstrom were constructed in 1961-62 as Minuteman I sites. Site A-06 (the one by Monarch) was the first Minuteman site to come on alert during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In fact there is the little information board just north of the site along US 87 that discusses this. Malmstrom was "Wing I" as in the first wing to be built. The subsequent wings were constructed over the next 5-7 years in FE Warren, Ellsworth, Grand Forks, Whiteman, and Minot AFB. Each time the DoD refined their dispersal algorithms and each field was designed a little differently based on bedrock and other factors. For example Grand Forks' field was designed in a north-south line to the west of base, while Minot and Ellsworth were more or less a "C" shape around base. When the 564th was constructed in the late 60's the the Minuteman II was the newest missile so the silos and the Missile Alert Facilities were constructed with new technology and a different design.

By the early 90's the 1000 ICBM fleet was a mix of Minuteman II and Minuteman III's, Malmstrom had 150 II's and 50 III's (564th) at that time. In 1992 when Bush II made the decision to take the Bombers and Minuteman II's off of alert, only the 564th was on alert. After Grand Forks was BRAC'd, the 150 III's from there were transplanted into the former II sites at Malmstrom. START II required the reduction of around 100 ICBM silos. Since the 564th was different from a MX and operations perspective from the rest of the Malmstrom complex, the decision was made to deactivate those silos. The 50 Peacekeeper silos at FE Warren were also deactivated.

The decision process for the emplacement of the ICBMs is excellently detailed in "The Missile Next Door" The book kinda has a hippie anti-nuke slant for the last few chapters but the detail and research on the design and deployment of the Minuteman is outstanding. Basically what happened was that the dispersal algorithms that the DoD had in the early 60's said to put Silo A at X location, Silo B at Y location, etc with no regard for what the surrounding area was. Army Corps of Engineers personnel came out and took core samples, if it was conducive to a silo, the land was purchased at marked value by the gov't for something like 100 years. The gov't did not care that it was in a prized wheat field and that 50 ft across the road was useless pasture. They only moved the location of a silo (keep in mind over 1000 were emplaced) once due to a house being within the 1200 ft exclusion zone around the site. The 1200 ft was the blast radius of the rocket plume if one of those candles ever lit off.

The Nat'l Park service has former Ellsworth Minuteman II silo and MAF in South Dakota that you can tour. Whiteman AFB also has a silo inside the confines of the base that is now a museum.

Any other questions please let me know. I'm on 128.6 from time to time.

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More than the other guy.

False. You sound like one of the Cold War relics in the big offices of the missile wings.

Let's say we're neighbors having an argument and were both pointing guns at each other's heads. You have a .45 colt cowboy action revolver and I have a 50 bmg semi auto. You have no other guns in your home but I am loaded up like Fort Knox. Disregarding reaction time, does one of us have an advantage over the other? No. If either of us pulls the trigger were both dead. Just because I have a bigger gun (hehe) doesn't make me "less" dead. Nor do all my other guns. By the same analogy, if you have bigger nukes or more nukes (to a point) like Russia, you don't have an advantage because getting shot in the face with a cowboy action revolver still makes you very dead.

If I'm being unclear (I blame the gin), I'm saying we don't need as many nukes or upgraded ICBMs to maintain a credible threat to counter the threat of any other country with a nuke and a viable delivery system.

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False. You sound like one of the Cold War relics in the big offices of the missile wings.

Let's say we're neighbors having an argument and were both pointing guns at each other's heads. You have a .45 colt cowboy action revolver and I have a 50 bmg semi auto. You have no other guns in your home but I am loaded up like Fort Knox. Disregarding reaction time, does one of us have an advantage over the other? No. If either of us pulls the trigger were both dead. Just because I have a bigger gun (hehe) doesn't make me "less" dead. Nor do all my other guns. By the same analogy, if you have bigger nukes or more nukes (to a point) like Russia, you don't have an advantage because getting shot in the face with a cowboy action revolver still makes you very dead.

If I'm being unclear (I blame the gin), I'm saying we don't need as many nukes or upgraded ICBMs to maintain a credible threat to counter the threat of any other country with a nuke and a viable delivery system.

Not False. You do need more land based ICBMs than the other guy. We would never launch a nuclear attack on another country until we were "struck" first, not launched on, struck. Therefore, since silo based ICBMs are a "one for one" swap; if the other country intends to destroy your nuclear capability, you need more than they have.

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False. You sound like one of the Cold War relics in the big offices of the missile wings.

Let's say we're neighbors having an argument and were both pointing guns at each other's heads. You have a .45 colt cowboy action revolver and I have a 50 bmg semi auto. You have no other guns in your home but I am loaded up like Fort Knox. Disregarding reaction time, does one of us have an advantage over the other? No. If either of us pulls the trigger were both dead. Just because I have a bigger gun (hehe) doesn't make me "less" dead. Nor do all my other guns. By the same analogy, if you have bigger nukes or more nukes (to a point) like Russia, you don't have an advantage because getting shot in the face with a cowboy action revolver still makes you very dead.

If I'm being unclear (I blame the gin), I'm saying we don't need as many nukes or upgraded ICBMs to maintain a credible threat to counter the threat of any other country with a nuke and a viable delivery system.

I agree with the statement another poster just made about need to retain enough weapons to ensure a credible second strike capability. There are other critical benefits that ICBMs bring to the table, but it doesn't involve getting drunk, and shooting your watch down, so it's probably too hard to explain to you... Edited by Colokent
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Except for that one time when we did. Wait, two times.

So we're talking about ICBM's, land-based, and launching (Butters mentions all three) and yet you go to dropping bombs in WWII. So, yeah, we have never launched a land-based (or out of a sub) ICBM.

ETA: We've never launched one at a different country...since some people like to twist things around.

Edited by HeloDude
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I agree with the statement another poster just made about need to retain enough weapons to ensure a credible second strike capability. There are other critical benefits that ICBMs bring to the table, but it doesn't involve getting drunk, and shooting your watch down, so it's probably too hard to explain to you...

Way to add to the conversation dipshit

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Way to add to the conversation dipshit

Glad to help-- the extremely limited O-2/O-3 perspective on display in many parts of this thread (with a few exceptions) seems largely due to the fact that many of the commenters are UMB-wearers with ZERO experience/knowledge in nuclear weapons issues...which is getting tiresome.

My point was/is that unfortunately the nuclear problems go beyond a simple policy change at unit level. Again, this will require a fundemental rethink of nuclear policy to determine the continued relevance of the mission (which won't happen with the current administration). The resulting vector will govern in large part how many ICBMs we need, and how we will modify training, equipping and operating that force in the future.

For the record (and JQuintana), uninformed, flippant, blowhard comments by elitists whose perspective and experience appear to not extend beyond any missions other than their own, and who largely believe themselves "too good" to perform ICBM duty don't add anything to the conversation, either. It's a myopic view of national security policy in general, and the AF's role in it in particular.

Lesson over, young "studs". Go ahead and go back to your dart game and ripping each other's flightsuit patches off at the bar...

K

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Lesson over, young "studs". Go ahead and go back to your dart game and ripping each other's flightsuit patches off at the bar...

K

You are a total ass clown. Have some SA.

This is a forum of aviators, most--but not all--of whom are young. Of course you won't find in-depth understanding of strategic nuclear missile issues with them. So what? And that's really "tiresome" for you? Get a grip.

Will I find an in-depth understanding of SEAD, ISR, or airlift in the ranks of CGO missileers? Of course not. So what kind of troll rolls into an internet forum of aviators to blast them for that lack of in-depth understanding or for making "flippant, blow hard comments"? That's what the damn internet is for! Are you new?

And given the complete and total clown act that has been the nuclear community lately, I find it particularly curious that you would take that opportunity to go offensive on other communities that have not been in the news lately. You guys are clueless.

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