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Jack Weinstein and the Nuclear Arsenal

Lawrence Bush
April 10, 2017

General Jack Weinstein dismissed nine officers in charge of the nuclear arsenal at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana on this date in 2014, over a scandal involving cheating on exams that are designed to test people’s capacity to handle “emergency war orders” that involve the targeting and launching of missiles. The dismissals took place after a 2014 tour of nuclear bases by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, following reports of widespread drug use and academic cheating at Malmstrom and other sites. “The scandal laid bare what top officials readily agreed is a crisis in the nuclear enterprise,” writes Defense News. Weinstein was commander of a force of 9,600, including maintenance technicians, security forces, and about 500 “missileers” who work in forty-five control centers. His predecessor, General Michael Carey, had been relieved of command for drunken and inappropriate behavior during an official trip to Moscow. Weinstein, who joined the Air Force in 1982, is now Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration in Washington D.C, providing “direction, guidance, integration and advocacy regarding the nuclear deterrence mission of the United States Air Force,” according to the Air Force website. To read an exposé by Lesley Stahl about our faulty nuclear control systems, click here.

“If another nation believes they can have an advantage by using a nuclear weapon, that is really dangerous. What you want to do is have such a strong deterrent force that any desire to attack with nuclear weapons will easily be outweighed by the response they get from the other side. That’s the value of what the deterrent force provides.” --Gen. Jack Weinstein

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.