The Air Force is investigating about a dozen airmen at a nuclear missile base for alleged use of illegal drugs, in some cases possibly including cocaine, anonymous defense officials tell the AP. The drug investigation at FE Warren Air Force Base, home of the 90th Missile Wing, was to be officially announced Friday by Gen. Robin Rand, the four-star commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. The command is responsible for the entire fleet of Minuteman 3 land-based nuclear missiles; one-third of the Minuteman 3 force is operated by the 90th Missile Wing. The airmen under investigation are mainly or entirely members of a security force at the 90th Missile Wing, the officials said. The allegations do not involve officers who control the Minuteman missiles from command centers, officials said.
Security forces at nuclear missile bases are entrusted to patrol the missile fields and respond to any security emergencies. They are highly trained and given enormous responsibility. Just last month, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work visited FE Warren and observed a demonstration by security forces of the techniques and equipment they would use to recapture a missile silo that had been taken over by intruders. Officials said those under investigation have been suspended from their duties while their cases are being investigated. The probe is a fresh blow to a nuclear missile corps that has been under intense scrutiny for a string of lapses in training and personal conduct over the past three years. (Read more Air Force stories.)