January 7, 2014

JOE PAPPALARDO: A Disgraced Air Force General’s Last Interview: What a fired commander’s last words say about the state of America’s nuclear missiles.

At the time, Carey was Commander of the 20th Air Force, which controls America’s land-based nuclear missiles. He was in town to meet with members of NASDAQ, where we would ring the opening bell in September, and a visit to PopMech happened to fit his schedule. Carey toured the office, checked out our view of Central Park, and sat for an interview about intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests for a feature coming up in our March 2014 magazine. Carey came off as knowledgeable, experienced, and in command of the issues plaguing America’s aging ICBM force. He was also witty and engaging, discussing his take on Red Alert, the novel that was the basis for Dr. Strangelove. (The movie was superior to the book, though both run afoul of actual nuclear security practices.) He certainly came off as sober and intelligent.

But just months later, Carey was disgraced. In October the Air Force fired him. Officials offered no details, saying only that the dismissal involved personal conduct. “The nuclear deterrence mission is one of great focus, discipline,” Air Force spokesman Brig. Gen. Les Kodlick told the press. “Personal behavior is vital to that, especially from a commander.”

Read the whole thing.