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Air Force to More Closely Examine Candidates for Top Nuclear Posts

A B-52H Stratofortress at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., in August is inspected prior to take-off. The Air Force on Wednesday said candidates for senior nuclear weapons-related positions would be subjected to a more rigorous screening process following the dismissal of a top command officer reportedly for alcohol-related issues (U.S. Air Force photo). A B-52H Stratofortress at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., in August is inspected prior to take-off. The Air Force on Wednesday said candidates for senior nuclear weapons-related positions would be subjected to a more rigorous screening process following the dismissal of a top command officer reportedly for alcohol-related issues (U.S. Air Force photo).

The Air Force's top-ranking officer on Wednesday said that candidates for senior nuclear positions in the service would be subjected to a more-rigorous screening process, the Associated Press reported.

The decision to more closely examine the online search results and health records of nuclear command hopefuls comes after the Air Force general in charge of intercontinental ballistic missiles was discharged from his position last month, due to concerns about his consumption of alcohol.

"As a result of our recent relief of one of our nuclear commanders we have changed our hiring process," Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said to journalists. "We will now do a prescreening that is a little more intensive than we've done before."

Welsh said the service used to perform such screenings only after an officer had been nominated to a more senior position.

The service will be looking for "what pops up when you type somebody's name into Google," said the four-star general. "It might be worth knowing that before you nominate somebody for a key job. Some of this is common sense."

The Air Force's Global Strike Command has oversight of the service's ICBMs and nuclear-armed bombers. In recent years and months, there have been a number of incidents that have raised questions about the readiness and professionalism of some of the military officers assigned to the service's nuclear-weapons mission.

The probe into Maj. Gen. Michael Carey's alleged misbehavior fueled by alcohol is still ongoing. Welsh said the former ICBM officer had acknowledged having an "embarrassing period of behavior" during a business excursion.

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