The US nuclear mission is suffering from a widespread, distressing lack of attention and interest from the Defense Department, a failing that worries allies who depend on America's nuclear protection, an independent panel has concluded.
The task force, which released its report Thursday, issued 82 recommendations, largely centered on the need to beef up resources, staffing and training to restore credibility to the nation's management of its nuclear arsenal.
James Schlesinger, a former defense secretary who chaired the task force on nuclear weapons management, told reporters Thursday that he believes "there is a willingness" among the Pentagon leadership to go along with one of the key suggestions - that a new assistant secretary position be created to oversee the nuclear mission.
The recommendations have been forwarded to US Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He issued a statement saying that "no one should doubt our capabilities or our resolve to defend US and allies' interests by deterring aggression."