Thursday, August 27, 2009

Navy Removes Top Nuke Weapons Officer

BANGOR, Wash. - The Navy dismissed the commanding officer of a Washington state-based nuclear weapons facility Friday, citing a loss of confidence in his ability to lead, the Pentagon said.

Capt. Timothy J. Block, who headed the Navy's Bangor operation arming Trident submarines with nuclear warheads, was relieved of duty on by Rear Adm. Stephen E. Johnson, the Navy's director of strategic systems programs, according to the Kitsap Sun.

A Navy spokesman told The Associated Press that no single incident led to Block's removal. The spokesman would only comment anonymously because he felt he should not pre-empt his supervisor.

Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. J.A. "Cappy" Surette told the newspaper that public safety was not jeopardized and that no "specific issue" was involved.

Washington state's Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor is home to nuclear submarines, ships and laboratories. The facility also assembles and stores nuclear weapons before outfitting the subs.

Block was about a year into a three-year stint. Surette says the captain has been reassigned but his next station has not been determined.

Navy Capt. Kevin Zumbar, deputy director of strategic systems programs based in the Washington, D.C., area, will take over command until a replacement is found.

Block is the second facility commander in recent years to be relieved of duty for "a loss of confidence." Capt. Keith Lyles was dismissed after failing a nuclear weapons inspection om 2003.

© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No comments:

Blog Archive