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News > Personnel Reliability Program – Back to basics review
Personnel Reliability Program – Back to basics review

Posted 9/25/2008   Updated 9/25/2008 Email story   Print story

    


by Paul Haas
Assistant Wing PRP Manager


9/25/2008 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- With so many changes in the Personnel Reliability Program, it is necessary to review the basics and highlight what the PRP means and why it's of paramount importance to the security of the United States. 

The purpose of the PRP is to ensure that each individual who performs duties involving nuclear weapons meets the highest possible standards of reliability. It is an integral part of the safety, security, control, and effectiveness of the US nuclear deterrent and each person assigned PRP duties must meet established reliability standards. We accomplish this through screening (medical and military records), continuous monitoring and self evaluation. 

Responsibility for the program ultimately rests on each commander's (certifying official's) shoulders, but it takes the integrity of each PRP member, co-worker, supervisor, PRP monitor, support agency and reviewing official to ensure the commander has all the pertinent data to make informed and sound decisions. 

On June 30, 2006, Dale Klein, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Chemical and Biological Defense, had this to say about the implementation of the PRP: "To select and maintain only the most reliable people to perform duties associated with nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons require special consideration because of their policy implications and military importance, their destructive power, and the political consequences of an accident, loss of a weapon or an unauthorized act. The safety, security, control and effectiveness of nuclear weapons are of paramount importance to the security of the United States." 

Now consider a recent event concerning our national security, nuclear surety and the Personnel Reliability Program when six nuclear warheads were mistakenly flown on a B-52 bomber from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, on Aug. 30, 2007. This is what Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee had to say about the event: "These reports are deeply disturbing, the American people, our friends, and our potential adversaries must be confident that the highest standards are in place when it comes to our nuclear arsenal." 

Changes that affect the way we manage the PRP are going to come and go; however, the basic premise of the program remains the same. Success or failure is completely and entirely dependent on how the team of people responsible for its implementation (each PRP member, co-worker, supervisor, PRP monitor, certifying official support agency and reviewing official) ensure that each individual who performs duties involving nuclear weapons meets the highest possible standards of reliability. Together, we can prevent mistakes and ultimately strengthen our national security.



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