Several airmen protecting the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles have been relieved of their security duties pending an investigation into possible marijuana use, the Air Force Global Strike Command said on Monday.
“We are an ICBM base,” said Capt. James Fisher of F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, where the off-base, off-duty incident was reported. “The use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, although it might be legal elsewhere, they are prohibited from using it.”
Warren and its 3,600 service members help protect a nuclear arsenal of 150 ICBM missiles spread over a three-state radius that borders Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational use.
Fisher said the base’s legal team emphasizes the Uniform Code of Military Justice’s zero tolerance drug policy to personnel when they arrive.
“We understand that Colorado is just a few minutes away, and it is legal there, however, again, here’s a reminder of what the UCMJ says,” he noted on Tuesday, adding that cannabinoids that include the hallucinogenic chemical THC and the nonhallucinogenic CBD, often found in pain ointments, are prohibited.
“Regardless of what it does to your system, or whatever it does, there’s still rules and regulations that they need to abide by,” he said, noting that random tests are conducted on base to detect drug use.
Fisher did not confirm the date of the incident nor if a drug test led the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to open a case involving the airmen.
Joint Strike Global Strike Commander Gen. Timothy Ray flew to Warren from the command’s nine-base headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana to instill the seriousness of the potential violation.
“We will hold them accountable using all of the disciplinary tools available under the military justice system,” Ray reportedly told several hundred airmen at the base theater Monday morning.
The Air Force could not provide a timeline for the investigation. The airmen in question will report to work and conduct administrative duties until their case is complete.