No. 2 US nuke commander suspended amid probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — The military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces has suspended its No. 2 commander, who is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service.

The U.S. Strategic Command isn’t saying why Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina (jee-ahr-DEEN’-uh) was suspended earlier this month, a highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer. But two senior U.S. officials familiar with the investigation say it’s related to gambling issues. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe in incomplete.

The command’s top spokeswoman, Navy Capt. Pamela Kunze (KOON’-zee), says Giardina is still assigned to the command but is prohibited from performing duties related to nuclear weapons. She says Air Force Gen. Robert Kehler, who heads Strategic Command, has recommended to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that Giardina be reassigned.

Giardina has been the deputy commander of Strategic Command since December 2011. He is a career submarine officer and prior to starting his assignment there was the deputy commander and chief of staff at U.S. Pacific Fleet.

The suspension was first reported by the Omaha World-Herald.

%@AP Links

APPHOTO WX103: This image provided by the U.S. Navy shows Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina in a Nov. 11, 2011, photo. The U.S. strategic Command, the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear warfighting forces says it has suspended its No. 2 commander, Giardina, for unspecific reasons, and he is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy) (22 Nov 2011)

<<APPHOTO WX103 (11/22/11)££

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