Security forces commander at Air Force ICBM base relieved following investigation

Col. Nicholas Petren, 90th Security Forces Squadron commander, during the 90th SFS change of command ceremony July 6, 2018 in the Peacekeeper High Bay on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. (U.S. Air Force/Glenn S. Robertson)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Air Force has removed the commander of the 90th Security Forces Squadron at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, over a loss of confidence in his ability to maintain a healthy work environment.

Officials with Air Force Global Strike Command's 90th Missile Wing announced Monday that Col. Damian Schlussel, commander of the 90th Security Forces Group, relieved Lt. Col. Nicholas Petren, head of the 90th SFS, "due to a loss of confidence" in his leadership.

Petren assumed the role in July 2018, according to the service.

Terry Higgins, a public affairs specialist with the 90th Missile Wing, said there had been an investigation into Petren, as ordered by Schlussel. Higgins could not discuss the nature of the investigation but said it concluded Sept. 9.

"The Air Force values and encourages a positive work atmosphere where all airmen are treated with dignity and respect and cannot condone leadership actions that do not uphold these ideals," officials said in a news release. "A temporary commander has been appointed until a permanent replacement is in place."

Petren has been temporarily reassigned at the base "until he is due to rotate to another duty location," the release adds.

The squadron is responsible for base law enforcement, manning gates and guarding high-priority areas, including 15 missile alert facilities and 150 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). F. E. Warren became the U.S.' first operational ICBM base in 1958.

Petren started his career as a flight leader and executive officer in the 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, the service said in a news announcement when he assumed command last year.

The Wing has seen other reliefs in the past 18 months.

In May 2018, the head of the 90th Civil Engineer Squadron at Warren and her enlisted counterpart were both removed from their leadership positions.

Lt. Col. Erin Weatherly and Chief Master Sgt. James Clark were removed from their duties after a leadership change was deemed necessary, Wing spokeswoman 2nd Lt. Mikayla K. Gomez said at the time.

"Col. Stacy Jo Huser, 90th Missile Wing commander, lost confidence in their abilities to carry out their duties and determined that new leadership was necessary to ensure the highest levels of precision from a squadron leadership," Gomez said.

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