Artist's concept of the LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM.

Artist's concept of the LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM. Northrop Grumman

Air Force fires head of Sentinel ICBM program

Spokesman says Col. Charles Clegg's removal "is not directly related" to the program's ballooning costs.

The Air Force has fired the head of its program to build the next intercontinental ballistic missile, whose projected costs have ballooned to $131 billion.

Sentinel Systems Director Col. Charles Clegg was removed because he “did not follow organizational procedures” and the service lost confidence in his ability to lead the program, Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek confirmed in a statement.

The removal, first reported by Bloomberg, comes after the troubled program breached Nunn-McCurdy limits, which triggered the Pentagon to review the program and recertify it to stop it from being canceled.

However, Stefanek said Clegg’s removal “is not directly related to the Nunn-McCurdy review.”

The results of the Nunn-McCurdy process are due to Congress on July 9, but some lawmakers are already concerned that the Pentagon’s process of evaluating the program hasn’t been fair. The Air Force started the Nunn-McCurdy review with “biased and preconceived notions,” a group of Democratic lawmakers wrote in a June 24 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Those lawmakers want  a “thorough review of all alternatives” before the Pentagon moves ahead with Sentinel.