I was on-board a beautiful old Guided Missile Destroyer while in the Navy from approximately 1987-1991. One a few occasions on liberty in ports in the West Pacific someone would quietly ask me about whether we had nuclear weapons on-board. The old girl (commissioned in 1961) was used for target practice several years back and is at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, so at this point the answer is unimportant. However, from day one on the ship we were taught over and over that the answer to that question was "I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons on-board USS Lynde McCormick", to this day I am not sure I could answer in any other way.
I know that if that ship was still in service, that is all of an answer anyone would get, or if the answer would in someway endanger our military or our nation.
My question is, if you have been or can imagine being a member of the armed forces, how long does your duty to maintain military secrets and confidential information, stay with you? Is it ever ok to share that information? Does the fact that you are no longer an active member negate the duty to keep that information to yourself?
Thank You for your input.