No. 2 US nuclear commander fired amid gambling probe

Giardina has been demoted to a two-star admiral and re-assigned to a Navy staff position pending the outcome of the gambling investigation, Navy spokesman Read Adm. John Kirby told the Associated Press, which first reported Giardina's firing.

Giardina was quietly suspended last month as he was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) on allegations that he used counterfeit gambling chips at an Iowa casino.

Giardina was named the No. 2 official at Strategic Command, which overseas the U.S. nuclear arsenal, in December 2011.

He is a career submarine officer who was previously deputy commander and chief of staff at the U.S. Pacific Fleet command in Honolulu.

— This story was updated at 6:25 p.m.