Top Air Force officials described a persistent culture of “undue stress and fear” that led 92 out of 550 members of the military’s nuclear missile corps to be involved in cheating on a monthly proficiency test on which they felt pressured to get perfect scores to get promoted.
In taking a deep look at trouble inside U.S. nuclear forces, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is searching for the root causes of recent Air Force missteps but also for ways to make the nuclear warrior’s job more attractive at a time when the military has turned its attention away from such weapons.
With public trust and safety at stake, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered immediate actions Thursday to define the depth of trouble inside the nation’s nuclear force, which has been rocked by disclosures about security lapses, poor discipline, weak morale and other problems that raise questions about nuclear security.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says 34 missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and three others have been implicated in a drug probe.
An Air Force investigation into alleged drug use in the ranks has expanded to include 10 officers at six bases in the U.S. and Britain.
Hagel Told 2 Nuke Missile Officers Removed From Duty Due To Drug Probe While Visiting Air Force’s Nuke Force
Moments before he launched a carefully planned pep talk to members of the Air Force’s nuclear missile force, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was undercut by yet another sign of trouble in their ranks: a drug probe of two missile officers.
The hundreds of nuclear missiles that have stood war-ready for decades in underground silos along remote stretches of America, silent and unseen, packed with almost unimaginable destructive power, are a force in distress, if not in decline.
Investigators say the Air Force general fired in October as commander of the U.S. land-based nuclear missile force engaged in “inappropriate behavior” while in Russia, including heavy drinking and rudeness to his hosts.
Key members of the Air Force’s nuclear missile force are feeling ‘burnout’ from what they see as exhausting, unrewarding and stressful work, according to an unpublished study obtained by The Associated Press.
Much of the U.S. East Coast is expected to get a view of a mid-Atlantic rocket launch Tuesday night, when the Air Force and NASA will try to put 29 tiny satellites into orbit, including a smartphone and a satellite built by students.