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Hagel Meets With Leaders of DOD Nuclear Enterprise

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with the leaders of the Defense Department’s nuclear enterprise today to discuss the health of the force.

Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Hagel considers the matter “a top national security priority.”

Air Force, Navy and U.S. Strategic Command leaders attended the meeting held in Hagel’s office where leaders addressed the personnel challenges that recently came to light in the nuclear missile force.

“It was a candid and wide-ranging discussion of the types of challenges that are faced by people who work in the nuclear enterprise, and … all the participants found it a very useful discussion,” Kirby said. The secretary directed that these conversations continue in the future, he added.

The leaders had an opportunity to talk about their perspectives on the health of the nuclear enterprise. “There were lots of good ideas floated about things that need to be considered and looked at by everybody, not just by the United States Air Force,” the admiral said.

Hagel called the meeting after revelations that 34 Air Force missile officers were implicated in cheating on qualification tests at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont, or knew about the cheating and did not report it. The number of officers being investigated has risen, Kirby said.

“I think the general consensus in the room was that we all need to accept the reality that there probably are systemic issues in the personnel growth and development inside the nuclear mission,” he said. “Now, exactly what they are and how to address them, well, … that's what they spent the bulk of the two hours talking about.”

The meeting looked at whether cultural problems within the missile community have made it easier to cheat or make people feel compelled to cheat, Kirby said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneAFPS)


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