Air Force Addresses Aspects of Cheating Scandal
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2014 The Air Force has started to address aspects related to the on-going investigation of cheating on proficiency exams by nuclear launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, briefs reporters as Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James looks on at the Pentagon, Jan. 30, 2014. DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Air Force Global Strike Command has put together force improvement program teams as a way to get solutions from front-line airmen in this area.
“We’re going to take this wherever it goes,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, the commander of Global Strike Command, said during a joint Pentagon news conference today with Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.
The general said he has put in place a force improvement program intended to find and fix what were described as systemic problems the ICBM force faces.
“I can’t stress this enough,” Wilson said. “This is a grassroots level of effort. That’s where the solutions are going to come from.”
The program will allow airmen the chance to identify problems that are affecting the culture, climate and working environment in the nuclear enterprise and find solutions.
There are about 25,000 airmen assigned to the mission and all must be part of the solution to these systemic problems, James and Wilson emphasized.
“If all we cared about was the cheating … we could put additional proctors in the classrooms and be done with it,” James said. “But we care about much more than that, and that's why this is going to be a holistic approach.”
No enlisted personnel are part of the on-going cheating investigation, but their concerns need to be addressed, the Air Force secretary said. The enlisted force is concentrated in security police, maintenance and facilities. Their concerns involved quality of life issues, and whether they are being incentivized fairly, she said.
Both officials made the point that the ICBM leg of the nuclear triad remains operationally sound. The airmen are still performing their missions and still maintaining the most powerful weapons in the world.
Wilson reminded reporters that this morning it was minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., minus 15 at Malmstrom and a balmy 15 degrees at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.
“We have 1,000 airmen right now, out in the field, doing operations, doing maintenance, doing security force operations,” he said. “They’ve been doing that for 50 years, 24-7, 365.”
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