Nuclear Commander: Less-Than-Perfect Test Scores Will Do

Global Security Newswire Staff
April 21, 2014, 9:19 a.m.

The Air Force will move away from im­pli­citly re­quir­ing per­fect test scores from its nuc­le­ar mis­sile-launch of­ficers, the Wyom­ing Tribune Eagle re­ports.

The ser­vice form­ally re­quires a score of 90 per­cent for its mis­sileers to pass routine tests for cer­ti­fic­a­tion to serve in un­der­ground launch-con­trol cen­ters for the U.S. ar­sen­al of 450 Minute­man 3 in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­siles. However, there has of­ten been a ta­cit un­der­stand­ing in the ser­vice’s nuc­le­ar-mis­sile branch that of­ficers had to score 100 per­cent on the tests or risk see­ing their ca­reer pro­spects di­min­ished.

Air Force lead­ers have blamed that so-called “cul­ture of per­fec­tion” for mo­tiv­at­ing dozens of young launch-con­trol of­ficers to cheat on the ex­ams — or look the oth­er way when their col­leagues cheated. An of­fi­cial in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to test-tak­ing mis­con­duct at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., res­ul­ted in the ser­vice last month fir­ing a num­ber of mid-level of­ficers at the base for fail­ing to suf­fi­ciently su­per­vise the of­ficers be­neath them.

The com­mand­er of the 20th Air Force, which over­sees all Minute­man 3 mis­siles, told the Tribune Eagle that he is work­ing to shift how “per­fect” is con­strued. Still, he said the pub­lic should con­tin­ue to ex­pect that nuc­le­ar mis­siles will be handled without er­ror.

“You don’t have to be per­fect in test­ing, and you don’t have to be per­fect in train­ing,” Maj. Gen. Jack Wein­stein said. “But you do have to be per­fect when you are do­ing the mis­sion.”

The two-star gen­er­al said 350 re­com­mend­a­tions on how to im­prove the ICBM mis­sion have been re­ceived as part of an ex­pans­ive study that sur­veyed Air Force nuc­le­ar-mis­sile of­ficers and work crews. Wein­stein said he and oth­er ser­vice brass ac­cept nearly all of the re­com­mend­a­tions.

The test-cheat­ing rev­el­a­tions “may be a tough pill to swal­low, but I really be­lieve that with everything that has happened, good is go­ing to come out of this and make us stronger,” he said.

What We're Following See More »
Rubio May Run for Reelection After All
3 hours ago
LGBT Amendment Sinks Energy and Water Approps
5 hours ago

The House voted down the otherwise uncontroversial Energy and Water appropriations bill Thursday after Democrats succeeded in attaching an amendment affirming LGBT job discrimination protections for military contractors. More than 40 Republicans supported the amendment, but when it came to vote on the bill, 130 Republicans joined all but six Democrats to sink the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan said Democrats voting against the bill after securing the amendment shows their intention was to scuttle the process. Democrats, however, blamed other so-called poison-pill amendments for their votes against the bill. Nonetheless, Ryan said he intends to continue the appropriations process.

UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
5 hours ago

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

70,000 Have Missed American Airlines Flights This Year
6 hours ago

"Airport screening delays have caused more than 70,000 American Airlines customers and 40,000 checked bags to miss their flights this year, an executive for the airline told a U.S. congressional subcommittee on Thursday. A shortage of staff and a surge in air travelers have created a nightmare scenario for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA), with airport wait times in places like Chicago stretching beyond two hours."

Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
7 hours ago

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."