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

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
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 »
House Freedom Caucus Endorses Obamacare Replacement
31 minutes ago

After more than a month of back and forth, a failed bill, and GOP embarrassment, the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus has announced that it will support the Obamacare replacement legislation in its most recent iteration. Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the caucus, said the roughly 30 members of the caucus view this compromise as the best option short of a full repeal. A recent amendment, authored by Meadows and Rep. Tom McArthur, co-chair of the more moderate Tuesday Group, would allow states to apply for waivers exempting them from provisions forbidding insurers from charging higher prices to those with pre-existing conditions if the state set up a high-risk pool. The plan's passage in the House is not a done deal though, as a number of moderate lawmakers have resisted supporting the amendment.

White House Working On Order To Leave NATO
1 hours ago
U.S. Navy Vessel Fired Flare at Iranian Boat on Monday
2 hours ago

"A U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer fired a warning flare toward an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel coming near it in the Persian Gulf. The incident happened Monday as the vessel closed to within 1,000 meters of the USS Mahan, "despite the destroyer trying to turn away from it." After attempting to contact the Iranian vessel and sounding its whistle, it deployed the flare. After that, the ship had had enough and turned away.

White House Attacks Judge Who Suspended Executive Order
2 hours ago

U.S. District Judge William Orrick Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from enforcing part of an executive order calling for the end of federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities. The decision was followed by a scathing rebuke from the White House, a precedent-breaking activity which with this White House has had no qualms. A White House statement called the decision an "egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge." The statement was followed by an inaccurate Wednesday morning tweetstorm from Trump, which railed against the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. While Judge Orrick's district falls within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit, Orrick himself does not serve on the Ninth Circuit.

House GOP Circulates Amendment on Preexisting Conditions
6 hours ago

"House Republicans are circulating the text of an amendment to their ObamaCare replacement bill that they believe could bring many conservatives on board. According to legislative text of the amendment," drafted by Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), "the measure would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal one of ObamaCare’s core protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Conservatives argue the provision drives up premiums for healthy people, but Democrats—and many more moderate Republicans—warn it would spark a return to the days when insurance companies could charge sick people exorbitantly high premiums."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.