In Fresh Look at Nuclear Mission, Air Force Revisits 2009 Proposals

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 12, 2014, 7:20 a.m.

Some of the re­form pro­pos­als the U.S. Air Force is weigh­ing for its stra­tegic mis­sile corps already were at­temp­ted five years ago.

Pay raises and oth­er en­tice­ments are among the op­tions un­der con­sid­er­a­tion for of­ficers and en­lis­ted per­son­nel who pro­tect and man­age the coun­try’s silo-based bal­list­ic mis­siles. First looked at in 2009, new re­forms could be more far-ran­ging in up­com­ing im­ple­ment­a­tion, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted on Tues­day, cit­ing an ana­lys­is of in­tern­al ser­vice pa­pers and emails.

Air Force Col. Robert Stan­ley, who leads the 341st Mis­sile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., told AP he sup­ports the ser­vice of­fer­ing em­ploy­ment in­cent­ives to mis­sileers. “We’ve been ask­ing for that for a long time,” he said.

The Air Force is look­ing for ways to en­hance mor­ale and ded­ic­a­tion in its in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic-mis­sile mis­sion fol­low­ing a num­ber of em­bar­rass­ing in­cid­ents in the nuc­le­ar corps in the last year, in­clud­ing an on­go­ing in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to a cer­ti­fic­a­tion test-cheat­ing ring at Malmstrom.

The ser­vice has grappled with nuc­le­ar-arena prob­lems be­fore. In 2006, air­men in­ad­vert­ently shipped bal­list­ic mis­sile fuse com­pon­ents to Taiwan and, in 2007, mis­takenly loaded a bomber with nuc­le­ar-armed cruise mis­siles and flew it across the United States. These high-pro­file in­cid­ents led then-De­fense Sec­ret­ary Robert Gates to con­sol­id­ate over­sight for the Air Force’s bomber and nuc­le­ar-mis­sile mis­sions in a new or­gan­iz­a­tion, the ser­vice’s Glob­al Strike Com­mand.

That com­mand, which over­sees the na­tion’s ar­sen­al of ap­prox­im­ately 450 Minute­man 3 mis­siles, last week an­nounced a new “grass­roots” ini­ti­at­ive aimed at so­li­cit­ing sug­ges­tions from nuc­le­ar mis­sion rank-and-file per­son­nel on how to im­prove work­ing con­di­tions.

But the Air Force already tried that back in 2008 and 2009, when it in­vited its stra­tegic mis­sile per­son­nel to sug­gest op­tions for im­prov­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism. “We need you to tell us what needs to be fixed,” reads a private 2009 sur­vey pre­pared for nuc­le­ar mis­sile air­men.

A group of nuc­le­ar mis­sile per­son­nel in 2009 draf­ted a menu of 42 op­tions for im­prov­ing mor­ale that in­cluded pay raises, edu­ca­tion sup­port, achieve­ment awards, and im­prov­ing the at­mo­sphere at mis­sile out­posts. It is not clear if any of those sug­ges­ted im­prove­ments were ever im­ple­men­ted.

Former Con­gres­sion­al Re­search Ser­vice de­fense policy ana­lyst Robert Goldich told AP he was skep­tic­al that mere fin­an­cial en­tice­ments would suc­ceed in ad­dress­ing the nuc­le­ar-mis­sile work­force prob­lems, which top Pentagon of­fi­cials have ac­know­ledged are deep-rooted.

“If the mis­sile force can’t con­vince its people that what they are do­ing is really im­port­ant, that it isn’t a mil­it­ary and stra­tegic back­wa­ter and/or ob­sol­ete, no com­bin­a­tion of pro­gram­mat­ic in­cent­ives can really fix things,” Goldich said.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
2 days ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
2 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
2 days ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."

Source:
ANALYSIS FROM CBO
32 Million More Uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare Repealed
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."

Source:
×
×

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.

Login