Tag Archive: Air Force

More US nuclear missile officers involved in cheating scandal

Earlier this month, the 34 officers, who were in charge of launching nuclear missiles, were suspended.

Earlier this month, the 34 officers, who were in charge of launching nuclear missiles, were suspended.
Wed Jan 29, 2014 1:55AM GMT

The number of nuclear missile officers under investigation by the US Air Force over allegations of cheating has doubled from 34 initially to several dozen, officials said.

An Air Force spokesman confirmed the increase Tuesday but refused to mention a precise number in order “to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

Earlier this month, the 34 officers, who were in charge of launching nuclear missiles, were suspended either for cheating on a key monthly proficiency test last year or for knowing about the cheating but failing to report it.

On January 15, the Air Force said it discovered that one missile officer at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana had shared test questions with 16 other officers. Another 17 confessed to knowing about the misconduct but did not report it.

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“As the investigation has moved forward, we can now report there is a total of 92 crew members that have been identified as having some level of involvement,” Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday.

“That means either participating in the cheating or knowing something about it and not standing up and reporting it,” she said.

James said the nuclear force is beset by “undue stress and fear,” adding that the force suffers “systemic problems.”

According to the US Air Force, 17 officers initially were believed to have been involved in cheating on a monthly proficiency test to ensure they know how to maintain, and launch, nuclear missiles.

The tests in question are designed to ensure proficiency by launch officers in handling “emergency war orders.”

The Air Force has 450 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, or ICBMs, on alert at all times, with a contingent of about 500 launch control officers.

Ninety officers work in pairs inside 45 underground US launch control centers each day and each center monitors and controls a group of 10 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.

The United States, which has thousands of nuclear warheads, upgrades the weapons of mass destruction on a regular basis.



More nuke officers implicated in test cheating scandal

A mockup is seen of a Minuteman 3 nuclear missile used for training by missile maintenance crews at F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., Jan. 9, 2014. AP Photo

WASHINGTON — Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday the number of nuclear force officers implicated in a proficiency test cheating scandal has grown to 92 out of a force of 500.

James spoke to reporters after touring nuclear bases around the country. The cheating has been found at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The Associated Press has revealed the overall nuclear force suffers from such low morale and burnout that they have committed serious security lapses and other breakdowns.

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reported earlier this month, when 34 were implicated in the scandal, that a launch officer at Malmstrom allegedly texted the answers to a monthly proficiency test to other officers at the base.
Launch officers have to pass other monthly tests as well, including a simulated launch, so the cheating probably says more about their integrity than about their ability to perform the mission, Martin reported.

James, who is new to the job, said the nuclear force is beset by “undue stress and fear,” and said the nuclear force suffers “systemic problems.”

The Air Force announced recently that initially 17 officers were believed to have been involved in cheating on the monthly proficiency test to ensure they know how to maintain, and launch, nuclear missiles.

The widening cheating scandal has set off a top-level search for solutions.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel summoned 15 of his top Air Force, Navy and nuclear mission leaders to the Pentagon, where they worked Wednesday to figure out whether cultural problems within the nuclear force make launch officers feel more compelled to cheat on their proficiency tests.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the officials spent the bulk of the meeting discussing the breadth of the problems, which include low morale, cheating and serious security lapses, and how to begin solving them.

“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,” Kirby told Pentagon reporters after the two-hour meeting with Hagel. “The secretary made it clear at the end of the meeting that he intends to do these on a regular basis.”

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Predator drones ‘useless’ in combat scenarios – Air Force general

Published time: September 20, 2013 00:15
Edited time: September 20, 2013 03:37

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

Maintenence personel check a Predator drone operated by U.S. Office of Air and Marine (OAM), before its surveillance flight near the Mexican border.(AFP Photo / John Moore)

The fleet of MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones are no match for aircraft that can fly higher and faster, like those employed by the most basic of air defenses around the world, Gen. Mike Hostage, chief of the air service’s Air Combat Command, said at an Air Force Association conference.

“Predators and Reapers are useless in a contested environment,” Hostage said, as quoted by Foreign Policy.

“Today…I couldn’t put [a Predator or Reaper] into the Strait of Hormuz without having to put airplanes there to protect it,” he added.

The Air Force revealed this week that an F-22 intercepted an Iranian F-4 Phantom jet fleet closing in on a US Predator over the strait earlier this year. In late 2012, Iranian jets fired on and missed a Predator drone in the strait.

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Barack Obama, Martin Dempsey
Jacquelyn Martin / AP

President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting with Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, left, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and the service secretaries, service chiefs, and senior enlisted advisers to discuss sexual assault in the military in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 16, 2013.

(WASHINGTON) — The Air Force’s top general said Friday that sexual assaults in his branch of the military typically involve alcohol use and can be traced to a lack of respect for women.

“We have a problem with respect for women that leads to many of the situations that result in sexual assault in our Air Force,” Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters in a lengthy interview in his Pentagon offices.

He spoke one day after he and other military leaders were summoned to the White House to discuss the sexual assault problem with President Barack Obama, who has expressed impatience with the Pentagon’s failure to solve it.

Welsh said combatting the problem, which he characterized as a crisis, is his No. 1 priority as the Air Force chief of staff. He said he reviews every reported case of sexual assault; last year there were 792 in the Air Force.

Welsh addressed criticism about his comment last week, in response to questions at a congressional hearing, that the problem can be explained in part by a “hook-up mentality” in the wider society. Some said his remark implied that the blame rests mainly with victims.

“If I had this to do over again, I would take more time to answer the question and not try to compress it,” he said, adding that his point was that every person who enters the Air Force needs to be instructed in “this idea of respect, inclusion, diversity and value of every individual.”

“Now, I didn’t say it that way in the hearing, and I wish I had because I think it gave, especially victims, the opportunity for someone to interpret what I said as blaming the victims,” he said, adding that as a result, “I am sorry about that because there is nothing that is farther from the truth.”

Obama said after Thursday’s meeting with the military leaders that he is determined to eliminate the “scourge” of sexual assault in the military, while cautioning that it will take a long and sustained effort by all military members.

“There is no silver bullet to solving this problem,” Obama said.


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Welsh: Open to all options to stop military sexual assault

By Jennifer Hlad

Stars and Stripes
Published: May 17, 2013

Gen. Mark A. Welsh told reporters Friday morning that he is “open” to taking some of the UCMJ authority that exists now on sex crimes out of the chain of command.
Scott M. Ash/U.S. Air Force/File photo

WASHINGTON — As the president continues to press top military brass to stop sexual assaults and a third man in charge of sexual assault prevention is accused of misconduct, the Air Force chief of staff said he’s open to doing what advocates have been suggesting for years: Removing the authority to prosecute sex crimes from the chain of command.

Currently, commanders are responsible for initiating courts-martial against alleged attackers in their own chain of command, and for reviewing the results of courts-martial. Victims and advocates say that system discourages victims from reporting and can lead to problems when the accused has a better reputation within the unit than the victim does.

Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters Friday morning that he believes “all options should be on the table” for addressing sexual assault, and that he is “open” to taking some of the UCMJ authority that exists now on sex crimes out of the chain of command. He also said he believes it’s time to strip from commanders the ability to reverse courts-martial findings, though he said he believes commanders should retain the authority to reduce sentences.

The issue came into the spotlight earlier this year, when an Air Force lieutenant general decided to overturn the sexual assault conviction and sentence of a fighter pilot in Italy.


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US military ordered to recertify sexual assault prevention personnel

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel moves to quell outrage in order to each branch of military to address sexual assault issue

  • Associated Press in Washington
  • guardian.co.uk, Friday 17 May 2013 16.47 EDT
Hagel And Dempsey

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey at a briefing about sexual assault in the military. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Defence secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday ordered the military to recertify every person involved in programmes designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault, an acknowledgement that assaults have escalated beyond the Pentagon’s control.

He said this step is one among many that will be taken to fix the problem of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within every branch of the military.

At a news conference with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Hagel said he believes alcohol use is “a very big factor” in many sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but there are many pieces to the problem.

Hagel said it has become clear to him since taking office in February that holding people accountable for their actions is important, but simply firing people is not a solution.

“Who are you going to fire?” he asked.


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Call your Congressmen and Senators immediately and demand that the recent budget cuts do not affect the security of America’s borders. The Federal Government wastes billions of dollars on things they should not even be involved in, but securing our country’s borders is one of the jobs that the federal government is actually supposed to do!

Obama has always pushed massive cuts in the military as part of any budget cuts he will accept in fiscal deals. Obama seems to be getting what he wants, and it will leave America’s borders vulnerable to attacks and other infiltrations.

Air Force’s Air Defense Radar Systems along U.S./Mexico Border will SHUTDOWN on March 15th, 2013

On January 17th, 2013, Exelis Systems Corporation sent out an email (see email below) to all of its employees informing them that on March 15th, 2013 all TARS Air Defense Mission Operations will permanently cease. These TARS Air Defense sites were under the control of the United States Air Force. On January 15th, 2013, the Air Force informed Exelis (the defense contractor running the TARS sites) that the TARS sites will be shut down. Exelis tried to then negotiate with the Department of Homeland Security to see if they would take over the vital project, but it seems as though those negotiations have failed. What does this mean?

This means the southern border of the United States of America will be more vulnerable to attack from low flying aircrafts, low altitude missiles, and other infiltrations such as smuggling.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, one Exelis employee had this to say about the announced closure of the TARS sites:

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Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It



21.10.2012 Environment Pollution USA State of New Mexico, [Kirtland Air Force Base] Damage level Details

Environment Pollution in USA on Sunday, 21 October, 2012 at 04:00 (04:00 AM) UTC.

Crews working on an old Air Force fuel spill have found potentially cancer-causing chemicals beneath a southeast Albuquerque neighborhood, Kirtland Air Force Base announced. The New Mexico Environment Department said Friday that Air Force crews found the pollutant Perchloroethylene, or PCE, in water around 500 feet underground while installing test wells. However, officials say they don’t believe the recently discovered pollutant is connected to a decades-old Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel spill threatening Albuquerque’s water supply that could be as large as 24 million gallons. Davis tsaid that the chemicals likely came from a dry cleaner. Jim Davis, head of New Mexico Environment Department Resource Protection, told reporters that the chemical is threatening groundwater and not residents in the neighborhood above the contamination. Still, the discovery could trigger action under the federal Superfund law, a program aimed at the nation’s most serious hazardous chemical contamination problems. New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin praised crews for making the discovery.The department has launched a probe to see if any businesses that used PCE were located in the vicinity of the well clusters in the past. The Air Force is two years away from finalizing a cleanup plan in connection with a toxin-laden plume from a 40-year underground pipe leak was discovered at Kirtland Air Force Base. The spill was first discovered in 1999 when the Air Force noticed a pool of fuel coming up out of the ground at its old aircraft fuel storage center, which dates back to the 1950s. Air Force officials say the fuel was leaking from an underground pipe for at least 40 years as tests on elements in the plume — which contains the cancer-causing Benzyne and other harmful toxins — show it dates back to at least the 1970s. Less than half a million gallons have been pumped out of the ground.