Pentagon To Spend $10 Billion on Problem It Created…….Create The Problem Offer The Solution

Posted: November 17, 2014 in War Is The New Economy

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday the Pentagon plans to spend nearly $10 billion upgrading the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise over the next five years and significantly overhaul the program’s management structure. This comes after cheating scandles surfaced in the Air Force nuclear and Navy’s submarine programs. The problem with this is both the Air Force and Navy knew of the officer’s cheating and often times encouraged it as the Associated Press found. It also may be of interest to note Chuck Hagel’s announcement comes on the heels of Russia test firing thier latest ICBM……coincidence I think not.

SEE ALSO:  Another Fake Russian – NATO Military Standoff For The Military Complex


Air Force Cheating Scandal: 4 Nuclear Missile Launch Officers At Center Of Illicit Exchanges, Officials Say
Posted: 03/28/2014 3:04 am EDT Updated: 05/27/2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — A basic contradiction lies at the root of an exam-cheating scandal that decimated the ranks of an Air Force nuclear missile group, investigators say: Commanders were demanding perfection in testing and ethics but also tacitly condoned rule-bending or even willfully ignored cheating.

An Air Force investigation concluded that no commanders participated in or knew about the specific forms of cheating in which 91 missile officers were implicated at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. But nine commanders, representing nearly the entire operational chain of command in the 341st Missile Wing, were fired and the wing commander, Col. Robert Stanley, was allowed to resign.

 “From the perspective of a young company-grade officer looking up the chain of command, leadership has delivered conflicting messages” on integrity and test performance, the report said. Leaders pressured young officers to achieve high scores “while tacitly condoning” acts that “take care of” crew members who might otherwise fall short of the expected perfect result, it said.

This “blurs the line between acceptable help and unacceptable cheating,” it said.

Malmstrom is home to one of three Air Force intercontinental ballistic missile wings, each responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles. The other wings are the 90th at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., and the 91st at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.

Beyond the investigation at Malmstrom, the Pentagon is undertaking two broader reviews of problems inside the ICBM force, including training failures, low morale and security lapses that The Associated Press documented over the past year. One of those reports is due in April, the other in June.

The force of 450 Minuteman 3 missiles is primed to unleash nuclear devastation on a moment’s notice, capable of obliterating people and places halfway around the globe.

Investigators in the Malmstrom case surveyed missile officers’ views on a range of issues related to the alleged cheating, including the methods and attitudes of their commanders.

“A startling 60.2 percent of respondents at some level agreed that their squadron leadership was aware of improper behavior,” the report said, adding that a “particularly high” proportion — 10.4 percent — chose not to answer that question. “This would suggest that misbehavior within squadrons, such as test collaboration, was known at the squadron leadership level.”

One missile crew member was quoted as telling investigators, “Cheating has been going on for years; however, leadership pretends that cheating is not happening.” Another said, “Our squadron leadership was just another generation of cheaters.”

A squadron is commanded by a lieutenant colonel and is responsible for 50 Minuteman 3 missiles linked in sets of 10 to a network of five launch control centers.

Tony Carr, a recently retired Air Force officer who is studying law at Harvard, noted on Friday that three-quarters of the officers accused at Malmstrom are lieutenants, meaning “they were probably not pioneers” in exam-cheating.

They “more likely adopted the standards they found in the community when they arrived,” he said — “standards that almost certainly pre-dated the current crop of commanders.”

Investigators interviewed missile officers and their leaders at each of the three bases and at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where airmen are given their initial 100 days of ICBM training before being assigned to one of the wings.

Missile launch crew members, known within the Air Force as missileers, typically are ages 22 to 27. The investigation report released by the Air Force said that of 15 trainees at Vandenberg who participated in a focus group discussion with investigators, “no individual wanted to be a missileer.”

The report found evidence that instructors at Vanderberg “conditioned” students to “expect help on tests” when they arrived at their missile duty station.

The cheating scandal at Malmstrom was uncovered during the course of an unrelated drug probe targeting two young officers at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. A review of their cellphones yielded text messages to or from 11 Air Force officers at six other Air Force bases, including two at Malmstrom. The messages provided details on illegal use of synthetic drugs, particularly ecstasy and amphetamines, although none of the details were included in the Malmstrom report.

The report found fault among leaders far up the nuclear chain of command, but no one was punished beyond the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom. The two-star general who directly oversees the three ICBM wings, Jack Weinstein, took the post last fall after his predecessor, Michael Carey, was relieved of command in response to an investigation that concluded he had engaged in alcohol-fueled misbehavior while on an official trip to Russia last summer.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday that Carey, who has since served as a staff officer at Air Force Space Command with no responsibility for nuclear weapons, had put in his retirement papers. She will make the final decision on whether he is allowed to retire as a major general.



Navy Submarine USS Memphis Hit By Exam Cheating Scandal
Posted: 08/15/2011 2:05 pm EDT Updated: 10/15/2011

HARTFORD, Conn. — When the Navy discovered an exam-cheating ring aboard one of its submarines, it swiftly fired the commanding officer and kicked off 10 percent of the crew.

Navy officials describe the case aboard the USS Memphis as a rare lapse in integrity, but some former officers say the shortcuts exposed by the scandal are hardly unique to a single vessel.

The former submariners tell The Associated Press it is not uncommon for sailors to receive answer keys or other hints before training exams. They say sailors know how to handle the nuclear technology, but commanders competing with one another to show proficiency have made tests so difficult – and so detached from the skills sailors actually need – that crew members sometimes bend the rules.

An investigation report obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request describes an atmosphere aboard the USS Memphis that tolerated and even encouraged cheating: Sailors were emailed the answers before qualification exams, took tests outside the presence of proctors and openly asked officers for answer keys. One sailor told investigators that test-takers were encouraged to “use their time wisely” during breaks, insinuating that they should look up answers to exam questions.

A submarine force spokeswoman, Navy Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, said the Navy holds its officers and crew to very high standards and denied that cheating is rampant.

“The evidence we have shows that it’s very rare,” said Rousselow, who is based in Norfolk, Va.

But three former officers said the episode aboard the Groton, Conn.-based Memphis was an extreme example of shortcuts that occur aboard many of the roughly 70 American submarines in service.

One of the former officers, Christopher Brownfield, wrote in a book published last year that his superiors aboard the USS Hartford urged him to accept an answer key to pass a nuclear qualification exam. He said other crew members received answers by email, and the sub’s leadership ignored him when he complained about cheating.

“It was almost universal,” Brownfield said in an interview. “I don’t know anybody on the ship who could have passed that exam without cheating on the first try.”

As an instructor at the Navy’s submarine school in Groton in 2005, Brownfield said he heard from members of roughly a dozen other crews that cheating also took place on their boats. He blamed pressure to hit ever-higher performance targets.

“They’ve expected more and more paperwork, with higher levels of compliance, and over time those expectations diverged from what people are actually doing,” said Brownfield, who is now researching nuclear sustainability as a graduate student at Columbia University. “In the nuclear department, the test became so difficult it really had no bearing on what people were doing on a daily basis.”

Two other former submarine officers who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity for fear of losing connections to the Navy said that cheating is pervasive.

“Most people have great integrity except in this one area. On a lot of boats, they’ll bend the rules and try to juice the results,” said one former officer. He said it was not unusual for crew members on his submarine to receive hints to study particular areas before exams. As an instructor at the submarine school, he said he learned of similar practices on other subs.

Submariners have to make it through rigorous, highly technical training and testing before going to sea. Once deployed, they face more exams to test their knowledge and preparedness for worst-case scenarios. Low scores can lead to consequences up to removal from a sub, and hurt the overall rating of the crew.

The scandal aboard the Memphis broke in November when Navy brass learned that an answer key to one such test had been discovered in a junior officer’s email.

The sub’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Charles Maher, was relieved of duty within two weeks. He wasn’t accused being involved in the cheating, but the Navy said he fostered an environment that failed to uphold the expected standards of integrity. He did not respond to messages left by the AP.

Of the 13 crew members who were punished, only three returned to the Memphis for its final deployment. The other crew members were reassigned, kicked out of the Navy or are awaiting possible dismissal, said Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg, a submarine group spokeswoman at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton. The 33-year-old submarine was decommissioned in April.

John Fischer, a former officer who used to help oversee exams from a Navy base in Washington state, said the tests are about much more than the knowledge displayed by individual test-takers. Officers aboard each sub create their answer keys, and the process is meant to sharpen the superiors’ skills as well. He said the exams are supposed to be difficult, with a certain number of failures designed in to identify areas for improvement.

He said the collegial atmosphere aboard a submarine, where exams are administered by fellow shipmates and even friends, could be a factor in the cheating.

“If you get one guy in there who doesn’t have the integrity to do the right thing, then it can progress really easily,” said Fischer, who now works as a manufacturing engineer.

Like the other ex-officers interviewed for the story, Fischer said the safety of the reactors is not in question.

A spokesman for Naval Reactors, the agency that oversees the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program, said the Navy works diligently to understand the root causes of any cheating case and to make changes. Spokesman Thomas Dougan said that out of 16,000 nuclear-trained officers and enlisted sailors taking several exams annually, there are on average one or two cheating cases per year that result in the removal of nuclear qualifications. Most cases involve only a few sailors, he said.

Dougan said the written exams are one of several measures used to assess the effectiveness of a continuing training program, and the kind of cheating that occurred on the Memphis would not put the ship or reactor plant at risk.

He said commanders use other measures, including supervisors’ observations, drills and oral exams, to assess how well-trained crews are.

On the Memphis, the Navy investigation concluded that some of the mechanical operators decided to cheat partly because problems with the exam’s design prevented questions from lining up with the expected answers. Five of eight sailors stopped using the answer keys after the problems with the exams were addressed, the report said. It suggested that the exam program could be improved by requiring that all qualification exams be proctored.

In light of the scandal, Rousselow said squadron commanders and commanding officers have been encouraged to make any changes that might be necessary to prevent such cheating. She said the Navy was leaving it up to commanders to determine what steps if any should be taken to implement lessons learned from the Memphis.



$10 billion needed to upgrade nuclear weapons systems, Hagel says

– The Washington Times – Friday, November 14, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, where he announced that he is ordering top-to-bottom changes in how the nation's nuclear arsenal is managed, vowing to invest billions of dollars more to fix what ails a force beset by leadership lapses, security flaws and sagging morale. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pauses during a news conference at the Pentagon, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014, where he announced that he is ordering top-to-bottom changes in how the nation’s nuclear arsenal is managed, vowing to invest billions of dollars more … more >
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that Pentagon plans to spend nearly $10 billion upgrading the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise over the next five years and significantly overhaul the program’s management structure.

Mr. Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon that the changes and spending increase — a bump of nearly 10 percent annually — are needed to address major problems plaguing the enterprise that were exposed by a series of “internal and external” reviews.One of the more scathing reviews uncovered how Air Force personnel were using a single wrench to attach and remove nuclear warheads from intercontinental ballistic missiles at bases in North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. The Air Force had to ship the wrench from base to base via FedEx in order to get the job done, according to Mr. Hagel.

The wrench fiasco, he said, was “indicative of the depth and width” of the degradation of the nuclear enterprise, prompting a need for the Pentagon “to make billions of dollars” in investment in the overall program “over the next five years.”

“We’re probably looking at a 10 percent increase in the nuclear enterprise over each of those years,” he said. “Right now, we spent about 15 to 16 billion on the nuclear enterprise.”

The new spending will pay for additional personnel, equipment and facilities, said Mr. Hagel, who said the development was also motivated by a series of leadership failures that rocked the nuclear weapons enterprise in recent years.

Early this year, the Pentagon announced that dozens of Air Force nuclear launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana were suspended on suspicion of having cheated — or known about cheating of others — on a proficiency test. The Air Force later said that 92 individuals within the 500-officer strong nuclear weapons program were in some way implicated in the cheating scandal.

In March, the Pentagon fired nine missile commanders and disciplined several others over the scandal.

Mr. Hagel ordered the internal and external reviews of the nuclear program after a series of articles by The Associated Press revealed lapses in leadership, morale, safety and security at the nation’s three nuclear Air Force bases.

“The internal and external reviews I ordered show that a consistent lack of investment and support for our nuclear forces over far too many years has left us with too little margin to cope with mounting stresses,” Mr. Hagel said at the Pentagon Friday, according to the AP. “The root cause has been a lack of sustained focus, attention, and resources, resulting in a pervasive sense that a career in the nuclear enterprise offers too few opportunities for growth and advancement.”

The good news, the defense secretary said, “is there has been no nuclear exchange in the world.”



ICBM Bulava test-launch from nuclear submarine maximum close to normal operation
October 30, 2014
The system operated perfectly, all parameters were confirmed, and the warhead hit the pre-calculated area, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov says
Nuclear submarine Yuriy Dolgoruky

Nuclear submarine Yuriy Dolgoruky

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metzel

MOSCOW, October 30. /TASS/. The test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM Bulava from nuclear submarine Yuri Dolgoruky was maximally close to normal operation. This Bulava test-firing also checked a missile early warning system, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters on Thursday.

“The system has operated perfectly. All parameters were confirmed. The warhead hit the pre-calculated area,” he noted.

“Pechersky early missile warning station has detected the target timely. Therefore, the complex check of the missile early warning system was also made,” Borisov added.

Borei-class strategic nuclear-powered submarine Yuri Dolgoruky test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile Bulava at firing range Kura on the Kamchatka Peninsula from the Barents Sea on October 29. The Borei-class submarine cruiser had the full set of 16 missiles on board for the first time, the press service of Russian Defence Ministry told TASS earlier. The test-launch was made from the underwater position. Parameters of the ICBM Bulava flight trajectory were practiced in normal mode.

Borei-class head missile carrier Yuri Dolgoruky was handed over to Russian Navy in early 2013. Each submarine of this class can carry 16 ICBMs Bulava with multiple warheads and a fire range depending on its configuration can reach 11 thousand kilometres. Borei-class submarines armed with ICBMs Bulava are expected to make backbones of Russian marine strategic nuclear forces before 2025 to 2030.



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