Nov. 22, 2013—An unpublished RAND study commissioned
by the Air Force and obtained by the Associated Press found that members of the
nuclear missile force have low job satisfaction and often feel job-related
“burnout,” according to the AP
report published Nov. 20.
three-month study, RAND conducted confidential interviews with some 100 launch
control officers, security forces, missile maintenance workers, and others in
the missile field, states the report.
Hardison, lead author of the study, told the AP participants rated their work
experience on a scale of one to seven—an average of four or more was considered
“burnout.” The 13 launch officers interviewed and 20 junior enlisted airmen
assigned to the missile security forces scored a 4.4, according to the article.
The study also
found that courts-martial in the ICBM force were 129 percent higher than the
Air Force as a whole in 2011, on a per capita basis, and 145 percent higher in
Air Force Global
Strike Command spokesman Lt. Col. John Sheets told the Daily Report the article failed to mention that those percentages
are not only trending down, “in fact, the numbers of non-judicial punishment in
20th Air Force are actually below the Air Force for 2013.”
the study is “useful for commanders.” However, he said it also must be
considered in the context of other studies with larger sample pools, such as
the Unit Climate Assessments (3,500-plus participants), the Air Force Culture
Assessments Safety Tool (7,000-plus participants), as well as senior leader
visits with airmen and commanders.
He said the Air
Force has been “100 percent effective from an operational perspective,” though
he said the ICBM mission can be stressful.
demanding job with demanding standards in a demanding environment,” said
Sheets. However, he noted that, “Morale scores across our missile wings are
actually comparable to the Air Force average, ranging from neutral to fairly
Chief of Staff
Gen. Mark Welsh told the AP there is no evidence of fundamental problems in the
“There are issues like
there are in every other mission area we have in the United States military,
and we deal with the issues as they come up, and we deal with them
aggressively. But, as far as getting the job done, they’re getting the job
done. They do a great job of that every single day,” said Welsh.