Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the entire nuclear enterprise, following allegations of cheating and drug use among Air Force launch control officers, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Thursday. “Secretary Hagel has made it clear there is no mission more vital to our national security than that of strategic nuclear deterrence,” Kirby said. “He has called it a ‘no-fail’ mission.” On Thursdsay, Hagel also issued a memo to senior members at the Pentagon, as well as those in the Air Force and Navy, giving them 60 days to implement an action plan, said Kirby. Specifically, the plan should “examine the underlying leadership and management principles governing the strategic deterrence enterprise and the healf of the culture that implements those principles; identify successful personnel management practices within the strategic deterrence enterprise; identify key gaps and/or problems concerning the growth and development of the personnel within the nuclear enterprise; identify remedies for any gaps or problems; and direct action to rapidly implement identified remedies and any other required actions,” states the Jan. 23 release. “Finally, the Secretary is calling an independent review to conduct a broader examination of the strategic deterrence enterprise as it relates to personnel,” said Kirby. That review is to be completed “no later than 90 days after it starts,” said Kirby, who added he expects that to be “within the next couple of weeks.” (Kirby transcript)(See also Cheating at Malmstrom)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.