Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered two reviews of the nuclear enterprise following allegations of cheating on nuclear-related exams in both the Air Force and the Navy, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Feb. 5. First, the Joint Staff and the staff of the undersecretary for policy are working together on an action plan to identify and fix any systemic personnel problems in the nuclear force, said Kirby. The second review will be led by former Air Force Chief of Staff (Ret.) Gen. Larry Welch and retired Adm. John Harvey, a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer and former commander of Fleet Forces Command. “They will offer their views on the quality and the effectiveness of the action plan, and they’ll also provide their insights and recommendations on addressing any systemic personnel problems in the nuclear force,” he said. Hagel is “deeply troubled” by the various allegations on unethical behavior in the ranks and has vowed to give the issue his “full attention,” said Kirby. “He’s concerned about the health of the force and the health of the strong culture of accountability and responsibility that Americans have come to expect from their military,” added Kirby. (Kirby transcript) (AFPS report) (See also A Systemic Problem)
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.