Surprise, This is SecDef

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made a few surprise phone calls to six officers pulling alert duty at the 341st Missile Wing’s launch control centers at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., as he flew back to Washington, D.C., from the Munich Security Conference. “Secretary Hagel asked how I felt about everything that’s going on and I told him the workload has increased and it’s hard to see friends involved,” said 1st Lt. Jordan Seibert, a 12th Missile Squadron combat crew commander. “It was really humbling, and it showed that our mission was on his mind.” The “candid conversations” lasted about an hour, according to a Feb. 1 Defense Department release. “I was able to express to him personally that I feel optimistic about potential changes in how we’re tested,” said Capt. Adam Ross, a 409th MS missile combat crew commander. “More importantly, I’m optimistic about how we can find new ways to interpret the results of our testing.” Hagel has ordered an independent review of the entire nuclear enterprise following allegations of cheating on a nuclear proficiency exam at Malmstrom. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said 92 Malmstrom-based missileers have been implicated in the cheating scandal. She said the investigation is nearly complete.