Trouble inside the Air Force’s nuclear missile force runs deeper and wider than officials have let on.
An unpublished study for the Air Force, obtained by The Associated Press, cites “burnout” among launch officers with their fingers on the triggers of 450 weapons of mass destruction. Also, evidence of broader behavioral issues across the intercontinental ballistic missile force, including sexual assaults and domestic violence.
The study, provided to the AP in draft form, says that court-martial rates in the nuclear missile force in 2011 and 2012 were more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. Administrative punishments, such as written reprimands for rules violations and other misbehavior, also were higher in those years.
These indicators add a new dimension to an emerging picture of malaise and worse inside the ICBM force, an arm of the Air Force with a proud heritage but an uncertain future.
Remote and rarely seen, the ICBM force gets little public attention. The AP, however, this year has documented a string of missteps that call into question the management of a force that demands strict obedience to procedures.
Based on confidential small-group discussions last winter with about 100 launch officers, security forces, missile maintenance workers and others who work in the missile fields – – plus responses to confidential questionnaires — RAND found low job satisfaction and workers distressed by staff shortages, equipment flaws and what they felt were stifling management tactics.
It also found what it termed “burnout.”
Full article: Troubles with U.S. nuclear missile program run deep (CBS News)