US Defence Secretary Aims to Tackle Cheating and Drug Scandals in Nuclear Forces


The US Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, is ordering top military officials to review the nation’s nuclear force after alleged drug possession and cheating by Air Force officers. Hagel has made it clear that there is no mission more important to national security than strategic nuclear deterrence.

Last week, the Air Force suspended 34 officers in charge of launching nuclear missiles for allegedly cheating or tolerating cheating on a proficiency test. It was discovered in a separate investigation into charges of drug possession by officers at a Montana Air Force base. There have also been reports of low morale and boredom among airmen, and an Air Force General was fired last year for getting drunk while in Russia for a nuclear exercise.

Hagel believes it is time to put renewed emphasis on examining the health of the nuclear force, and particularly those issues that affect morale, professionalism, performance and leadership of the people who make up that force.

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