Skip to comments.Air Force brass: Culture of fear led to cheating
Posted on 02/01/2014 3:47:53 AM PST by Timber Rattler
A worrisome culture of fear that made launch officers believe they had to get perfect test scores to be promoted fueled a widening cheating scandal within the military's nuclear missile corps, according to Air Force officials.
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the scandal hasn't affected the safety or reliability of the military's nuclear mission.
All 92 officers nearly 17 percent of the force have been decertified and taken off the job while the scandal is being investigated. That means other launch officers and staff must fill in, performing 10 24-hour shifts per month, instead of the usual eight, Wilson said. Staff members from the 20th Air Force, which oversees all of the nuclear missile force, are also being tapped to do the shifts.
Wilson said all missile launch officers have now been retested, and the average score was about 95 percent. He said 22 failed.
(Excerpt) Read more at stripes.com ...
And by ordering the remaining launch officers to to do two additional 24-hour shifts to fill the gap is simply courting more disaster through epic burnout.
Of interest PING!
Obama administration language, when translated means:
“Global Strike Command is in deep doodoo in general and Malmstrom Air Force Base in particular is so bad, we will probably need to close it down and maybe give to the Canada. Or maybe Iran.
Seemed very odd to me but I was assured by other USAF officers that they were not exaggerating.
The Marine Corps has/had some severe fitness report inflation too but nothing on that scale. The Corps didn't give a fig for fitReps written by other services (unless they were adverse) and considered end of tour awards to be belly lint.
They weren't. You wanted an OER with top marks across the board and an endorsement or two by the highest ranking officers possible.
It's the military's version of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average.
So-called “culture of fear” trumps honesty and integrity. Everyone who has ever taken a test has experienced test anxiety. Those with honesty and integrity tough it out and do their best. Unfortunately, these Air Force officers didn’t and should face the consequences of being dishonest and having no integrity. Losers.
Thanks for the ping.
I feel for the crews pulling ten Alerts per month now. Back in the mid 70’s we had a crew member shortage in the Titan II system and for about three months we pulled 10/0 (ten Alerts and no Backups). With all the extra days of training and testing those three months were tough. Spending what seemed to be an endless number of days down in the complexes was mentally and physically wearing on the crew dogs.
I hope they get some fresh troops into the Wing to help alleviate the crews.
I’ll volunteer to come back and take some shifts. I’m sure not much has changed since I did this back in the 80’s.
It appears from your comment that you are either a current or former Marine officer. While your experience with AF officers may be limited your comments are spot on. For AF officers, and senior NCO’s, promotion is more about how you look than what you accomplish. Don’t get me wrong, I have known and worked with some exceptional AF officers and senior NCO’s but even they have to game the system in order to advance.
You were told the truth.
However, because of the “inflation,” it was very important what was actually written on the OER/OPR.
Because of this, when serving in another service USAF officers were very concerned because the other services didn’t usually inflate the checkmarks on the OER/OPR, therefore they had no true appreciation just how important the narratives were. The other services sometimes tried to take a ‘moral’ stand against perceived USAF inflation and the USAF officer suffered for it.
The checkmarks on the USAF OER/OPR may have been maxed, but we all knew that wasn’t important. What was important was what was said/accomplished.
Promotion boards first checked to make sure all the blocks were maxed, and if not that meant they were not keeping up with their peers and were trashed. That was why maxed check-marks were important. Less than max, trash the OER/OPR. If maxed, then take time to read the narrative.
The narrative was most important—what did he do and how well did he do it? How was this expressed on the evaluation? Was it written well with special phrases and key-words the promotion board would focus on? If yes, go to go. Example: “One of the best officers. . . “ Weak. “Top 20% of my officers. . .” Good. “The best officer in my command” Best.
While a major in another service may be just peachy for other services when it came to signing the top-level of a company-grade OER/OPR, a major in another service usually had many more people under his command than a major in the USAF, probably pretty close to an Air Force O-6. So, at least an O-6 was necessary to survive as it demonstrated keeping up with your peers in the area of responsibility.
I found other servicemen serving on exchange with the USAF were not concerned usually with their EOR/OPR because they knew they would not be inadvertently hosed by a comparatively low OER/OPR.
Majors and Captains in the USAF commonly served alongside each other as Flight Commanders. Therefore, a major signing your OPR as a senior company-grade was like having your peer sign it.
So, as a company grade if you didn’t get a maxed OER/OPR and have it signed by at LEAST an O-6 (your wing commander), then they were toast because you were not keeping up with your peers.
That is why, IMHO, the CBPO toads got the promotions (enlisted) over the guys on the line, as they knew the system.
For officers, it was a different game. See my previous post.
Unfortunately, “results” has trumped “integrity” for a long time. Since the liberals have succeeded in stifling Christianity amongst the military leaders things like this have simply become more conspicuous.
Example: One of the best officers. . . Weak. Top 20% of my officers. . . Good. The best officer in my command Best.
Col Lord at F.E. Warren AFB once called in all of his Group and Squadron Commanders and asked “how the hell can you have more than one “best (fill in duty title)?”
This is false crisis, there are no nukes left to arm missiles. The One has turned them all into plow shares. If Hitlery were to announce the number of nuclear weapons today, the answer would be zerO.
While running a section in a maintenance complex, I wrote an EPR on a young lady who failed and retested for her upgrade training end of course test (she passed the second time). I marked her down one block under training based on the verbage on the block as was appropriate. Her EPR was an overall 5 with one minor mark-down. As she progressed, she received two additional EPRs and they were “fire-wall 5s.”
Later, I transferred to a different unit and assumed a branch chief position. She also transferred and worked for one of my NCOs. She received relocation orders so I worked with her supervisor and we wrote an AF Achievement Medal package.
A certain Chief kicked it back all because her first EPR wasn't “perfect.” I went over his head, fought tooth and nail and pushed it through.
That's one of the primary reasons for Performance Report rating inflation.
The Marine Corps has its own version of inflation, so I can’t sneer at my AF comrades in arms. In our case, if an officer didn’t get all “outstandings” in all the blocks it was considered a “kiss of death” fit rep for promotion. Worse, we adopted the army’s command screening system, so we have had several generations of risk-averse pretty boys moving up while the talented innovators lost out. Chesty Puller wouldn’t make it in today’s Marine Corps.
I accepted what my two AF Captains told me and got them senior folks to sign their fit reps. They were in good shape.
It’s good that you supported the AF officers on the level of endorsement for their performance reports. I would assume that they were good officers and worthy of promotion. Its not their fault the system is the way it is. But it is important to understand how the system works in order to advance up the ladder. I knew many NCO’s who were clueless on what they needed to do in order to get promotion. I told them that they were the NCO’s I wanted to compete against for promotion.
During the last few years I spent in the USAF, my performance reports started having phrases like “#3 of 17” in them. That sort of ranking pretty well kills the ‘best’ rating. I don’t know what goes on now, but my impression from the outside is that the military has gone to hell since Obama took office. I’m glad to say my retirement date was 1 Oct 2008, before that POS bastard was elected!
I honestly never cared who signed my OPR. I worked at the OPRs of the folks under me and ignored my own. Maybe that contributed to my retiring as an O-5, but I suspect it had more to do with being a liaison officer with the Army during a drawdown & switching aircraft types frequently - and being a WSO instead of a pilot.
Still, I had fun, was honest and most of my 25 years were good ones.
As for honesty: I met more Marine officers who were liars than I did USAF officers. In my experience, the USAF & Army had the most integrity, the Navy was somewhere below that and the Marines would lie like dogs to save their reputation. That may or may not have been true of performance reports, but it was true on more important things: accident investigations & operational readiness statistics.