Thursday, June 05, 2008

Air Force 'Top Guns' Resign

The Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Wynne resigned today. Also asked to resign was Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley, after disagreements erupted over the handling of nuclear weapons. The resignations were called for as a result of policy decisions made during the 'mistakenly' loaded and 'lost,' missiles aboard a B-52 flight from Minot AFB N. Dakota to Barksdale AFB Louisiana last August.
The stunning development follows a series of high-profile scandals and disagreements between Air Force leadership and Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the past year, during which both the Pentagon and congressional leadership have increasingly expressed frustration about the Air Force’s top bosses.

The last straw appears to be a report on nuclear weapons handling by Navy Adm. Kirkland Donald, director of naval nuclear propulsion. The critical report convinced Gates that changes must be made.
The disagreements between Moseley and Wynne with the Pentagon and Sec. of Defense Gates, bring into question if the resignees will become whistle blowers. What I glean from several reports, it's hard to tell whether the firings are over incompetence by Moseley and Wynne, or their dissension from Pentagon plans. Former Secretary James Roche also resigned under a cloud of controversy over leasing contracts 3 years ago. Good to know the boys with their toys have things so well in hand.


Cujo359 said...

I'm going to go with "it's the incompetence", at least for now. The NYT writes:
[begin quote]
The inquiry involving the Air Force was an effort to determine how four high-tech electrical nosecone fuses for Minuteman nuclear warheads were sent to Taiwan in place of helicopter batteries. The mistake was discovered in March — a year and a half after the erroneous shipment.

Most troubling, the senior Pentagon official said, was that little had been done to improve the security of the nuclear weapons infrastructure after it was disclosed last year that the Air Force unknowingly let a B-52 bomber fly across the United States carrying six armed nuclear cruise missiles.
[end quote]

It looks to me like some house-cleaning is in order. How many times does this sort of thing happen? I don't recall very many incidents from the Cold War times. Might be that the Air Force is getting a bit sloppy with how it handles nukes. Even if that's just a perception based on a coincidence, it's going to be a perception in other places besides mine.

Cujo359 said...

Oops. Here's the NYT article.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Having been in the USAF and having an active duty mate, the incompetence brand is a good fit. What red-flags me about the loose nukes is the MANY safeguards through numerous hands in which they must pass before getting airborne. That incident smacks of an order from on-high with perhaps some incompetence. Only the Wizard Cheney knows fer sure.

Naj said...

I hope the incompetence is the real issue; but I also hope these generals do blow a few whistles to exonerate themselves of the charges of incompetence ... Dick Cheney's too deadly quiet and I fear he's cooking pooh!

Pandabonium said...

There is an interesting article on Wired about this which details procurement battles which may be the real reason for for the shake up. Gates doesn't want the F-22 and there is also a beef over use of remotely piloted vehicles and who should control them. (linked above)

Cujo359 said...

I'd say it comes down to this, Pandabonium: who is more likely to get fired, an incompetent the boss argues with constantly, or an incompetent he gets along with? Sometimes hostility just helps one see things more clearly.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

Thanks tons Panda for the Wired linky...many good links from the article. The bit about Predator crews being overworked is true. There are many AFSC's too many demands are made upon. USAF doctors are among those who are overworked. Meanwhile, many other air force jobs see too little work and are at a constant under-performing idle.

The USAF is indeed in need of a makeover.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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