Defense

November 15, 2013

U.S. Air Force to scrutinize nuclear candidates

The U.S. Air Force has decided it must “add more vigor” to its screening of candidates for senior nuclear command, adding closer looks at health records and Internet searches for potentially damaging personal information about candidates who also have long military careers, the Air Force’s top general said Nov. 13.

Gen. Mark Welsh, the Air Force chief of staff, told reporters that the change was initiated as the Air Force searched for a successor to Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, who was fired in October as commander of 20th Air Force, which is responsible for all 450 of the Air Force’s Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles. Carey was fired for behavior that officials have said is linked to alcohol abuse.

Until now the selection process had focused on a candidate’s professional background, including job skills and prior assignments. Using that approach “someone would quickly (emerge as) the obvious choice,” Welsh said.

“Just assuming an obvious choice in this business is probably dangerous,” he added. “So let’s take a little bit deeper look.”

Welsh said the hiring process for Air Force nuclear commanders will now include a more intensive checking of candidates, to include a review of potential personal health issues, both physical and mental.

“As a result of our recent relief of one of our nuclear commanders we have changed our hiring process,” he said, referring to Carey. “We will now do a prescreening that is a little more intensive than we’ve done before.” He said the Air Force previously did this kind of screening only after a candidate had been nominated.

The review will include a Google search, a simple task that hadn’t been done before.

“What pops up when you type somebody’s name into Google?” Welsh said. “It might be worth knowing that before you nominate somebody for a key job. Some of this is common sense.”

The removal of Carey and a Navy admiral for alleged misconduct related to gambling came amid a series of disclosures by The Associated Press about security and leadership lapses, morale problems, training flaws, and an assertion by one midlevel nuclear officer that he had found “rot” inside his nuclear missile unit at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

Air Force and Pentagon officials insist that despite these issues, the nation’s nuclear arsenal is being operated and maintained safely.

Carey remains under investigation for alleged misbehavior that the Air Force has declined to specify but that officials have said is linked to alcohol use. In his first public comment on the Carey matter, Welsh said Carey admitted to him that he had engaged in an “embarrassing period of behavior” while on a business trip.

Welsh said the closer scrutiny of generals in the running for jobs such as Carey’s has nothing to do with Carey’s job performance. He praised Carey’s service record but said he had stumbled in a way that could not be tolerated.

He said Carey told him, “I’ve embarrassed myself, my Air Force, I’m sorry.”

Within the nuclear Air Force there are three senior command positions. One is in charge of the Minuteman 3 missiles as head of 20th Air Force, another is responsible for the nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bomber fleet as head of 8th Air Force, and a third oversees both the bombers and the missiles as head of Global Strike Command.

The other segment of the U.S. nuclear force is run by the Navy with its fleet of nuclear-armed Trident submarines.

After being removed as commander of 20th Air Force, Carey was shifted to an unspecified job at Air Force Space Command, which has no responsibility for nuclear weapons, pending the completion of an investigation into his alleged misconduct. His interim replacement at 20th Air Force is Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein.

Carey was fired two days after the sacking of a senior Navy admiral who was second-in-command at U.S. Strategic Command, which is the military’s nuclear war-fighting organization. Vice Adm. Tim Giardina was relieved of duty and demoted to two-star rank but remains in the Navy pending the outcome of a probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service that is centered on allegations related to gambling.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Army photograph by David Vergun

Senior leaders explain Army’s drawdown plan

Army photograph by David Vergun No commander is happy when notified that a soldier from his or her command has been identified for early separation. But commanders personally notify those Soldiers and ensure participation in th...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom

F-35 Rollout Marks U.S.-Australia Partnership Milestone

Lockheed Martin photograph by Beth Groom Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal Geoff Brown delivers his remarks at the roll out ceremony for Australia’s first F-35. The official rollout of the first two F-35 Lightning II...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 

 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika

AOC integral to Red Flag 14-3 operations

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of the Air and Space Operations Center work during Red Flag 14-3 operations July 22, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Armed with personnel from intelligence and communicati...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>