Hagel 'deeply concerned' about health of US nuclear forces

By REUTERS
January 25, 2014 01:07




WASHINGTON- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Friday he was "deeply concerned," over the health of U.S. nuclear forces after the drug and cheating scandals this month, and that some nuclear officers felt their mission was taken for granted during 13 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hagel, who ordered a high-level review of nuclear forces on Thursday, told a news conference that the problems affecting missile launch officers were caused by a range of factors.

"There's no one issue here ... this is cultural," Hagel told reporters, pointing to the physical isolation of the force, the pressure to meet exacting standards through regular testing and an incentive structure that may need improvement.

Over the past three weeks, an investigation has uncovered illegal drug possession among some missile launch officers as well as cheating on a proficiency exam that resulted in the suspension of 34 people and the retesting of the entire force.


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