The US air force is all set to ensure its personnel are disciplined and act by the book. It has fired two more nuclear commanders and disciplined a third. This move is fresh evidence of leadership lapses in a nuclear missile corps which has suffered many recent setbacks including the removal of its top commander.
The most senior officer, Colonel Carl Jones was relieved of command. Second in Command was also dismissed on Monday for a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership abilities and was reassigned as a special assistant to the wing commander.
Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy “Keith” Brown was relieved of command “because of a loss of confidence in Brown’s ability to lead his squadron”, the air force said. Jimmy was at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota. He was responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 missiles before this move.
Lieutenant Colonel John Sheets – a spokesman for Global Strike Command said an investigation “substantiated that Brown engaged in unlawful discrimination or harassment”. He further added that the probe found that Brown “made statements to subordinates that created a perception within his squadron that pregnancy would negatively affect a woman’s career”.
Jones’s immediate superior, Colonel Tracey Hayes, removed him following an internal investigation that substantiated allegations of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman, and cruelty and maltreatment of a subordinate. The investigation revealed: “In four separate instances Jones acted in a manner that degraded his status as a senior officer and wing leader, including maltreating a subordinate”.
Also at Minot, Colonel Richard Pagliuco, commander of the 91st Operations Group, which is in charge of three missile squadrons including Brown’s, received administrative punishment in the form of a letter on his file for “failing to promote and safeguard the morale, wellbeing and welfare of the airmen under his command”.
It is very unusual for disciplinary action to be taken against commanders at two of the air force’s three nuclear missile bases on the same day. Officials said the timing was a coincidence.
The nuclear missile force has been affected with several problems related to discipline, training, leadership and morale. In February, Chuck Hagel who happens to be the defence secretary set up an independent review that is expected to announce its findings in near time.
Source: The Guardian