Let's just bend over, put our heads between our legs and kiss our own individual a**es goodbye.
Or have faith and believe that Someone is having mercy on us. Why? Because of what might have happened but didn't.
The Air Force's top civilian and uniformed leaders are being booted out of the Pentagon. Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael "Buzz" Moseley has resigned. Secretary Michael W. Wynne is next.The article outlines the tug-of-war, so to speak, between the general and the SECDEF regarding the mission of USAF--a metaphor for the struggle between the autonomous fighter pilot-driven USAF and the joint and sometimes subordinate role of a new kind of Air Force, a change which some feel is necessary to fight a new type of enemy.
The move, initially reported by Inside Defense and Air Force Times, isn't exactly a shocker. The Air Force has come under fire for everything from mishandling nukes to misleading ad campaigns to missing out on the importance of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Most importantly, the Air Force's leadership has been on the brink of open conflict for months with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England. That's because in the halls of the Air Force's chiefs, the talk has been largely about the threats posed by China and a resurgent Russia. Gates wanted the service to actually focus on the wars at hand, in Iraq and Afghanistan. "For much of the past year I’ve been trying to concentrate the minds and energies of the defense establishment on the current needs and current conflicts," he told the Heritage Foundation. "In short, to ensure that all parts of the Defense Department are, in fact, at war."
However, what got the the general and his civilian counterpart fired...er...asked to resign, wasn't their lack of enthusiasm for the USAF's new role. It was their failure to competently execute an old one--a failure that could have led to catastrophe.
The service inadvertently shipped "four high-tech electrical nosecone fuses for Minuteman nuclear warheads were [t]o Taiwan in place of helicopter batteries. The mistake was discovered in March — a year and a half after the erroneous shipment," The New York Times reports. "The mishandling of the nosecone fuses was viewed as another indication of lack of discipline within America’s nuclear infrastructure, and was another embarrassment for the people in charge of those weapons."Noah Shachtman, the author of the Danger Room post, thinks that the nuclear issue is merely excuse for Gates to get rid of the two. Oh yeah, sure. He isn't really concerned that their lack of attention to their assigned responsibilities might accidentally kill millions of people. /s
Consider this twelve-page .pdf stinging rebuke from Gates (excuse the caps; methinks it was a decision made at the O-6 or higher level) and tell me that Gates is acting:
Rather than an isolated occurrence, the shipment of the four forward section assemblies to Taiwan was symptom of a degradation of the authority, standards of excellence, and technical competence within the nation's ICBM force.Gates goes on to outline the problem areas: lack of standard authority, malfunction of oversight programs and dearth of expertise. To fix the problems, Gates has created an outside senior-level task force to be headed by Dr. James Schlesinger, a SECDEF under Nixon and Reagan and DCI under Nixon.
Similar to the bomber-specific August 2007 Minot/Barksdale nuclear weapons transfer incident, this incident took place within the larger environment of declining Air Force nuclear mission focus and performance. Specifically, the investigation identified systemic issues associated with this decline.
Gates then delivers a final blow:
Individuals in command and leadership positions not only fell short in terms of specific actions, they failed to recognize systematic problems, to address those problems, or--where beyond their authority to act--to call the attention of superiors to those problems. Each had the leadership responsibility to identify and correct--or flag for others--procedural and performance deficiencies identified in just a few weeks time by Admiral [Kirkland H.] Donald.Lots more lesser heads are due to roll. See video of the statement and press conference at Danger Room.
(Thanks to the Donovan and to Iron Mike)
PREVIOUSLY: B-52 Flies With Live Nukes
AFTERTHOUGHT: I think I need a category entitled 'Holy Crap!!!'