by Kari Eakins – 30 Jun ’14
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says inadequate resources and undermanning combined with micromanagement and a zero-defect culture are to blame for low morale among the nation’s land-based nuclear missile bases. The civilian head of the Air Force visited F.E. Warren Air Force Base on Monday to see if changes being implemented have been effective and announce new support for the intercontinental ballistic missile force.
Secretary James said the nuclear mission is their No. 1 mission and that they’re putting their money where their mouth is by adding $50 million to the fiscal year 2014 budget and another $350 million over the next five years for improvements in facilities, maintenance and equipment as well as incentives and bonuses.
“We’re beginning to put more and more resources into our three key nuclear bases and this will go to a variety of issues,” said Secretary James. “Another area that we discovered was inadequate was the manpower levels, so we’ve decided we’re going to redirect 1,100 additional people to go tour the nuclear force and this will bring up, to 100% manning, eight critical career areas.”
Global Strike Command has been implementing a Force Improvement Program after a cheating scandal at Malmstom Air Force Base unearthed low morale and leadership issues at nuclear bases. Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, head of Global Strike Command said many of the issues had to do with the fact that airman were afraid any little mistake could end their career and that someone was always looking over their shoulder.
“In the past, an airman that was doing a duty, would feel that he couldn’t do any action without going to their supervisor or his supervisor’s supervisor, so we had colonels making decisions that really could be made at a much, much lower level,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson. “Now, we’re letting the people doing the job, do the job to the best of their ability.”
Wilson said he believes empowering airmen will allow them to take more pride in their jobs and to do them more effectively.