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View Full Version : 60 MINUTES - THE U.S. AIR FORCE CHEATING SCANDAL



BURAWSKI
04-27-2014, 11:20 PM
Just had a great show on CBS's 60 Minutes, about the Air Force, on the recent cheating scandal. If anyone has a chance to view it, I recommend it highly.

Chief_KO
04-28-2014, 01:35 AM
Did they report on the Tater Tots??
I saw the promo for it, something along the lines of "Americas's Secret Nuclear Force"...didn't know it was a secret, and if it is (was) it's not a secret now.
I am really, really, really, really disappointed at the quality of news reports on the US military (all networks). So many errors, misstatements...heck they can't even get someone's rank correct.

I stopped watching 60 Minutes about 17-18 years ago. It was a report by Leslie Stahl on the military supply system. I remember she was in a warehouse somewhere where the Army was storing thousands of hospital cots, hospital gowns, & body bags. Her point was the "waste" of having items we would never have the need for...

Gonzo432
04-28-2014, 01:52 AM
Did they report on the Tater Tots??
I saw the promo for it, something along the lines of "Americas's Secret Nuclear Force"...didn't know it was a secret, and if it is (was) it's not a secret now.
I am really, really, really, really disappointed at the quality of news reports on the US military (all networks). So many errors, misstatements...heck they can't even get someone's rank correct.

I stopped watching 60 Minutes about 17-18 years ago. It was a report by Leslie Stahl on the military supply system. I remember she was in a warehouse somewhere where the Army was storing thousands of hospital cots, hospital gowns, & body bags. Her point was the "waste" of having items we would never have the need for...
Tater tots??? OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!
Seriously, I quit watching 60 Minutes in 94 or 95. They asked the Army and the Brookings Institute about the needs of the Air Force. Pllleeeeaaaaassssssse!!!

BURAWSKI
04-28-2014, 02:04 AM
Tater tots??? OH THE HUMANITY!!!!!
Seriously, I quit watching 60 Minutes in 94 or 95. They asked the Army and the Brookings Institute about the needs of the Air Force. Pllleeeeaaaaassssssse!!!

Actually, this one seemed a bit different. Of course the Air Force wants to put their best spin on it but the documentary did acknowledge the morale problem. Maybe if the public hears more about what their tax dollars are being spent on there will be some positive changes. It seems obvious to me that change won't come from within. Also, I wouldn't try to place all of the blame on the reporters for inaccuracies, after all, look where they are getting their info from. It wouldn't surprise me if they all had to be cleared through public affairs first.

LogDog
04-28-2014, 02:39 AM
Did they report on the Tater Tots??
I saw the promo for it, something along the lines of "Americas's Secret Nuclear Force"...didn't know it was a secret, and if it is (was) it's not a secret now.
I am really, really, really, really disappointed at the quality of news reports on the US military (all networks). So many errors, misstatements...heck they can't even get someone's rank correct.

I stopped watching 60 Minutes about 17-18 years ago. It was a report by Leslie Stahl on the military supply system. I remember she was in a warehouse somewhere where the Army was storing thousands of hospital cots, hospital gowns, & body bags. Her point was the "waste" of having items we would never have the need for...
I remember that report and from what I remember about it most of those items were in excess of AF needs and just sitting there waiting to be used. As for medical items, up until the late 80s and early 90s, most of the medical supplies were received from one of three depots in the U.S.. That meant the order to receive time would be anywhere from three to seven days and overseas it was longer. In Europe in the 80s, the Army had a medical depot to support the Army. The AF, for some unknown reason, didn't want their USAFE bases to use it except in an emergency and thought their bases could get better support from the States. It wasn't until the early 90s that USAFE bases were finally allowed to use the Army depot.

It was also in the early 90s when the AF finally moved from massive medical depots and implemented Prime Vendor contracts essentially eliminating the stateside depots, except for specific wartime items. The order to receipt time stateside went from three to seven days to one to three days. The Prime Vendor contracts also reduced/eliminated the need for investing in backup stocks in hospital warehouses. The hospitals/clinics would have enough supplies on-hand to most requirements for three days of normal operations.

LogDog
04-28-2014, 02:45 AM
Actually, this one seemed a bit different. Of course the Air Force wants to put their best spin on it but the documentary did acknowledge the morale problem. Maybe if the public hears more about what their tax dollars are being spent on there will be some positive changes. It seems obvious to me that change won't come from within. Also, I wouldn't try to place all of the blame on the reporters for inaccuracies, after all, look where they are getting their info from. It wouldn't surprise me if they all had to be cleared through public affairs first.
I just watched the report and I was surprised to see some of their computers were using 8 inch floppy disks. For some of the younger forum posters, this is what the 8 inch floppy disk looked thirty years ago.

http://oldcomputers.net/pics/floppy8.gif

ChiefB
04-28-2014, 06:56 AM
A flagrant example of a senior officer trying to be cute on one of national television's most revered news magazine and a platform known for its investigative reporting, AKA 60 Minutes, went something like this: Paraphrasing. Q. "How many personnel were involved in the cheating scandal? A. "Only one percent of assigned personnel." Q. "But, weren't those involved only of the missile launch crews?" A. "Yes" Q. "Well, of just the missile launch crews, how many were involved?"
A. "20%". (Shock in interviewers face.)

The explanation of AF's intent to now "pass/fail" the crews "but, still require 90% as minimum passing score to make it less intimidating and deter the officers from having to seek 100% to be promotable" (paraphrased) will make the civilian mind explode. (It did for the interviewer.)

Examples of AF shoddy maintenance, support and equipment: A multi-ton blast door propped open (and had been for months) and unable to be closed because of a mechanical malfunction. (active silo). ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

Launch control officers, in an operational, on alert silo using phones that had frayed cords where internal wires were visible and electrical tape dangling from a lame fix on that same phone. ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

Scenes of water penetration resulting in rusty silo hallways and decrepit, rust streaked operational launch silos. ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

As mentioned earlier, a computer operation still using large floppy discs was observed and when commented on as being archaic, was countered with words such as "we have had the system evaluated and the obsolete nature of the system, not being connected to the Internet but only internal to the AF, etc., has been deemed a security advantage, but we plan an upgrade, soon."

I don't think the program met it's goal of countering the news barrage of late on AF dropping the ball in the ICBM court.

The American public, at large will not be impressed with this report, regardless of AF's desire to be "open" and more "transparent".

Also, the 3rd and forth shoes in this kabuki dance have yet to fall, IMHO.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-28-2014, 12:46 PM
A flagrant example of a senior officer trying to be cute on one of national television's most revered news magazine and a platform known for its investigative reporting, AKA 60 Minutes, went something like this: Paraphrasing. Q. "How many personnel were involved in the cheating scandal? A. "Only one percent of assigned personnel." Q. "But, weren't those involved only of the missile launch crews?" A. "Yes" Q. "Well, of just the missile launch crews, how many were involved?"
A. "20%". (Shock in interviewers face.)

The explanation of AF's intent to now "pass/fail" the crews "but, still require 90% as minimum passing score to make it less intimidating and deter the officers from having to seek 100% to be promotable" (paraphrased) will make the civilian mind explode. (It did for the interviewer.)

Examples of AF shoddy maintenance, support and equipment: A multi-ton blast door propped open (and had been for months) and unable to be closed because of a mechanical malfunction. (active silo). ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

Launch control officers, in an operational, on alert silo using phones that had frayed cords where internal wires were visible and electrical tape dangling from a lame fix on that same phone. ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

Scenes of water penetration resulting in rusty silo hallways and decrepit, rust streaked operational launch silos. ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

As mentioned earlier, a computer operation still using large floppy discs was observed and when commented on as being archaic, was countered with words such as "we have had the system evaluated and the obsolete nature of the system, not being connected to the Internet but only internal to the AF, etc., has been deemed a security advantage, but we plan an upgrade, soon."

I don't think the program met it's goal of countering the news barrage of late on AF dropping the ball in the ICBM court.

The American public, at large will not be impressed with this report, regardless of AF's desire to be "open" and more "transparent".

Also, the 3rd and forth shoes in this kabuki dance have yet to fall, IMHO.

Oh, the phone is ringing again in our pre-selected dog & pony show missile silo. Please exit the area so we can show the public how serious we are about security.

TomTom093
04-29-2014, 12:28 AM
Link for those that couldn't view the broadcast: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/whos-minding-the-nuclear-weapons/

TomTom093
04-29-2014, 01:10 AM
A great question the reporter asked was do we still need the land based missile force? I honestly don't think so, but I want to know what everyone else thinks

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-29-2014, 01:14 AM
A great question the reporter asked was do we still need the land based missile force? I honestly don't think so, but I want to know what everyone else thinks

I say bring back the "Peacekeeper" missile, which carried three warheads. I also say we launch them against "undesirable" countries.

Chief_KO
04-29-2014, 01:24 AM
A great question the reporter asked was do we still need the land based missile force? I honestly don't think so, but I want to know what everyone else thinks

"Need" is certainly a word with many levels of meaning. A big part of "defense" is matching your enemy tit-for-tat, and of course a multi-layered strategy is much stronger than a single one. Since the advent of nuclear warfare it has only been used twice.

Interesting story: This past summer a couple of former Soviet missile launch officers were visiting the South Dakota Air & Space Museum outside of Ellsworth AFB. One of the displays is of a missile launch facility. One of the volunteers (a former USAF missile launch officer) was giving the tour. One of the Soviet officers asked him if he would have turned his key if so ordered; to which he responded "Your GD right I would". After few seconds of silence, the Soviet officer said "I would have as well." Both men then shook each other's hands.

Now that it's no longer U.S. vs them (singular them), I think we are in much more precarious position since it's no longer MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) we fear. Now we fear some psychotic lunatic(s) bent on hitting us at our weakest and most vulnerable place.

BURAWSKI
04-29-2014, 01:49 AM
What really surprised me was those 8 inch floppy disks! I had no idea the system they are using is so archaic. The lack of prioritization in fixing equipment also bothered me, and tells a bigger story of just how little missile launch officers are valued. The CBS episode didn't expound much on the morale problem, but it was obvious, and you could tell by the officers that were interviewed that they weren't happy but trying to make the best of a bad situation. The general didn't seem very convincing to me either. I think taxpayers need to ask if it is really worth spending $350 billion dollars or more over the next 10 years to upgrade on a fixed land-based system designed specifically for the Cold War (and which has been over since 1991) and that might be better handled by the other 2 parts of the nuclear triad instead. Is anyone but me the only one asking this question?

OtisRNeedleman
04-29-2014, 02:32 AM
A great question the reporter asked was do we still need the land based missile force? I honestly don't think so, but I want to know what everyone else thinks

Yes, but I would put them on trains, maybe even on barges. Mighty hard to target.

Chief_KO
04-29-2014, 02:50 AM
What really surprised me was those 8 inch floppy disks! I had no idea the system they are using is so archaic.

I never worked in that world, but we used some of that equipment as training vehicles in tech school. Given the multiple levels of redundancy, the nuclear hardening, etc. the systems are not "archaic" in that regards. Yes, compared to any IT system since 1970 they are archaic. But, what's on those floppies is just a little bit of data, not huge graphic files, etc. It is an extremely well designed system, fully functional, and perfect for the mission.

Frayed cords, rust, leaks, etc. are epidemic of poor leadership involvement. No doubt all the PowerPoint presentations built above ground are things of beauty with great graphics, full range of colors, etc.

Chief_KO
04-29-2014, 02:50 AM
Yes, but I would put them on trains, maybe even on barges. Mighty hard to target.

Wasn't that the MX missile from Reagan's days?

retiredAFcivvy
04-29-2014, 02:58 AM
Wasn't that the MX missile from Reagan's days?
Wasn't there a lot of negative publicity about the possibility of having a nuke traveling through your town? Not sure if it was the MX but your probably right.

BURAWSKI
04-29-2014, 03:15 AM
I think I remember hearing about a lot of security concerns too (i.e., ambush attack, crashes, ect.).

LogDog
04-29-2014, 05:30 PM
Yes, but I would put them on trains, maybe even on barges. Mighty hard to target.
The problem with a rail-based missile system is you'd have to have 24-hour control/security on the tracks the missile trains would operate on. It would be easy to sabotage a small rail section to thwart movement of a missile and make it vulnerable to attack.

A barge system would have much the same problems as a rail system in that they'd be vulnerable to attack. In addition, a barge would be limited in it's movements due to tide, speed of the barge to move from one location to another, storms, as well as attacks by boats or submarines.

LogDog
04-29-2014, 05:33 PM
Wasn't there a lot of negative publicity about the possibility of having a nuke traveling through your town? Not sure if it was the MX but your probably right.
There was a lot of negativity from this mainly because people were afraid of a nuclear accident happening in their community.

OtisRNeedleman
04-29-2014, 09:53 PM
I never worked in that world, but we used some of that equipment as training vehicles in tech school. Given the multiple levels of redundancy, the nuclear hardening, etc. the systems are not "archaic" in that regards. Yes, compared to any IT system since 1970 they are archaic. But, what's on those floppies is just a little bit of data, not huge graphic files, etc. It is an extremely well designed system, fully functional, and perfect for the mission.

Frayed cords, rust, leaks, etc. are epidemic of poor leadership involvement. No doubt all the PowerPoint presentations built above ground are things of beauty with great graphics, full range of colors, etc.

Where are they getting the floppies?

Far as the frayed cords, rust, leaks, etc. go agree this is a problem of the lack of leadership. Might be wrong but even without replacing the entire telephone system buying new phones can't cost that much. And I just don't understand why commanders who were pushing so hard for perfection before they were canned would allow rusty facilities - rust doesn't usually happen overnight.

Chief_KO
04-29-2014, 10:13 PM
8" floppies are still "popular" in industrial systems. I can't remember what data files we used in tech school (1998), but they were quite small. The data speed is also slow, but again we are talking about very small computer words, not large graphic, audio, or video files so it is all very relative when one says archaic. But the morale kill to bring a new Airmen into the lab to learn computer networking only to see the "sea foam green" painted & nuclear hardened equipment. And not too many were "keen" to the idea of possibly maintaining this equipment later...
I haven't seen the 60 Mins episode yet, but those frayed cords also violate EMSEC (emissions security) and should have been identified and replaced under the TMAP program (I forget what the acronym is).

Funny story...back in 98 we were still teaching a hard drive system (disk packs) that acutally had to manually park the heads. The sole source of supply for disks (bigger than a 33 RPM record), the disk spindles, the heads, etc. was some guy in Florida who bought the whole lot in a DRMO sale. Each time we had to get new parts he raised the price. New course came on line in 2000 that put him out of business.

Measure Man
04-29-2014, 10:30 PM
A flagrant example of a senior officer trying to be cute on one of national television's most revered news magazine and a platform known for its investigative reporting, AKA 60 Minutes, went something like this: Paraphrasing. Q. "How many personnel were involved in the cheating scandal? A. "Only one percent of assigned personnel." Q. "But, weren't those involved only of the missile launch crews?" A. "Yes" Q. "Well, of just the missile launch crews, how many were involved?"
A. "20%". (Shock in interviewers face.)

I was listening on the radio so didn't get to see any reaction...but, yeah...quite the zinger. He even had to admit that 20% is a high number.


The explanation of AF's intent to now "pass/fail" the crews "but, still require 90% as minimum passing score to make it less intimidating and deter the officers from having to seek 100% to be promotable" (paraphrased) will make the civilian mind explode. (It did for the interviewer.)

From what I gathered, the passing score had always been 90%...but if you didn't get a 100%, you passed, but you were scum. Sounds like they just changed it to 90% is good enough, no extra points or rubs for 100%. Pass/Fail.


Examples of AF shoddy maintenance, support and equipment: A multi-ton blast door propped open (and had been for months) and unable to be closed because of a mechanical malfunction. (active silo). ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

Launch control officers, in an operational, on alert silo using phones that had frayed cords where internal wires were visible and electrical tape dangling from a lame fix on that same phone. ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

Scenes of water penetration resulting in rusty silo hallways and decrepit, rust streaked operational launch silos. ...Smacked of a deliberate demo.

As mentioned earlier, a computer operation still using large floppy discs was observed and when commented on as being archaic, was countered with words such as "we have had the system evaluated and the obsolete nature of the system, not being connected to the Internet but only internal to the AF, etc., has been deemed a security advantage, but we plan an upgrade, soon."

From my SAC days, I remember the nukes always having the oldest, shittiest equipment. The explanation we got was that it had proved reliability over time and was able to get "certified" for the nuclear mission. The newest equipment never had enough reliability data to be certified for use with nukes.


I don't think the program met it's goal of countering the news barrage of late on AF dropping the ball in the ICBM court.

The American public, at large will not be impressed with this report, regardless of AF's desire to be "open" and more "transparent".

Also, the 3rd and forth shoes in this kabuki dance have yet to fall, IMHO.

Maybe more leather jackets...

BURAWSKI
04-30-2014, 12:22 AM
During the helicopter ride I heard Leslie Stahl ask the Colonel if the missiles had armed nuclear warheads on them and the Colonel said that they do. I was surprised to hear this because when I worked on a Guided Missile Cruiser we were told to never confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons. The regulations were pretty clear, but this was the Navy in the late 70's early 80's time frame, so maybe the standards have relaxed a bit since then. Still, it doesn't seem like a good idea to confirm the presence of nuclear weapons, even if it is obvious.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
04-30-2014, 01:59 AM
During the helicopter ride I heard Leslie Stahl ask the Colonel if the missiles had armed nuclear warheads on them and the Colonel said that they do. I was surprised to hear this because when I worked on a Guided Missile Cruiser we were told to never confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons. The regulations were pretty clear, but this was the Navy in the late 70's early 80's time frame, so maybe the standards have relaxed a bit since then. Still, it doesn't seem like a good idea to confirm the presence of nuclear weapons, even if it is obvious.

What harm will it do to confirm the presence of nukes at a highly secure silo that our potential adversaries are well aware of? Does the admission put the silo at risk of being overrun by a mob of Islamist zealots running across the plains of Wyoming?

Chief_KO
04-30-2014, 02:33 AM
I don't think the presence of nuclear warheads atop the strategic missile fleet has ever been a secret. Now, the exact number, payload, target(s) may be another story.

ChiefB
05-01-2014, 03:31 AM
I was listening on the radio so didn't get to see any reaction...but, yeah...quite the zinger. He even had to admit that 20% is a high number.

Yeah...Duh!


From what I gathered, the passing score had always been 90%...but if you didn't get a 100%, you passed, but you were scum. Sounds like they just changed it to 90% is good enough, no extra points or rubs for 100%. Pass/Fail.

Righto... but I do not think that was at all clear to most naïve civilians watching the program.


From my SAC days, I remember the nukes always having the oldest, shittiest equipment. The explanation we got was that it had proved reliability over time and was able to get "certified" for the nuclear mission. The newest equipment never had enough reliability data to be certified for use with nukes.

Result of Mother AF taking her eyes off the Nuke "Enterprise".


Maybe more leather jackets...

Now, that's radical.:applouse:

ChiefB
05-01-2014, 04:19 AM
During the helicopter ride I heard Leslie Stahl ask the Colonel if the missiles had armed nuclear warheads on them and the Colonel said that they do. I was surprised to hear this because when I worked on a Guided Missile Cruiser we were told to never confirm nor deny the presence of nuclear weapons. The regulations were pretty clear, but this was the Navy in the late 70's early 80's time frame, so maybe the standards have relaxed a bit since then. Still, it doesn't seem like a good idea to confirm the presence of nuclear weapons, even if it is obvious.

If the question was put that way and his answer was as you wrote it, he was wrong and showed his lack of knowledge of the subject and a semantics conundrum.

The weapons are not armed until last stage reentry.

The correct answer is... the alert missiles contain/are loaded with nuclear warheads, that cannot be armed until after valid, authenticated execution by the POTUS, period.

The Colonel's answer lends itself to Armageddon theory and suspicions of possible accidental/intentional nuclear detonation while the weapon is on site/in silo. Both unmitigated balderdash.

John Jameson
05-04-2014, 03:15 PM
I just watched the segments online. I have to admit I was amused to see Jack on the hot seat and I took pleasure in his discomfort. I'll bet his staff was/is hatin' life after that experience...

BURAWSKI
05-04-2014, 04:21 PM
If the question was put that way and his answer was as you wrote it, he was wrong and showed his lack of knowledge of the subject and a semantics conundrum.

The weapons are not armed until last stage reentry.

The correct answer is... the alert missiles contain/are loaded with nuclear warheads, that cannot be armed until after valid, authenticated execution by the POTUS, period.

The Colonel's answer lends itself to Armageddon theory and suspicions of possible accidental/intentional nuclear detonation while the weapon is on site/in silo. Both unmitigated balderdash.

I heard the conversation right. She asked him if a specific missile was "armed" with a nuclear warhead, and his reply, "It is". Now it could be that the way the segment was edited in that particular piece to make it sound more dramatic than it actually is, but that was the way it came out. The Colonel may have prefaced the comment with additional info but I didn't hear it. At first I thought that the Colonel was a public affairs type, but that wasn't the case. BTW, he was Colonel Carl Jones:

http://www.warren.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=16978

ChiefB
05-04-2014, 06:16 PM
I heard the conversation right. She asked him if a specific missile was "armed" with a nuclear warhead, and his reply, "It is". Now it could be that the way the segment was edited in that particular piece to make it sound more dramatic than it actually is, but that was the way it came out. The Colonel may have prefaced the comment with additional info but I didn't hear it. At first I thought that the Colonel was a public affairs type, but that wasn't the case. BTW, he was Colonel Carl Jones:

http://www.warren.af.mil/library/biographies/bio.asp?id=16978

I believed you Ski. 60 Min has a rep for asking simple questions that when asked tend to not reflect the serious thought given to the formation of the question. 60 Min asked a disarming question and got the typical quick, not well thought out answer of one so disarmed.