Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has told military leaders to put a renewed emphasis on moral behavior across the force following a series of ethical lapses that have included cheating scandals among the Navy and Air Force’s nuclear missions.
The Air Force revealed last month that it was investigating widespread cheating on proficiency tests among nuclear missile launch officers in Montana. The Air Force is also pursuing a drug use investigation.
At the same time, hundreds of soldiers and others are under criminal investigation in what the Army describes as a widespread scheme to take fraudulent payments and kickbacks from a National Guard recruiting program.
“He definitely sees this as a growing problem,” Pentagon Press Secretary Adm. John Kirby said during a press conference Wednesday after Hagel met privately with the top uniformed and civilian officials of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
“He’s concerned about the depth of it,” Kirby said. “I don’t think he could stand here and tell you that he has — that anybody has — the full grasp here, and that’s what worries [Hagel] is that maybe he doesn’t have the full grasp of the depth of the issue, and he wants to better understand it.”
Kirby said Hagel told the military and civilian leaders of the services in a meeting on Wednesday that he wants the issue dealt with more urgently and wants updates on a regular basis.