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AETC commander: Changes coming to nuclear missile officer training

Feb. 20, 2014 - 01:34PM   |  
Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, said AETC is reviewing how it trains missileers in light of the recent cheating scandal.
Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, said AETC is reviewing how it trains missileers in light of the recent cheating scandal. (Senior Airman John D. Partlow/Air Force)
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ORLANDO — The Air Force will make changes to how it trains its nuclear missileers in light of a widespread cheating scandal, the head of the Air Education and Training Command said Thursday.

“This isn’t just Air Force Global Strike Command’s problem,” Gen. Robin Rand told reporters at the Air Force Association’s Air Warfare Symposium. “I take it very seriously. Every officer that’s in the missile career field was trained by who? Air Education and Training Command.”

Rand said AETC is already reviewing how it trains missileers in light of the cheating scandal, that has entangled 92 officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., and sidelined almost one-fifth of the entire intercontinental ballistic missile officer corps.

“Any time there’s challenges in the Air Force, it behooves us to look at what we’re doing at the entry levels, at the pipelines,” Rand said.

But Rand said that before AETC can prepare specific training reforms, the Defense Department must first finish its sweeping review of the intercontinental ballistic missile force, and Air Force Secretary Deborah James and Global Strike Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson must understand its findings.

“This is a corporate decision, and the views of every command are included,” Rand said. “We rely on the major commands for their feedback. I need to wait for Gen. Wilson to absorb what he needs to absorb, and he needs to come to me with suggestions or changes.”

AETC would probably be able to enact some changes quickly, Rand said, but others would take some time.

Rand also said that roughly 20 months have now gone by since a sexual misconduct report against a military training instructor. His predecessor, Gen. Edward Rice, said last September that 15 months had passed without a report, which he hoped was a sign that changes begun in the wake of a sex scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland were working. Rand said that he knew of no new reports since Rice’s September statement.

All the changes to address sexual misconduct now have either been completed or are on their way to being completed, Rand said.

“We’re real close to being where we want to be,” Rand said. “The budget is not stopping us from making these changes. That’s how high a priority it is for our Air Force.”

Those changes include:

■ Infrastructure changes, including changes to where security cameras are located. Rand said that is mostly done.

■ Increasing the percentage of MTIs who are women. Rand said about 23 percent of MTIs are now women, but he wants that to be 25 percent.

■ Increase the number of MTIs so each flight of trainees has two instructors. Rand said AETC is “darn close to getting there.”

■ Each training squadron now has a chief master sergeant to increase enlisted supervision.

■ Each squadron now has a flight commander to increase supervision of officers.

AETC said that there are still two MTIs under investigation, and one court-martial pending.

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