30 Days and Counting

We’ll know in 30 days whose heads will roll—if anyone’s—in the affair of ICBM parts shipped to Taiwan, cited by Defense Secretary Robert Gates as the “trigger” for removing USAF’s top uniformed and civilian officials in June. That’s the word from Acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, sitting before the Senate Armed Services Committee for his confirmation hearing July 22. Donley said he has set in motion a review of personnel involved in the incident and will “address action” to be taken in a month. He noted that disciplinary action has already been taken in the matter of the mistaken shipment of nuclear cruise missiles from Minot AFB, N.D., to Barksdale AFB, La. In the as-yet-released report on the Taiwan incident, the Navy’s top nuclear official, Adm. Kirkland Donald, apparently devoted all of Chapter Seven to recommending disciplinary actions. Committee members have seen Chapter Seven, and so has Donley, but Gen. Norton Schwartz, also testifying (see above), has not. Although Gates, in reaming Donley and Schwartz’s predecessors, said Mike Wynne and Gen. Michael Moseley hadn’t addressed apparent laxness in the nuclear mission, Donley said they had taken “over 100” corrective actions before he took the seat as Acting Secretary.