Perception and Reality

Responding to press reports on a new RAND survey showing lagging morale among airmen in the ICBM community, Air Force Acting Secretary Eric Fanning said Friday the service has actually been making a great deal of progress in its nuclear operations in the last few years. Fanning, speaking at AFA’s Pacific Air & Space Symposium in Los Angeles, said RAND had put caveats on the report, noting that the sample size was small and RAND’s researchers wanted to do a deeper look at the ICBM corps. Further, taken alongside other more comprehensive looks into the Air Force’s missile force, there is evidence there is improvement occurring, said Fanning. “Perception is lagging reality, I think, in this case,” he said. The long-term question has to do with the maintenance of the triad. Fanning noted that it will be a “very expensive bill” to recapitalize and modernize the triad in total in coming years. However, the Air Force is committed to supporting and modernizing both its ICBM and nuclear-capable bomber forces, he said.