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Washington:US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagelhas ordered a wide-ranging review of America's nuclear forcestructure following a cheating scandal in proficiency exam involving 34 officers at the inter-continental missilelaunch of the Global Strike Command."Hagel believes it is time for the Department of Defenseas a whole to place renewed emphasis on examining the healthof the nuclear force, in particular those issues that affectthe morale, professionalism, performance, and leadership ofthe people who make up that force," Pentagon Press Secretary,Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters at a news conference.The review is expected to be completed in 90 days afterits starts, he said."Hagel has made it clear there is no mission more vitalto our national security than that of strategic nucleardeterrence.He has called it a no-fail mission," Kirby said.Kirby said though Hagel recognises that the majority ofmen and women who perform this mission do so honorably andwith great pride, a series of individual failures such asthose recently witnessed give him pause."To the degree there are systemic problems in thetraining and professional standards of the nuclear careerfield, the secretary wants them solved. To the degree thereare gaps in our understanding or implementation of thosestandards, he wants them closed.And to the degree leadershave failed in their duties, he wants them held to account,"the Press Secretary said.Responding to questions, Kirby said the country's nucleararsenals are safe."I can assure American people that in the security of thenuclear arsenal for this country, the physical infrastructurethat supports it, the protection of it, and, frankly, writlarge, we're confident in the professionalism of the majorityof the force," he said."That said, we've got some issues here. At the very minimum, there are some individuals inside the ICBM force thatdon't or aren't willing to live up to those standards. Hewants this review panel to look at not just the ICBM force --this is why he's bringing in an independent review to look notjust at the ICBM force, but the whole nuclear force," he said.That cheating scandal was uncovered during an unrelatedinvestigation into a US Air Force drug ring involving 10officers at six military bases.Two nuclear launch control officers at Malmstrom AirForce Base in Montana were said to be targeted in the probe.PTI

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