Wide-spread cheating on tests among the Navy’s nuclear officers was the latest in a long line of ethics scandals that have included a military sex abuse prevention officer running his own on-base prostitution ring, and an Air Force General sacked in December for “drunken antics” in Moscow.
The Pentagon is finally coming to terms with the fact that it’s got a mounting problem of unethical behavior, but beyond massive reports forwarded to the top brass and subsequently ignored, they seem completely lost on what to do about it.
“I don’t think there is one simple answer,” insisted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who went on to say that the Pentagon was willing to “hold people accountable if necessary” but only once it had a handle on the entire situation.
There doesn’t seem to be much chance of that happening, as Hagel is planning to appoint a single “ethical adviser” for the entire Pentagon and is waiting for a committee he appointed to give him some sort of “action plan.”
The chances aren’t promising of either of those yielding much, as a 2008 blue-ribbon panel investigation made recommendations, but they were all classified and if they were even attempted, they clearly didn’t help. The Navy tried their own investigation in 2011 after another test cheating scandal, but let the matter drop almost immediately, sacking the captain but again not solving the underlying problem.