The Pentagon said Thursday it has disciplined 17 more generals and colonels including the commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base because of an incident where Hill mistakenly shipped nose cone assemblies for nuclear missiles to Taiwan instead of the helicopter batteries it had ordered.
"We cannot ignore the breaches of trust that have occurred on their watch," said acting Air Force Secretary Michael Donley at a Pentagon briefing.
Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates also ousted the Air Force's top military leader and top civilian leader former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynn for failing to fully address a series of nuclear-related missteps, including the mistaken shipment.
The new Air Force chief of staff, Gen. Norman Schwartz, said that overseeing nuclear missions "demands adherence to the highest standards of precision and reliability. Today we are taking action in response to a breakdown to adherence to those standards."
Discipline ranging from minor admonishment to serious reprimands was announced against six Air Force generals and nine colonels that Donley said "can carry with them substantial consequences for the careers of these officers, including their potential to command, to be promoted or to retire in their current grade."
Several of them, including four of the six Air Force generals punished, are retiring.
The two who are remaining including Maj. Gen. Kathleen D. Close, commander of the Ogden Air Logistics Center have what Schwartz said are "unique skills and capacity to serve."
But Schwartz said, "They certainly are on notice that there is no room for error here, and should they abuse this trust, it won't take but a millisecond to react."
The Army, meanwhile, said it disciplined two brigadier generals who worked at the Defense Logistics Agency and were in charge of the military's 26 shipping centers.
Army spokesman Paul Boyce said that while neither officer was directly responsible for the shipping error, they had not fully corrected problems in the supply system that had been identified in earlier audits.
Schwartz said the Air Force officers involved mostly worked in logistics. "They are not accused of intentional wrongdoing, but they did not do enough to carry out their leadership responsibilities for nuclear oversight. For that, they must be held accountable."
The Air Force generals who were disciplined, besides Close (who received a letter of admonishment), were:
• Lt. Gen. Kevin J. Sullivan, deputy chief of staff for logistics, who received a letter of reprimand and is retiring.
• Lt. Gen. Michael A. Hamel, commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center. He received a letter of admonishment and had already planned to retire.
• Maj. Gen. Roger W. Burg, commander of 20th Air Force, who received a letter of admonishment. He will remain in his current job to correct problems.
• Brig. Gen. Francis M. Bruno, director of logistics for Air Force Materiel Command. He received a letter of admonishment and was already retiring.
• Brig. Gen. Arthur B. Cameron III, was commander of the 309th Maintenance Wing. He received a letter of admonishment and had already been reassigned.
The Army generals are:
• Brig. Gen. Lynn A. Collyar, who commanded the Defense Distribution Center from August 2006 to June 2008.
• Brig. Gen. Michael J. Lally III, who commanded the center from August 2004 to August 2006.
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