Nuke Cheating Scandal?


An avid DT reader tipped us off to this disgruntled bubblehead's post over at The Daily Beast.  Here's an excerpt:

During my on-board training, while I studied more than 70 hours per week, my fellow officers regularly warned me, “Don’t let knowledge stand in the way of your qualifications.” They urged me not to, “learn too much… just check the box and get qualified.” But when my exam arrived, it seemed impossibly difficult. I failed miserably, despite having made a very serious five-month long effort to pass.

My fellow officers were surprised by my failure, and wondered aloud why I hadn’t used the “study guide.” When my second exam arrived, so did the so-called study guide, which happened to be the answer key for the nuclear qualification exam I was taking. I was furious. Defiantly, I handed back the answer key to the proctor and proceeded to take the exam on my own. I failed again. My boss, the ship’s engineer officer, started to document my failures with formal counseling so that he could fire me.

The most competent junior officer on our ship ran to my rescue, confiding that none of the other officers had passed the exam legitimately; the exam was just an administrative check-off. “Swallow your pride,” he told me, and just get it done.

The ship’s engineer and executive officer didn’t believe me when I complained of the cheating, and swept my allegations under the rug. It took me five attempts before I finally passed the "basic" qualification exam. Unbeknownst to me, senior members of my crew even went so far as to falsify my exam scores in order to avoid unwanted attention from the headquarters. But strangely, the exam was anything but basic. The expectations on paper were astronomically high compared to the banal reality of how our ship actually worked.

Now my formative years at USNA were shaped by the spectre of Hyman Rickover (still alive at the time) and his insistence that we all major in mechanical engineering (I went poli sci) and his intense interviews of nuke power candidates (both willing and unwilling).  Rumors ran rampant about how he'd lock people in closets when he didn't like their answers and force them to call their fiancees to call off the wedding.  And the nuke power officers who were on the staff all seemed to be scary smart and unwilling to do anything but follow the regs to the letter.  This vibe as much as anything ultimately drove me toward the aviation community.

So imagine my surprise with this article.  This is the sort of conduct the sub guys smugly attributed to the rest of the fleet.  I actually  like 'em better now.  But fellas, just don't have any reactor scrams or plow into civilian shipping or accidently toss an ICBM into Russia while you're focusing on the "study guides," okay?

The article also brings up the issue of submarine force relevance in a COIN-focused battlespace to which I say NO DUH.  But as you've seen in recent DT posts and associated discussions, while we figure out how to keep AQ and the Taliban in check, we'd also better keep our eyes on the western Pacific.

Read the entire article here.

(Gouge: JJ)

-- Ward

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