As 'fresh eyes,' James targeted nuke missile ills

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Deborah Lee James had no inkling a nuclear crisis was brewing when she became top boss of the Air Force seven months ago.

But once it erupted in the form of exam-cheating by dozens of nuclear missile launch officers, she quickly announced conclusions that no Air Force leader before her had dared state publicly. She said the nuclear missile corps' problems run deep, morale is "spotty" and forceful fixes are needed.

James reached those conclusions in January after a short visit to the three Air Force bases that operate intercontinental ballistic missiles.

She told The Associated Press in an interview Friday that she met with commanders and rank-and-file personnel, and came away believing the trouble was broader and deeper than cheating on exams by launch officers.

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