Basic training flaws An Air Force investigation triggered by a sex scandal at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland found

a number of flaws in the way basic training is run. Among other things, the report found: A disconnected command culture There was too much distance between commanders, superintendents, and first-line supervisors. Barriers “at nearly every level” limited the flow of information about instructor misconduct, the report said. “Instead of the organizational culture being driven from the top down,” it went on, “we observed examples of leaders essentially insulated from, rather than engaged in, the daily training environment.” Trainers work long days Training instructors often leave home before 3 a.m. and work until 9 p.m., six days a week. “A persistent shortage of (training instructor) manpower further exacerbates the long hours and constant pressures,” the report said. The long hours can stress out trainers and their families, with spouses often not asking for help because it could reflect badly on the instructor and hurt his or her career. Lack of leadership oversight In basic training, witnesses said there was a lack of oversight by unit leadership – a critical element in detecting and deterring misconduct, and something needed to encourage reporting by victims and witnesses. “Not only did this lack of oversight prevent detection and deterrence,” the report stated, “it also created the impression that leadership did not care.” ‘Leadership gap’ made things worse Operations officers were removed from the training squadrons between fiscal years 2007 and 2009, leaving just one officer to supervise a squadron of up to 1,000 noncommissioned officers (NCO) and airmen. “We believe this is part of a (basic military training) ‘leadership gap’ that should be filled as soon as possible,” the report said. Punishment was inconsistent The investigation found that instructor supervisors often were too lenient in some misconduct cases. The appearance of punishment that seemed inconsistent with the severity of misconduct cause people to think that “unprofessional behavior would be tolerated by at least some in authority,” the report said. Misplaced loyalties Because of the apparent leniency of instructor supervisors in certain misconduct cases, trainers “felt isolated and often developed an allegiance to their fellow instructors that was stronger than their allegiance to Air Force core values.” Cliques contributed to misconduct The investigation found that in some training squadrons “instructor supervisors allowed cliques to form and loyalties became misplaced.” It went on to say, “When these instructor supervisors turn a blind eye or are involved in misconduct themselves, as is alleged against (redacted) , it creates an environment where misconduct occurs.” Reliance on a ‘culture of fear’ Rather than work from what the report called “a culture of respect” to lead trainees, instructors “relied too heavily on a culture of fear.” Airmen testifying in the trials of instructors this year have said the trainers constantly threatened them with being “washed back,” or not graduating on time. In some cases, instructors even dressed down new trainers in front of airmen in training. Immature, inexperienced instructors Some training instructors were found to have been too immature and inexperienced to serve in their jobs, which give them great power over trainees. Interviews found that some instructors didn’t have the experience needed to serve as mentors and had little or no experience as supervisors. Misconduct appeared to be tolerated Faculty and staff said the combination of reporting barriers and poor detection methods helped create a culture where misconduct appeared to be tolerated by leadership. “This also created an environment where trainees were fearful of reporting instances of sexual assault, sexual harassment, unprofessional relationships, maltreatment, and maltraining because they were afraid of MTI reprisal, were fearful of punishment for their own misconduct, and in some cases, did not believe action would be taken against a perpetrator.” SOURCE: Air Force commander-directed investigation