On February 3, 2014, a Sailor assigned to the Moored Training Ship (MTS 626) at the Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU) in Charleston, South Carolina reported that an examination key was compromised. The exam key that was compromised was for one of the staff certification exams for one of eleven watch station positions at one of the two Moored Training Ships on the Charleston site.
In response to the initial report, Admiral John Richardson, Director, Naval Reactors, executed a comprehensive plan consisting of four major lines of action:
– Initiated an immediate assessment to verify that the reactors were being operated safely. This was confirmed by an independent examination of all personnel at the site. At no time was there any question of reactor safety;
– Initiated an inquiry regarding the climate in the NNPP, with a special focus on training sites in Charleston, SC and in Schenectady, NY. This effort will involve a thorough review of all areas of the Program, including pressures on leadership, training, work life balance, and schedules. This inquiry will determine ways to enhance ethical conduct and eliminate obstacles to moral behavior;
– Initiated an effort to implement best practices in exam security across the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP). These best practices enact stronger administrative and technological controls to improve the preparation, security, and administration of training and qualification exams;
– Appointed Rear Admiral Ken M. Perry, Commander, Submarine Group Two, to lead a JAGMAN investigation into misconduct at the NPTU.
The recommendations of the investigation into command climate matters are being adopted for implementation across the NNPP. These actions are in progress. These measures will involve a renewed and deliberate command focus on the matter of enhancing ethical behavior across the Program and will include new training on ethics and integrity, and a specific command focus and reporting requirement of actions to enhance the ethical climate of their commands. Those measures that have broader application to the Navy will be provided to the Navy Leadership and Ethics Center in Newport, RI for consideration for broader application.
With respect to exam security, several measures have been taken, and others are still in progress, to clarify the acceptable methods of studying for exams and conducting training and qualification programs including the preparation, security and administration of exams,
With respect to the specific misconduct at the NPTU in Charleston, SC, in response to the findings of the JAGMAN investigation, 69 Sailors received a hearing at Admiral’s mast. 34 Sailors were found to have cheated and assisted others to cheat. These personnel were administratively removed from the NNPP, had their Security Clearances revoked, and are being processed for administrative separation from the U.S. Naval service.
10 additional personnel remain under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). The great majority of the 16,000 nuclear-trained Sailors perform their duties every day, across the world, with the highest standards of honor, courage and commitment. As a result of this incident, the NNPP has identified a number of areas that will further improve the ethical strength of the Program and the Navy.