9 Air Force Officers Fired in Nuclear Missile Cheating Scandal

U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash

AA Font size + Print

The commander of the nuclear missile wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana also stepped down after a massive cheating scandal. By Jordain Carney

The fallout from an Air Force cheating scandal continues to spread, and now a significant portion of the leadership at a Montana nuclear base is getting sacked.

Nine officers in leadership positions were recommended for removal and are being reassigned, with Air Force Col. Robert Stanley, who oversees the missile crew, resigning, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Thursday.

The officials weren’t involved in the reported cheating, but James says “they failed to provide adequate oversight of their crew force.”

And though Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Force, couldn’t give the specific number of leadership positions at the Montana base, he said the removals represent a “significant portion” of the chain of command.

The duo announced in late January that 92 missilers—almost half—at the base were being investigated for alleged cheating on a monthly proficiency test, or for knowing about the cheating. James said Thursday that that number had grown to 100 missileers. So far nine have been cleared by investigators.

The alleged cheating also went on significantly longer than the two-month period officials originally reported, with the investigation suggesting that cheating could have started as early as November 2011 and could have continued until November 2013.

But officials remain confident after conducting an investigation across the country’s three nuclear missile bases that the cheating is only tied to the Montana base.

The Air Force’s investigation pointed to four crew members “at the center” of the cheating scandal in which test answers were reportedly shared via cellphone. Three of those four are also tied to an investigation into illegal drug use.

James and Wilson stressed that they remain confident in the nuclear-missile crew, but they are instituting a series of reforms in the wake of the far-reaching scandal including revamping testing procedures; looking at ways to redirect funding to improve readiness and quality of life for the nuclear missile crew; and reforming the crew force’s culture.

If one person had spoken up this could have been very different, and so that’s why we’re really focusing on what integrity means,” James said.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    Download
  • Military Readiness: Ensuring Readiness with Analytic Insight

    To determine military readiness, decision makers in defense organizations must develop an understanding of complex inter-relationships among readiness variables. For example, how will an anticipated change in a readiness input really impact readiness at the unit level and, equally important, how will it impact readiness outside of the unit? Learn how to form a more sophisticated and accurate understanding of readiness and make decisions in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    Download
  • Information Operations: Retaking the High Ground

    Today's threats are fluent in rapidly evolving areas of the Internet, especially social media. Learn how military organizations can secure an advantage in this developing arena.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.