One-Third of Missileers Implicated in Cheating Scandal Back in Training

Global Security Newswire Staff
May 5, 2014, 7:43 a.m.

Roughly one-third of the nuc­le­ar-mis­sile of­ficers who were im­plic­ated in a test-cheat­ing scan­dal at a Montana base are now back in train­ing.

20th Air Force head Maj. Gen. Jack Wein­stein told the Great Falls Tribune that each of the 91 so-called “mis­sileers” im­plic­ated in the cheat­ing probe were as­sessed by their squad­ron heads to de­cide wheth­er they should be per­mit­ted to re­sume train­ing again. Not all of the air­men act­ively par­ti­cip­ated in the test-cheat­ing; some knew of the mis­con­duct but failed to re­port it.

“The com­mand­er be­lieves they should have an­oth­er chance to show they have in­teg­rity,” said Wein­stein, whose di­vi­sion over­see’s all Air Force land-based Minute­man 3 mis­siles.

Malmstrom Air Force Base of­fi­cials un­covered a large-scale cheat­ing op­er­a­tion on routine cer­ti­fic­a­tion ex­ams last year dur­ing a sep­ar­ate drug pos­ses­sion in­vest­ig­a­tion at the Montana in­stall­a­tion. The en­su­ing probe by the Air Force led to a num­ber of an­nounced re­forms in the man­age­ment of the nuc­le­ar-mis­sile of­ficer corps, in­clud­ing in the way they are graded on their pro­fi­ciency tests. The Air Force also fired nine mid-level of­ficers at Malmstrom for fail­ing to ad­equately su­per­vise the ju­ni­or of­ficers in­volved in the cheat­ing.

Wein­stein said oth­er planned re­forms are aimed at smooth­ing out the way the in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­sile force in­ter­acts with oth­er Air Force branches.

The ma­jor gen­er­al said many of the mor­ale is­sues with­in the mis­sileer ranks can be “totally re­lated to the way we were mi­cro-man­aging them.”

The Air Force has also au­thor­ized a num­ber of budget ex­pendit­ures aimed at im­prov­ing the qual­ity of life of the young Malmstrom mis­sile of­ficers who must spend lonely, 24-hour-long shifts be­neath the ground man­ning the Minute­man 3 launch sta­tions. Among the im­prove­ments in­clude new kit­chen ap­pli­ances, bet­ter ex­er­cise equip­ment and new lock­ers, beds and com­puter chairs at the launch sta­tions.

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