The Air Force Scandal That Just Won’t Go Away

The timeline of the alleged cheating has stretched from two months to two years.

National Journal
March 27, 2014, 12:23 p.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
AVOIDS SHUTDOWN WITH A FEW HOURS TO SPARE
Trump Signs Border Deal
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump signed a sweeping spending bill Friday afternoon, averting another partial government shutdown. The action came after Trump had declared a national emergency in a move designed to circumvent Congress and build additional barriers at the southern border, where he said the United States faces 'an invasion of our country.'"

Source:
REDIRECTS $8 BILLION
Trump Declares National Emergency
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency on the southern border and immediately direct $8 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of a border barrier. The move — which is sure to invite vigorous legal challenges from activists and government officials — comes after Trump failed to get the $5.7 billion he was seeking from lawmakers. Instead, Trump agreed to sign a deal that included just $1.375 for border security."

Source:
COULD SOW DIVISION AMONG REPUBLICANS
House Will Condemn Emergency Declaration
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"House Democrats are gearing up to pass a joint resolution disapproving of President Trump’s emergency declaration to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move that will force Senate Republicans to vote on a contentious issue that divides their party. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Thursday evening in an interview with The Washington Post that the House would take up the resolution in the coming days or weeks. The measure is expected to easily clear the Democratic-led House, and because it would be privileged, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be forced to put the resolution to a vote that he could lose."

Source:
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, DRUG FORFEITURE FUND
Where Will the Emergency Money Come From?
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

"ABC News has learned the president plans to announce on Friday his intention to spend about $8 billion on the border wall with a mix of spending from Congressional appropriations approved Thursday night, executive action and an emergency declaration. A senior White House official familiar with the plan told ABC News that $1.375 billion would come from the spending bill Congress passed Thursday; $600 million would come from the Treasury Department's drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion would come from the Pentagon's drug interdiction program; and through an emergency declaration: $3.5 billion from the Pentagon's military construction budget."

Source:
TRUMP SAYS HE WILL SIGN
House Passes Funding Deal
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed a massive border and budget bill that would avert a shutdown and keep the government funded through the end of September. The Senate passed the measure earlier Thursday. The bill provides $1.375 billion for fences, far short of the $5.7 billion President Trump had demanded to fund steel walls. But the president says he will sign the legislation, and instead seek to fund his border wall by declaring a national emergency."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login