Second Military Branch Facing Cheating Scandal

Navy officials said they became aware of the alleged infractions on Monday.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert on Thursday testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said budget pressures make him very concerned about a funding shortfall for the SSBN(X) Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine effort.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
Feb. 4, 2014, 11:55 a.m.

The Navy is in­vest­ig­at­ing al­leged cheat­ing among staff mem­bers at its nuc­le­ar train­ing school in Char­le­ston, S.C., of­fi­cials said Tues­day.

The al­leged cheat­ing was on a writ­ten pro­fi­ciency ex­am at one of the Navy’s nuc­le­ar-train­ing com­mands, said Adm. Jonath­an Green­ert, chief of nav­al op­er­a­tions. The writ­ten ex­am is one sev­er­al tests a staff mem­ber must take to qual­i­fy, in­clud­ing passing an or­al aca­dem­ic board and a prac­tic­al ex­am.

“To say that I’m dis­ap­poin­ted would be an un­der­state­ment,” Green­ert said, adding that the oth­er ele­ments re­quired to qual­i­fy “ap­pear to be val­id” based on cur­rent in­form­a­tion.

All per­son­nel im­plic­ated in the cheat­ing have been tem­por­ar­ily re­moved, said Adm. John Richard­son, the dir­ect­or of the Nav­al Nuc­le­ar Propul­sion Pro­gram, adding that all per­son­nel are be­ing re­tested.

Of­fi­cials were aler­ted Monday of the al­leged cheat­ing. In ad­di­tion to the in­vest­ig­a­tion that is un­der­way, Richard­son said that a five-per­son team “will re­view past as­sess­ments to make sure we did not have a broad­er prob­lem with this com­mand.”

It’s un­clear how many are cur­rently im­plic­ated in the al­leged cheat­ing, and of­fi­cials were hes­it­ant to pin down a num­ber. Richard­son es­tim­ated that in total it in­volved less than 1 per­cent of the 16,000 in­volved in the Navy’s nuc­le­ar pro­gram.

He ad­ded that “less than 20” is a “ball­park fig­ure,” but of­fi­cials later cat­egor­ized the num­ber of those po­ten­tially in­volved could be between 16 and 160.

Staff mem­bers went through the qual­i­fic­a­tion as stu­dents, and of­fi­cials es­tim­ated that it was likely their third time to qual­i­fy.

“We see no evid­ence of com­prom­ises to­ward the stu­dents, at this point,” Richard­son said.

The Navy is the second branch of the mil­it­ary to have is­sues with cheat­ing in re­cent months. Ninety-two mem­bers of an Air Force nuc­le­ar-mis­sile crew at a base in Montana are be­ing tied to a grow­ing cheat­ing scan­dal, Air Force of­fi­cials said last week.

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