The Air Force Scandal That Just Won't Go Away

A Malmstrom Air Force Base missile maintenance team removes the upper section of an ICBM at a Montana missile site. A Malmstrom Air Force Base missile maintenance team removes the upper section of an ICBM at a Montana missile site. U.S. Air Force/AP

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.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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