Cheating Scope Widens

The number of airmen implicated in a cheating scandal that has rocked the nuclear force in recent weeks has “roughly doubled,” reported the Associated Press via the Great Falls Tribune. However, it’s not clear if the 30-plus additional airmen now included in the probe actually cheated on a nuclear proficiency exam or if they were indirectly involved, such as knowing of the cheating but not reporting it, according to the report. Thirty-four missile launch officers assigned to the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., initially were suspended in mid-January after news of the cheating first broke. “The number of officers under investigation has increased as [the Office of Special Investigations] has explored their leads,” Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley told the Daily Report. “However, to protect the integrity of the investigation, specific numbers will not be shared until the investigation is complete.” US Strategic Command boss Adm. Cecil Haney ordered the entire ICBM community to retake the nuclear proficiency exam after the cheating was discovered, but it’s not clear if any of the airmen now implicated in the probe cheated on the retake test. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who has since ordered an independent review of the entire nuclear enterprise, has vowed to restore confidence in the military’s nuclear mission. (See also A Systemic Problem)