News / USA

Top Commanders Take Fall for Cheating at US Nuclear Base

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, finish their statements before taking questions during a news conference at the Pentagon, March 27, 2014
Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, finish their statements before taking questions during a news conference at the Pentagon, March 27, 2014
— Nine top officers at one of the premier nuclear missile bases in the United States are being stripped of their duties while another has resigned, as the result of a cheating scandal regarding training tests.  

Following its investigation, the Air Force came down hard on senior leaders at Malmstrom Air Force Base in the U.S. state of Montana, even though none was directly tied to the scandal.

“Nine officers in leadership positions at Malmstrom were recommended for removal.  One officer submitted his resignation and will retire,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

The officers fired include the commanders of three missile squadrons that are each responsible for 50 nuclear missiles.  The commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom, Colonel Robert Stanley, is the officer stepping down.

The head of the Air Force's Global Strike Command, Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson, says they bear responsibility for an environment that allowed cheating to flourish.

“There’s been an unhealthy overemphasis on perfection and a marked fear of failure which kept airmen from identifying their weaknesses and working to correct them,” he said.

Military investigators blame the scandal on a group of lower level officers gone bad.  Three of them were implicated in an illegal drug investigation that first uncovered evidence of the cheating.

Wilson says the subsequent investigation showed as many as 100 lower grade officers involved - either actively cheating on the training tests or having knowledge of the cheating and not speaking up.

“These were all bright officers, and as we’ve said before, none of these needed the information to pass the test.  They felt compelled to cheat to get a perfect score,” said Wilson.

As many of 40 officers will be eligible to return to duty.  The others could face a range of penalties, including court-martial.  

U.S. military officials insist that despite “systemic” problems of low morale and micromanagement at all of the country’s missile bases, their investigation did not turn up any evidence of cheating outside of Malmstrom.

Jeff Seldin

Jeff works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters covering a wide variety of subjects, from the nature of the growing terror threat in Northern Africa to China’s crackdown on Tibet and the struggle over immigration reform in the United States. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jseldin or on Google Plus.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid