Results of missile officers’ cheating scandal to be released shortly

The results of an investigation of missile officers involved in a test cheating scandal at a Montana base and the completion of a force improvement plan will be released shortly, an Air Force official said this week.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James announced at a news conference at Minot Air Force Base during her visit there and at the two other Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile bases that she was going to “get to the bottom” of the test cheating incident.

She also said she would be developing a plan for changes and improvements, promising it would be in the next weeks.

“The Commander Directed Investigation and Force Improvement Program are complete and the results of the review Secretary James spoke about will be released soon. However, the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) investigation is still ongoing and there are no updates to provide at this time,” said Maj. Toni Whaley, a spokeswoman for Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

Only into her job as Secretary of the Air Force for about a month, James also visited and held news conferences in January at Malmstrom AFB in Montana and F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming.

Ninety-two ICBM missile launch officers at Malmstrom AFB were implicated in the test cheating scandal in January.

Also, nearly a dozen military members in the Air Force nuclear enterprise were involved in illegal drug possession. The drug investigation is being done by the Office of Special Investigations.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced in January the day before he conducted the official swearing-in for James as Air Force secretary that the Defense Department would conduct a review of the U.S. military’s entire nuclear enterprise because of recent allegations regarding the ICBM force. Both the Air Force and Navy are conducting that review.

When Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, the command that oversees the nuclear enterprise, visited Minot AFB in early February, he told members of the Minot Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee that he and other nuclear commanders met with high-level Defense Department officials in Washington, D.C., the week before to discuss the integrity failure by some missile officers.

He said the Force Improvement Program was developed as a field-level initiative to draw on the experiences of airmen at all levels.

Wilson said several teams, made up of people from across the bases and outside bases who are experts in the nuclear enterprise, would be visiting each missile wing starting that month, focusing on young airmen doing their jobs in the nuclear enterprise business. Wilson said the teams would report to him and he would present a comprehensive plan to the secretary of the Air Force and then to the secretary of defense.