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Air Force cheating scandal grows to include 92 nuclear missile launch officers

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The U.S. Air Force's nuclear command is reeling news that the Air Force cheating scandal has expanded to include at least 92 nuclear missile launch officers, according to a Jan. 30 Christian Science Monitor report. Blaming a culture of “undue stress and fear,” top Air Force officials say at least 92 officers cheated on monthly proficiency tests in order to get perfect scores and promotions.

According to ABC News, half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officials at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have now been suspended from their duties. Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters Thursday that a recent tour of the Air Force bases led her to conclude that it has “systemic problems.” She noted however, that she remains confident in the Air Force’s ability to carry out its nuclear mission because of all of the checks and balances in place. Assuring peace of mind, James added that the cheating shows a failure of integrity and “not a failure of the mission.”

Both James and Global Strike Command Head Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson insist that the failure of integrity problems have not affected the safety of the military's nuclear mission, and limit the cheating to just the Montana base, the Christian Science Monitor reports. “These tests have taken on, in their eyes, such high importance, that they feel that anything less than 100 could well put their entire career in jeopardy. They have come to believe that these tests are make-it-or-break-it.”

The original Air Force cheating scandal involved 34 officers implicated in the cheating scandal with only 17 having actually cheated. With these new developments, of the 92 suspended officers at Malmstrom, 40 were directly involved in the cheating while the remainder had some knowledge of it.

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