The investigation found that some officers were electronically sharing answers on a monthly proficiency test, the
The officers either cheated on the test or knew about it and did nothing to stop or report it, Air Force Secretary
"This is absolutely unacceptable behavior, and it is completely contrary to our core values in the
The stunning revelations are certain to raise questions about the discipline and focus of the military's nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force, which during the Cold War was at the heart of America's defenses.
"That mission remains critically important," said Gen.
Welsh and James said the system, which uses elaborate procedures to control the launch of intercontinental ballistic missiles, remains sound.
"Based on everything I know today, I have great confidence in the security and the effectiveness of our ICBM force," James said. "This was a failure of some of our airmen. It was not a failure of the nuclear mission."
James said there are checks and balances built into the system that ensure the system would not be compromised.
The cheating ring was uncovered during an investigation into drug use among
Subsequently, an additional 17 officers admitted to at least being aware of the information being shared.
The 34 implicated in the scandal have lost their certification, and their clearances have been suspended. The
"Cheating or tolerating others who cheat runs counter to everything we believe in," Welsh said.
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