34 USAF Nuke Officers Implicated in Cheating UPDATE: USAF Releases Disciplinary Actions

Thirty-four nuclear missile officers with the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in the largest single cheating scandal in the USAF's nuclear force.

While investigating reports of narcotics possession, Air Force Office of Special Investigations agents stumbled upon the cheating ring. One officer texted answers to a monthly test for missile launch officers to sixteen other officers. At least seventeen other officers admitted to knowing of the cheating and doing nothing. Two of the thirty-four officers are also implicated in the narcotics possession investigation.

It is unknown if any of the officers charged were supervisors - they were ranks between second lieutenant and captain. According to AirForceTimes.com as of Wed. afternoon 100 officers have been retested and three have failed. All 190 officers are expected to be retested by Thursday.

UPDATE 7/10/2014: The Air Force has released some details of the punishments doled out to those caught or suspected of cheating on the monthly exam given to nuclear missile officers.

70 nuclear officers, a majority of those investigated, received letter of counseling, admonishment, or reprimand. A letter of counseling is widely used in officer training, while a letter of reprimand expresses a much higher degree of official reprimand. A letter of admonishment lies in between. These letters are administrative disciplinary measures, and none is necessarily guilt of any wrongdoing.

Sixteen of the officers have received a non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although a more severe punishment than the letters, this is a less severe punishment than a court-martial. Of the 16, 14 have already been given their final punishment, consisting of forfeiture of pay and/or reprimands. Two officers are still undergoing the Article 15 proceedings. There are an additional five officers that are currently still under investigation by the Air Force Officer of Special Investigations.

In total, about two-thirds of the missile officers in the original cheating scandal have either returned to service or have returned to training.