Image Copyright: Charles Dharapak / AP
By Robert Burns
Copyright: The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Air Force fired nine mid-level nuclear commanders Thursday and will discipline dozens of junior officers at a nuclear missile base in response to an exam-cheating scandal that spanned a far longer period than originally reported.
Air Force officials called the moves unprecedented in the history of the intercontinental ballistic missile force, which has been rocked by a string of security lapses over the past year, including a failed safety and security inspection last summer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., where the cheating happened.
In a bid to correct root causes of the missile corps’ failings — including low morale and weak management — the Air Force also announced a series of new or expanded programs to improve leadership development, to modernize the three ICBM bases and to reinforce “core values” including integrity.