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United States The Military

Half of US Nuclear Missile Wing Implicated In Cheating 313

mdsolar writes "Just over half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a widening exam cheating scandal, the Air Force said on Thursday, acknowledging it had 'systemic' problem within its ranks. The cheating was discovered during an investigation into illegal drug possession among airmen, when test answers were found in a text message on one missile launch officer's cell phone. The Air Force initially said 34 officers either knew about the cheating or cheated themselves. But Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told a Pentagon news conference on Thursday that the total number of implicated officers had grown to 92, all of them at Malmstrom, one of three nuclear missile wings overseeing America's 450 inter-continental missiles, or ICBMs."
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Half of US Nuclear Missile Wing Implicated In Cheating

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  • Re: At Least ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 30, 2014 @11:13PM (#46116825)

    least the launch codes aren't 000000 anymore

  • Re:No real surprise (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 31, 2014 @12:46AM (#46117245)

    If they weren't "motivated to excel on the exams," why have half of them been implicated for cheating on those same exams?

    Here's some uncomfortable facts for you to deal with; you created the weapons that could "end life on this planet as we know it," and in charge of those weapons you put cheats, liars and frauds. People who are more interested in their own careers and their exam averages than the inhuman power that they wield. People who are so mind-numbingly corrupt that they have no place in the armed forces, much less at the controls of a system capable of destroying the planet. The income tax that is carved out of your paycheck helped pay for those weapons, they help pay the salaries of the incompetent twats in charge of them. Probably helped pay for the "little grass" they smoked, too.

    Just plug your ears, keep yelling "my vote still matters" at the top of your lungs. It doesn't matter how many "whistleblowers" there are if nobody is listening for the fucking whistle.

  • Re:Re-assigned (Score:5, Informative)

    by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:29AM (#46117451) Homepage Journal

    Why the hell aren't they all being dishonourably discharged and even court-martialed?

    It takes 5 minutes to decertify somebody and pull them from their duties. You can't be 'dishonourably discharged' without a General Court-Martial, which the civilian equivalent is a full up court trial. As such, it takes time to build a case, time to put together a court, time to assemble a jury of equal or higher rank*, time to hold the trial, etc...

    Now complicate it by having to do it by x92. A *busy* base might have 1 general court marshal(overseen by a federal judge) per month. Most only have 1 court room, though I suppose they can set up others ad-hoc, but the rooms can't be too bad or it generates a point to base an appeal on.

    As such, in order to expediently conduct the trials they'd have to ship the offenders to bases all over the country. Finding enough federal judges would be a problem.

    Honestly, I do expect a number of discharges ranging from 'Dishonorable' to 'Other than honorable', even a number of honorable discharges - the military is shrinking so even if the court doesn't find them liable enough for discharge(standards for this are NOT supposed to change year by year), what will happen is that the conviction or article 15 will be a black mark for the 'Quality of Force Review Board' to hook on, forcing them to stand a board and defend themselves as part of a 'whole person' concept, including said black mark, when the board is looking to kick out between 30-70% of those they review.

    Their careers in the military are done, even if it might take a couple years for some to be forced out.

    *Easy for enlisted, not so easy for officers.

  • by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @01:59AM (#46117579)

    You are confusing two separate issues, perhaps intentionally.

    First, the Military _may_ be overstaffed and maybe not. Sure, we could close some remote bases or seek funding from the countries we are there to supposedly protect instead of paying them to be there. But lets not forget that a whole lot of traditional military work has gone to "Contractors" who have almost zero accountability. I'd rather have soldiers sworn to protect the constitution doing that work. Sure, there are always problems and Abu Graib was horrible. That said, at least some people were punished for it. Unlike Blackwater that has done things at least this bad yet noone gets punished. So perhaps the Military is not so much over staffed as they are used improperly and mismanaged.

    The second issue is how promotions work in the Military. If you spent ten years of your life serving and want to continue to retirement you have to make rank. In order to make rank, you have go get points. Those points are nothing simple, and nothing like it exists in the civilian sector that I know of. If your job is a 35R there may be 100 E4 rank jobs, but only 5 jobs at E5 rank, and 1 at E6. If you have spent 12 years serving and can't get E6 in that time you, can't reenlist. Your 12 year investment into a career is gone. And it's not like you get some great civilian job out of 12 years military service. A military mechanic, electrician, etc.. is not considered the same as a civilian and very few of the military certifications count as civilian certifications.

    All 100 of the E4s know that they need points to get rank and if they plan to make the military a career they all do the same things. They all go to airborne school, air assault school, work to shoot well and do well on their PT tests. It's little things like these BS tests and ass kissing that get the next rank and let a person continue at their desired career.

    Seems like you know jack about the Military on the surface, so I'll point out another huge difference between civilian jobs and military. In the civilian world you can change jobs when ever the hell you want. In the Military you can't do this, you have to serve out your term. This means reserve time after active duty whether you want it or not, in addition to your active time. People that volunteer for a second term have given up a hell of a lot to protect you and your way of life. An attitude like yours ensures that we get shit people in the military, not people who care to do a good job. Considering the true purpose of their job, you don't really don't want shitty people (there even though you may try and claim otherwise).

    FYI I am a vet and lived the life. I worked in DOD for 10 years and another 20 in the civilian sector. I can speak to both sides from an educated perspective.

  • Re: At Least ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @02:13AM (#46117643)
    They never were. That was actually the code for what essentially amounted to a superfluous lock on the devices. There were still multiple layers of security, physical and otherwise, that prevented any kind of unauthorized use of, or access to, nuclear weapons. The idea that someone, armed with the code 0000000, could have done anything sinister with regard to nuclear weapons is beyond laughable and is well into the realm of nutjob conspiracy theories.
  • Re:No real surprise (Score:4, Informative)

    by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Friday January 31, 2014 @02:20AM (#46117685) Homepage

    The same way that Fukushima's reactors did.

    Nuclear reactors don't cool down for weeks after they stop producing power. During this time they need outside electric to cool the core. This particular sub was in dock, likely with the core shut down.

  • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <[salgak] [at] []> on Friday January 31, 2014 @09:08AM (#46118863) Homepage

    I cannot speak to what MISSILE crews had to pass, but I was a SAC B-52 Crewdawg in the 1980s. We were CONSTANTLY getting tested on aircraft knowledge (i.e. how well we knew our equipment, and what the appropriate "dash" volume said about it), emergency procedures (which had to test 100% correct or you were pulled from flight duty), and what we called "command and control procedures" (i.e. how to properly authenticate and decode Action Messages and Emergency Action Messages).

    ANY failure: classroom test, simulator ride, or inflight evaluation was devastating to the career, at least back in the days of Strategic Air Command. . .

  • by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <[salgak] [at] []> on Friday January 31, 2014 @10:07AM (#46119253) Homepage

    Actually, you are PROHIBITED from memorizing a checklist, and on a checkride, if you are deviating from the checklist, you have to announce that you ARE deviating, what you're deviating from, why, and when you intend to complete the deviated portion OF that checklist.

    It's a QA measure, supposedly. . .

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Friday January 31, 2014 @10:47AM (#46119581) Homepage

    Seems like you know jack about the Military on the surface, so I'll point out another huge difference between civilian jobs and military. In the civilian world you can change jobs when ever the hell you want. In the Military you can't do this, you have to serve out your term.

    And not only do you have to serve out your term - you're pretty much always stuck in your job field, as there's very little lateral mobility. Once you come out of school, you're pretty much pipelined for your entire career. If you're a widget tech you might be able to swap from Widget MK88/2 to Widget MK98/0, but it's difficult-to-impossible to become a twiddler operator... so if the widget pipeline is stopped up, you're screwed unless the twiddler pipeline is *very* desperate for bodies.

    That's the problem I faced in my career... we were a tiny specialty (800 odd people) that were very expensive to create (because of a lengthy training pipeline and the high security clearances required), so even when the pipeline was overmanned the Navy forbid us to swap rates. I couldn't even get out and come back as something else, I'd have had to swap services. (Something I had no interest in doing - the other services don't have submarines.)

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen