Thirty-four missile launch officers have been implicated in a cheating scandal and three others in a drug probe, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Wednesday.
The announcement covers the latest in missteps taken by the personnel who maintain and operate the United States' 450 nuclear missiles.
The cheating scandal involves officers allegedly texting each other the answers to a monthly test based on their knowledge of how to operate the nuclear missiles. Other officers may have been aware of the cheating, but they didn't report it.
The issue popped up during a drug investigation into 11 Air Force officers on six bases in the U.S. and Britain. Of the three missile launch officers involved in the probe, two are based at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana and the other is at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The two at Malmstrom have also been implicated in the cheating scandal.
The drug probe involves several lieutenants and at least one captain who are being investigated for possessing recreational drugs. The investigation began with two officers at California's Edwards Air Force Base and quickly spread.
James said the officers involved in the cheating scandal have lost certification and about 200 missile crew members will have to retake the test. The scandal is believed to be the biggest integrity breach in the nuclear force.
No other details are being released on the drug probe, which is being conducted by the Air Force office of Special Investigations.
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