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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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Air Force Responses to Cheating Scandal to Include This: More Cash

The U.S. Air Force last week outlined plans to upgrade its nuclear-missile facilities and improve conditions for officers entrusted with launch-control responsibilities.

The results of two separate examinations into the factors that led to widespread cheating among the missileer officer corps at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., led the service to realize it needed to "put its money where its mouth is," Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James was quoted by Defense News as saying.

The Air Force Global Strike Command maintains 150 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles at each of three bases in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. The service blames the cheating scandal on deep-rooted cultural problems within the officer corps charged with overseeing the underground missile-launch control centers.

For fiscal 2014, the Air Force has budgeted $3 million for quality-of-life enhancements and $19 million for improvements on launch-control stations and other facilities. The service is requesting $455 million in fiscal 2015 funds to enhance Minuteman 3 squadrons, purchase new communications technology and refurbish some of the helicopters used by squadron security personnel. An additional $154 million would be used on readiness training and on enhancements to missile-control centers.

An internal Force Improvement Program assessment has produced a "big list" of recommendations for improving the morale of missileers, according to Global Strike Command head Lt. Gen. Stephen Wilson. Those recommendations are expected to be publicized in a few weeks and could touch on things like incentive pay and the creation of new award distinctions for enlisted airmen and officers.

During the same Thursday press conference, James announced that nine officers were relieved from command as a result of the Malmstrom cheating incidents. In addition, Col. Robert Stanley, who commanded the Minuteman 3 wing at the Montana base, said he would step down from the position and retire from service, Global Security Newswire was the first to report.

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