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Air Force to Alter Nuclear Missileer Training, Brass Says

The U.S. Air Force will modify the way it educates nuclear-missile launch officers following revelations about cheating on proficiency exams.

Gen. Robin Rand, head of the Air Education and Training Command, speaking at an Air Warfare Symposium on Thursday in Orlando, Fla., said he would await an ongoing Defense Department assessment of intercontinental ballistic missile force operations before determining with other Air Force leaders exactly how the training process might be changed, Defense News reported.

"This isn’t just Air Force Global Strike Command’s problem," Rand said to journalists. "I take it very seriously. Every officer that’s in the missile career field was trained by who? Air Education and Training Command."

It was learned earlier this year that more than 90 missile-launch officers at the Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana were being accused of either cheating on routine certification exams or having knowledge of the misconduct and not reporting it. The cheating scandal opened the door to a number of current and former missileers coming forward to lament a perceived culture of perfection in the nuclear missile corps, which can affect career advancement for those officers who do not score 100 percent on the proficiency tests.

"Any time there's challenges in the Air Force, it behooves us to look at what we're doing at the entry levels, at the pipelines," Rand said.

He said various corners of the service would be involved in the overhaul.

"This is a corporate decision, and the views of every command are included," Rand said. "I need to wait for [Air Force Global Strike Command head Lt. Gen. Stephen] Wilson to absorb what he needs to absorb, and he needs to come to me with suggestions or changes."

The general predicted some reforms could be implemented quickly, but that others might take longer to enact.

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