In the wake of an internal scandal, United States Air Force has fired nine commanders of Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. According to CBS News, the scandal has become associated with several lapses in security and cheating on exams, stretching as far back as 2011. Although none of the officers fired were directly involved in the cheating, the Air Force feels that their lack of leadership is to blame for the scandal.
“They weren’t aware this [cheating] was going on in any way, shape or form, and I think they should have been,” Lieutenant General Stephen Wilson said of the officers fired. The Los Angeles Times said the lieutenant general also stated that classified information was conveyed over cell phones in the form of pictures and texts.
ABC News reported that because the nine officers fired were under his command, the senior officer of the 341st Missile Wing, Colonel Robert Stanley, has submitted his resignation. His retirement will prevent his promotion to brigadier general, for which he was nominated earlier this year.
“We’ve seen the reputation of our beloved wing, and America’s ICBM mission, tarnished because of the extraordinarily selfish actions of officers entrusted with the most powerful weapon system ever devised by man. As you are now learning, the ramifications are dire. Many lives will be permanently changed as a result,” Stanley said according to the Los Angeles Times, “Had just one solitary airman spoken up for integrity, our leadership team would have been able to take action immediately. Tragically, peer pressure and the fear of being an outcast prevailed.”
Exact numbers vary concerning how many officers were involved in the cheating scandal. ABC News said 79 had at one point partaken in the cheating. The Associated Press reported 82 were involved, with 30 to 40 eligible to be disciplined and retrained. The Los Angeles Times had the largest figure of 91.
Image via CBS Evening News, YouTube