US officers in charge of the world’s most deadly nuclear weapons are alleged to have been cheating in exams designed to test if they are competent to operate nuclear missiles.
34 US Air Force officers have been removed from launch duties for allegedly cheating or condoning cheating in routine proficiency tests.
“This is absolutely unacceptable behaviour,” said US Air Force Secretary, Deborah Lee James at a hastily arranged press conference after the scandal first broke.
“It is completely contrary to our core values,” she continued. “As everybody here knows, the number one core value for us is integrity.”
General Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, believes any cheating would have had little to do with covering up incompetence.
“It’s hard to cover up incompetence cheating one time on a test when you’re going to have a monthly simulator with two instructors watching you actually conduct the practical application of this knowledge in a simulator.”
The cheating scandal follows a number of similar revelations – including safety rule violations – indicating low moral and lack of leadership among personnel operating the United States’ nuclear missile programme.