Cheating Scandal Rocks Air Force Nuclear Missile Force05:21
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This image provided by the U.S. Air Force shows Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, right, and Tech. Sgt. Justin Richie, a 341st Maintenance Operations Squadron team trainer, riding in a work cage on Nov. 20, 2012, inside the T-9 maintenance trainer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The Air Force says 34 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification. (Beau Wade/U.S. Air Force via AP)
This image provided by the U.S. Air Force shows Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, right, and Tech. Sgt. Justin Richie, a 341st Maintenance Operations Squadron team trainer, riding in a work cage on Nov. 20, 2012, inside the T-9 maintenance trainer at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The Air Force says 34 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a cheating scandal and have been stripped of their certification. (Beau Wade/U.S. Air Force via AP)
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In what's been called the biggest such scandal in its history, the U.S. nuclear missile force has removed 34 officers from their jobs after they were accused of texting the answers to a monthly proficiency test.

Missile officers tell the Associated Press that there is intense pressure to do well on the tests in order to advance within the force.

Recent reporting by the AP has also uncovered burnout, safety rule violations, inspection failures and breakdowns in training among the officers who control the United States' 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Robert Burns, a national security reporter for the AP who has been reporting on serious lapses in the handling of the the U.S. nuclear arsenal, joins Here & Now's Robin Young.

Guest

  • Robert Burns, national security reporter for the Associated Press.

This segment aired on January 16, 2014.

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