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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has directed the service to review its testing procedures following multiple high-profile incidents of cheating.
James directed Air Education and Training Command to submit questions to each major command and the Air Force Personnel Center to determine how each conducts tests. The questions should elicit answers from the commands and AFPC on test generation, proctoring procedures, control measures, test purposes, master question files and computer administration, according to James’ Aug. 8 memorandum to AETC.
Each command is expected to submit answers to AETC headquarters by Sept. 12. AETC by Oct. 12 must recommend to James best practices to standardize testing across the service.
AETC testing, personnel and operational analysis experts are working through the information provided by the major commands and gathering data on all testing protocols throughout the service, AETC spokesman Col. Sean McKenna said. This work will be done by mid-September and AETC will provide its recommendations “with the goal being to deliver a stronger, tighter testing protocol across the Air Force,” he said.
The review was directed after the Air Force disclosed on Aug. 8 that air traffic control airmen of the 319th Operations Support Squadron at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, had allegedly cheated on a proficiency test. Airmen reportedly possessed images of test material and shared them with other airmen in the squadron.
Gen. Darren McDew, commander of Air Mobility Command, directed an investigation into the matter and sent a three-member team of air traffic control experts to the base to reinspect the 319th OSS standardization, evaluation and training programs, according to an Air Force statement on the incident.
The investigation at Grand Forks came as Air Force Global Strike Command has been evaluating its testing and morale problems in the missileer force following a large-scale investigation into cheating on a monthly proficiency exam at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. In that case, more than 90 nuclear missile officers were caught up in the investigation, which led to the resignation of Malmstrom’s commander, Col. Robert Stanley, and nine other officers at the base.
“While integrity starts from within, a standardized set of testing protocols will reflect the high degree of job knowledge and excellence we expect from our Airmen,” James wrote in the memo.