By Maggie Ybarra
(TRNS) — The wing commander of an Air Force base that has been at the forefront of controversy is up for a promotion despite recent allegations that officers at his base are involved in the largest missile force cheating scandal in history.
Col. Robert Stanley, the 341st Missile Wing commander at Malmstrom Air Force Base, is sitting on a long list of non-civilian nominees submitted by the Obama administration to the Senate for confirmation. Talk Radio News obtained the list of nominees, which shows that Stanley is set to be promoted from colonel to brigadier general. Stanley was added to the list on Jan. 7.
Yesterday afternoon, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James made public during a Pentagon press conference that a drug investigation led to the discovery that nearly three dozen servicemen at Malmstrom Air Force Base had cheated on their launch officer proficiency exam. James described their behavior as “unacceptable” and said that she was “profoundly disappointed” in the airmen involved in the scandal. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, who also attended the press conference, announced that the service had suspended the security clearances of the officers and intended to continue its investigation into the level of their individual involvement of in the cheating ring.
But neither James nor Welsh mentioned that the wing commander of the base that is the center of a cheating scandal may soon be the subject of congressional scrutiny. Malmstrom Air Force Base made headlines last year after a failed safety and security inspection led to the Air Force removing from duty Col. David Lynch, who was previously the 341st Security Forces Group commander. Stanley was tasked with relieving Lynch from duty.
James and Welsh said during the Jan. 15 press conference that they plan to visit Malmstrom Air Force Base next week. Also, the two will visit F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, and Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Despite the recent launch officer scandal, James and Welsh maintain that the nation’s nuclear missile force remains ready and able to accomplish its mission.
Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley told TRNS today that the service would not comment positively or negatively on Stanley until after it had completed its investigation has complete.
Stanley served as the vice commander of the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom from June 2011 to February 2013 before assuming his role as commander.