- Associated Press - Saturday, May 31, 2014

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - About two-thirds of the airmen involved in the cheating investigation at Malmstrom Air Force Base have been returned to alert duty or are in the training pipeline to be recertified, according to base officials.

One hundred officers at Malmstrom were involved in the investigation. Nine were cleared when the findings were announced in March. Some cases were retained by the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigation because they involved the mishandling of classified material or were part of the initial drug investigation that uncovered the cheating.

An investigation report released in late March revealed low morale and other issues throughout the nuclear force that prompted the Air Force to establish the Force Improvement Program, asking airmen to make suggestions for improvements.

The Great Falls Tribune reports (http://gftrib.com/1jI2jy2 ) that some of the improvements being rolled out as a result include the Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal, which was approved by Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James on Tuesday.

The medal is “intended to recognize airmen dedicated to national strategic nuclear deterrence objectives,” according to information released by the Air Force Personnel Center on Friday. Eligibility criteria and submission instructions are still under review, and they will be available following approval from leadership.

The Air Force also recently released other new incentives for nuclear airmen, including Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarships for airmen who would perform intercontinental ballistic missile duty. Ten of those scholarships already have been awarded, according to the Air Force.

Bonus pay for new missile specialists, known as missileers, after they complete their initial skills training will start Oct. 1. Targeted incentive pay for airmen operating outside the main base, such as missileers, security forces, maintenance, facility managers and chefs at missile alert facilities, will also start on the same date.

Information on who will be eligible for those incentives and how they will be distributed was not immediately available Friday.

___

Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com