WASHINGTON - The four-star general in charge of Army training has ordered a review to determine how many soldiers may have cheated on online tests to obtain promotion points - and to identify the steps the military must take to secure the compromised courses, the Army said in a statement yesterday.
The Dec. 16 directive from General William S. Wallace, chief of the Training and Doctrine Command in Fort Monroe, Va., came the same day as a Globe investigation revealed that officials in charge of the Army Correspondence Course Program did nothing even though they had evidence soldiers were obtaining the answers to the computerized tests since at least 1999.
The Globe found that thousands of soldiers have been trading copies of the tests and answer keys through a growing number of Internet sites to gain valuable points for promotion to sergeant, the first rank in the noncommissioned officer corps. Reservists and National Guard troops who complete the tests are awarded retirement points that help determine future benefits.
Wallace ordered the review on Sunday "to determine the depth of the problem and take action," according to Wallace's statement.
"Cheating violates our core Army values," the general said. "The backbone of our Army is our noncommissioned officers corps. Each and every one of them must live the Army values and be leaders of character. The institution depends on them."
Soldiers who take the exams are warned that cheating is also a crime under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. But the Globe reported that no soldier has been prosecuted nor has the Army implemented a series of anti-cheating measures a panel of testing specialists recommended as early as 2001.
Spokesmen for Wallace could not be immediately reached to determine who will conduct the review ordered by Wallace and when it will be completed.
Globe correspondent Kevin Baron contributed to this report. Bryan Bender can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.