WASHINGTON (AP) — In what may be the biggest such scandal in Air Force history, 34 officers entrusted with land-based nuclear missiles have been pulled off the job for alleged involvement in a cheating ring that officials say was uncovered during a drug probe.

The 34 are suspected of cheating several months ago on a routine proficiency test that includes checking missile launch officers' knowledge of how to handle what's called an "emergency war order." That's the term for the authorization required to launch a nuclear weapon.

The cheating scandal is the latest in a series of Air Force nuclear stumbles documented in recent months by The Associated Press. The problems include deliberate violations of safety rules, failures of inspections and breakdowns in training.