In New Setback, Air Force Missile Team Fails Security Drill

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 14, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

An Air Force unit that over­sees one-third of Amer­ica’s land-based nuc­le­ar mis­siles failed a safety and se­cur­ity in­spec­tion, con­sti­tut­ing the second ser­i­ous Minute­man 3 mis­sion read­i­ness prob­lem this year, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted on Tues­day.

Lt. Gen­er­al James M. Kow­al­ski, com­mand­er of Air Force Glob­al Strike Com­mand — an or­gan­iz­a­tion cre­ated in 2009 as part of a broad ef­fort to al­le­vi­ate prob­lems in the ser­vice’s nuc­le­ar mis­sion — told AP that a team of “re­l­at­ively low-rank­ing” air­men sta­tioned at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., “did not demon­strate the right pro­ced­ures” in a single ex­er­cise. The drill was part of a more ex­pans­ive in­spec­tion that star­ted last week and ended on Tues­day.

A writ­ten state­ment pos­ted on the com­mand’s web­site said the 341st Mis­sile Wing re­ceived an un­sat­is­fact­ory rat­ing after mak­ing “tac­tic­al level er­rors — not re­lated to com­mand and con­trol of nuc­le­ar weapons — dur­ing one of sev­er­al ex­er­cises con­duc­ted dur­ing the in­spec­tion. This fail­ure res­ul­ted in the en­tire in­spec­tion be­ing rated ‘un­sat­is­fact­ory.’”

The wing is one of three that con­trol 450 Minute­man 3 ICBMs, ac­cord­ing to AP.

The Air Force is “look­ing in­to” the pos­sib­il­ity of dis­cip­lin­ary ac­tion against the 341st, Kow­al­ski told the wire ser­vice. He noted, though, that the wing did well over­all, scor­ing ex­cel­lent or out­stand­ing in most of the 13 areas be­ing tested.

In March, the deputy com­mand­er of the 91st Mis­sile Wing — sta­tioned at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. — com­plained of “rot” in the group after an in­spec­tion gave its mis­sile crews the equi­val­ent of a “D” grade on Minute­man 3 launch op­er­a­tions, ac­cord­ing to AP. Al­though the 91st passed that in­spec­tion, the failed sim­u­la­tion of ICBM launch op­er­a­tions res­ul­ted in the tem­por­ary re­mov­al and re­train­ing of 19 per­son­nel.

In 2008, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot failed the nuc­le­ar se­cur­ity com­pon­ent of an in­spec­tion. 

Eric Fan­ning, act­ing sec­ret­ary of the Air Force, will travel to Barks­dale Air Force Base, La., on Wed­nes­day to meet with Kow­al­ski and dis­cuss spe­cif­ics of the Malmstrom case, as well as as­pects of the over­all nuc­le­ar mis­sion, top Air Force spokes­man Brig. Gen. Les Kod­lick told AP. The trip was planned pri­or to the latest in­cid­ent.

The Air Force nuc­le­ar mis­sion has hit a num­ber of bumps since 2008, in­clud­ing a B-52 bomber flight over sev­er­al U.S. states dur­ing which the crew was un­aware that ac­tu­al weapons were on­board.

In an in­ter­view on Tues­day, Kow­al­ski said that the num­ber of prob­lems at the nuc­le­ar wings has de­creased since his com­mand was es­tab­lished in 2009, AP re­por­ted. The oc­ca­sion­al fail­ures do not point to a wide-reach­ing fail­ure to fol­low safety and se­cur­ity pro­to­cols, the gen­er­al as­ser­ted.

What We're Following See More »
CAN’T WITHHOLD FUNDING
Trump’s Sanctuary Cities Order Blocked
3 hours ago
BREAKING
EMERGING BUDGET FRAMEWORK?
Dems Proposes Obamacare-for-Defense Deal
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"An emerging government funding deal would see Democrats agree to $15 billion in additional military funding in exchange for the GOP agreeing to fund healthcare subsidies, according to two congressional officials briefed on the talks. Facing a Friday deadline to pass a spending bill and avert a shutdown, Democrats are willing to go halfway to President Trump’s initial request of $30 billion in supplemental military funding."

Source:
WHITE HOUSE BLOCKING DOC REQUEST
Michael Flynn Remains A Russian-Sized Problem
4 hours ago
BREAKING

The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former national security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking member Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents requested are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes is not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.

Source:
MARYLAND, VIRGINIA, D.C.
DC Area To Experience Terror Attack Drill Wednesday Morning
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Washington, D.C. area will undergo "a full-scale exercise" Wednesday morning "designed to prepare for the possibility of a complex coordinated terror attack in the National Capital Region." The drill will take place at six different sites throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The drill should not be taken as a sign that emergency services are expecting an attack, said Scott Boggs, Managing Director of Homeland Security and Public Safety at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Source:
HUFFINGTON POST EFFORT ID’D PROBLEMS
Inauguration Committee Admits to Faulty Donor Records
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Presidential Inaugural Committee "acknowledged late Monday that a final report it filed with the Federal Election Commission this month was riddled with errors, many of which were first identified through a crowdsourced data project at HuffPost." The committee raised about $100 million for the festivities, but the 500-page FEC report, which detailed where that money came from, was riddled with problems. The likely culprit: a system of access codes sent out by the GOP's ticketing system. Those codes were then often passed around on the secondary market.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login