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 »
“HOLY HELL TO PAY” IF TRUMP FIRES A.G.
Sen. Graham Supporting Sessions
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Sen. Lindsay Graham said he is '100 percent behind' embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and said there would be 'holy hell to pay' if President Donald Trump fires him. Graham also said that if the president went after special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who’s directing the investigation into possible contacts between Trump’s circle and Russia, that could be the 'beginning of the end of the Trump presidency, unless Mueller did something wrong.'"

Source:
AMiDST COMMS STAFF SHAKEUP
Sanders New WH Press Secretary
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"With little pomp or circumstance, Sarah Huckabee Sanders stepped up to the briefing room podium and got straight to business Friday, reading announcements about "Made in America Week" and a new executive order on defense. Minutes later, newly minted communications director Anthony Scaramucci announced she was formally taking over as White House press secretary. In the aftermath of a chaotic communications staff shakeup at the White House last week, there was little attention paid to a new milestone as Sanders assumed the role."

Source:
JOINT CHIEFS TO KEEP POLICY UNTIL GIVEN DIRECTIONS
No Instructions to Pentagon, No Change in Transgender Policy
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The highest ranking military officer in the country said that the military’s transgender policy won’t actively change until President Trump sends specific directions to the Pentagon. 'There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president’s direction has been received by the secretary of defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance,' Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote in a letter."

Source:
TO INVICTUS GAMES IN CANADA
FLOTUS First Trip Solo
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
SCARAMUCCI INSINUATED PRIEBUS LEAKED INFO
Two of Trump’s Top Advisors Feuding
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A long-simmering feud between two of President Trump’s top advisers reached a boiling point Thursday, as White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci publicly insinuated that chief of staff Reince Priebus is a leaker."

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