Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tactical-level errors at nuke launch site

The U.S. Air Force’s Global Strike Command has reported that the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, has failed a recent safety and security inspection earlier this month after personnel made "tactical-level errors" during an exercise. "This failure resulted in the entire inspection being graded 'unsatisfactory,'" said commander Lt. Gen. Jim Kowalski but stressed that it does not mean the safety of America's nuclear arsenal is at risk, and that the inspections are "designed to be tough."

Gen. Kowalski did not  discuss details of the failure or explain the exercise, citing security, except to say that it did not involve the crews who monitor the missiles from inside underground launch control capsules. That left open the possibility that it involved airmen responsible for security, weapons maintenance or other aspects of their highly sensitive mission. The 341st is responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles that stand on 24/7 alert for potential launch against targets around the globe.

This failure comes on top of similar events to befall Global Strike Command recently. Last spring the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, received weak grades on an inspection but did not fail it outright. The units performance was so poor however, that 17 officers temporarily lost their authority to operate missiles. "We are, in fact, in a crisis right now," the commander, Lt. Col. Jay Folds, wrote in an internal E-mail. At let us not forget the 2010 "engineering fault" at F.E. Warren AFB.

UNETIDA’s Missile Defence Commander Colonel “Rockets” Thompson was said to be “unhappy” with the incidents but despite the latest setback he described himself as “confident” that Global Strike Command would still be able perform under the direction of UNETIDA should it ever become necessary. The UNETIDA Missile Defence Department is responsible for calculating and providing targeting solutions for the worlds militaries to use against orbital extra terrestrial targets or those that engage in landing operations should conventional weapons be insufficient. Also if necessary in situations known as DEFCON-ZERO, they can assume complete control of all P5 nuclear arsenals. The department also has control of “The Armageddon Code” a ‘failsafe’ system designed to obliterate Earth should the planet ever face off against “an overwhelming force with absolutely hope of survival”.

Source AP / FOX News

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