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Report: Air Force units failed 2 more nuke surety inspections

Air Force nuclear units have failed two more inspections in the past three months, The Washington Times reported Wednesday.

The failures took place at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming from Dec. 2 to Dec. 17 and Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., from Oct. 26 to Nov. 10, according to the report.

Air Force Space Command spokeswoman Jennifer Thibault told the Times that the failed nuclear surety inspections involved "administrative and paperwork issues." In all, three Air Force nuclear-missile units and two strategic-bomber units failed such inspections in 2008.

Despite the problems, the Air Force said it is making progress addressing issues with the security and handling of nuclear-tipped missiles that came to light after embarrassing episodes in 2006 and 2007 prompted a widespread review and management changes, including the resignations of Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne and Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley.

Air Force officials said the 90th Wing at F.E. Warren was given failing grades by inspectors from the Space Command and the Defense Technology Security Administration for not properly documenting tests on missiles, which require strict monitoring. The Times did not report details of the issues at Malmstrom.

F.E. Warren was at the center of one of the two prior mishaps that cast embarrassment on the Air Force, the Times noted. Nuclear-missile units there mistakenly transported four Minuteman III forward sections containing sensitive components to Taiwan on two occasions, in October and November 2006. The components were recovered.


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