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Nuclear “Surety” Inspection Failure at USAF Site

The Associated Press reports that “another embarrassing stumble by the U.S. nuclear missile force, this time a safety and security inspection failure, is raising questions about the Air Force’s management of arguably the military’s most sensitive mission.”

“The head of nuclear air forces, Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, revealed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., had failed what the military calls a “surety” inspection — a formal check on the unit’s adherence to rules ensuring the safety, security and control of its nuclear weapons.”

“The 341st is one of three units that operate the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.”

“Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, said a team of “relatively low-ranking” airmen failed one exercise as part of a broader inspection, which began last week and ended Tuesday. He said that for security reasons he could not be specific about the team or the exercise, although he said the team did not include missile launch crew members.”

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