Is Klotz at fault for the failed inspections?
Root causes of
failed inspections do not happen overnight. The new commander has now
shown that something is not working for these forces. If it emerges that
the culture under Klotz was a contributor to the failures, it could get
interesting for NNSA.
U.S. nuclear missile unit fails key security inspection
By Robert Burns-Associated Press Tuesday, August 13, 2013
An Air Force
unit that operates one-third of the nation’s land-based nuclear missile
force has failed a safety and security inspection, marking the second
major setback this year for a force charged with the military’s most
sensitive mission, the general in charge of the Air Force’s nuclear
force told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The failure was
recorded by the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont.,
which is responsible for 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles that stand on
24/7 alert for potential launch against targets around the globe.
Gen. James M. Kowalski, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command,
which is responsible for the Minuteman 3 force as well as nuclear
bombers, said the 341st wing failed a “small team exercise” as part of a
broader inspection. The exercise failure meant the whole inspection was
a failure, he said.
Kowalski said this did not call into
question the unit’s safe operation of nuclear missiles but was its
second failure of a safety and security inspection in just over three
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it a pattern,” he said, since
a large number of those involved in the latest inspection were not
there for the previous failure in February 2010.
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 the highly sensitive mission.
“This unit fumbled on this exercise,” Kowalski told the AP by telephone from his headquarters at Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
a written statement posted to its website, Kowalski’s command said
there had been “tactical-level errors” during the exercise, revealing
Without more details it is difficult to make a
reliable judgment about the extent and severity of the problem uncovered
at Malmstrom. Asked whether the Air Force intends to take disciplinary
action against anyone as a result of the inspection failure, Kowalski
said the Air Force is “looking into it.”
He said those who failed the exercise would be retested within three months.
is the second major setback this year for the Air Force’s nuclear
weapons force. Last spring the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force
Base, N.D., received weak grades on an inspection but did not fail it
outright; that performance was so poor, however, that 17 officers
temporarily lost their authority to operate missiles.
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Friday, August 16, 2013
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