Monday, May 26, 2014

AP: Montana Base Botched Nuclear Silo Drill

Posted By on Mon, May 26, 2014 at 9:14 AM

A stunning revelation this morning about security at the region's nuclear silos has more than a few people in the Intermountain West more than a little concerned.

The Associated Press reports that a U.S. Air Force security team botched a nuclear silo drill last summer at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Mont. The AP obtained a copy of a U.S. Air Force report that indicates "security forces were unable to speedily regain control of the captured silo, and called this a critical deficiency."

As a result, the 341st Missile Wing out of Malmstrom flunked its overall safety and security inspection.

The AP reports that the bungle was only the latest in a string of problems at the 341st, including an exam-cheating scandal that led its commander to resign in March.

According to the AP, security personnel at the Malmstrom nuclear silo were tasked with responding to a simulated capture of the silo by hostile forces. But the Malmstrom team failed to take "all lawful actions necessary to immediately regain control of nuclear weapons," according to internal documents, which were redacted.

The Air Force's 450 Minuteman 3 silos contain intercontinental ballistic missiles armed with at least one nuclear warhead and are always ready to launch on short notice on orders from the president, according to the AP.

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