View Full Version : After Losing Nukes, Air Base Flunks Security Tests

05-31-08, 08:50 PM
After Losing Nukes, Air Base Flunks Security Tests
Wired News May 30, 2008 (http://blog.wired.com/defense/2008/05/after-losing-nu.html)

Perhaps you expected the crowd at Minot Air Force Base to get its act together, after it lost track of six nuclear warheads last fall. Think again.

The 5th Bomb Wing at Minot has "failed its much-anticipated defense nuclear surety inspection," Air Force Times' Michael Hoffman reports. Security personnel couldn't even be bothered to stop playing video games on their cell phones.

Inspectors from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency "gave the wing an 'unsatisfactory' grade Sunday after uncovering many crucial mistakes during the weeklong inspection, which began May 17. They attributed the errors primarily to lack of supervision and leadership among security forces...

Security broke down on multiple levels during simulated attacks across the base, including against nuclear weapons storage areas, according to the DTRA report, a copy of which was obtained by Air Force Times.

Inspectors watched as a security forces airman played video games on his cell phone while standing guard at a “restricted area perimeter,” the DTRA report said. Meanwhile, another airman nearby was “unaware of her duties and responsibilities” during the exercise.

The lapses are baffling, given the high-level focus on Minot since last August, when 5th Bomb Wing airmen mistakenly loaded six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles onto a B-52 Stratofortress and flew them to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., where the plane sat on the flight line, unattended, for hours. That incident not only embarrassed the Air Force, but raised concerns worldwide about the deterioration in U.S. nuclear safety standards.

Col. Joel Westa took command of the 5th Bomb Wing following that fiasco. After it failed an initial nuclear surety inspection, or dry run, in December, Westa acknowledged this inspection was going to be the “most scrutinized inspection in the history of time.”

Even so, airmen were unprepared.

After last year's mishap, Sharon wondered whether it might be a "blessing in disguise if it prompts the Defense Department to get its act together and fix the underlying problems" of nuclear security, which had been "eroding for years." But it looks like not even losing a half-dozen city-destroying weapons is enough to wake some people out of their slumber.

05-31-08, 08:52 PM
"Col. Joel Westa", I don't see a BGen Star in his future.

05-31-08, 09:04 PM
Leave it to the men in blue,lol.

05-31-08, 09:48 PM
Our FAST CO Lads got it squared away and secure. I still remember our Deadly Force classes. The SNCOs stressed that we always had a choice, except in the security of nuclear weapons. Shoot First was the motto.

05-31-08, 09:55 PM
Right on wing.

05-31-08, 10:06 PM
Sounds like a zero is trying to become a civilian.