Air Force Grapples with Nuclear Weapons Security

06.03.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

The U.S. Air Force last week issued revised procedures (pdf) for nuclear weapons maintenance and accounting. Meanwhile, the Air Force continues to suffer serious lapses in nuclear weapons security.

The new procedures include increased supervision and auditing requirements for weapon storage, handling and transport.

“Nuclear weapons require special consideration because of their political and military importance, destructive power, cost, and potential consequences of an accident or unauthorized act,” the Air Force reiterated.

See Air Force Instruction 21-204, Supplement 1, “Nuclear Weapons Maintenance Procedures,” updated 28 May 2008.

Recurring defects in nuclear weapons security were identified in a recent inspection at Minot Air Force Base, Air Force Times reported last week. Security “broke down on multiple levels during simulated attacks across the base, including against nuclear weapons storage areas,” the paper said, citing an undisclosed inspection report from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. See “5th Bomb Wing flunks nuclear inspection” by Michael Hoffman, Air Force Times, May 30.