The U.S. Air Force last week issued revised procedures (pdf) for securely maintaining and transporting nuclear weapons.
The move follows an incident last August in which crewmen at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota mistook missiles armed with nuclear weapons for unarmed missiles and flew them across the country without authorization.
Though the Minot AFB event is not mentioned in the new procedures, the origins of that mishap are implicitly addressed: “Do not co-mingle nuclear and non-nuclear munitions/missiles … in the same storage structure, cell, or WS3 [weapons storage and security system].”
“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 Instruction observes.
The new policy prescribes detailed auditing and tracking procedures to promote accountability of nuclear weapons, along with weapons maintenance, personnel certification, and secure transport.
The document was approved for public release.
See “Nuclear Weapons Maintenance Procedures,” Air Force Instruction 21-204, 17 January 2008.:
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
Common frameworks for evaluating proposals leave this utility function implicit, often evaluating aspects of risk, uncertainty, and potential value independently and qualitatively.
The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
According to the National Center for Education Statistics’ August 2023 pulse panel, 60% of public schools were utilizing a “community school” or “wraparound services model” at the start of this school year—up from 45% last year.