ICBM Procedural Violation

The Air Force announced yesterday that it has investigated an alleged procedural violation by airmen of the 91st Missile Wing at Minot AFB, N.D., in their handling of classified material at a Minuteman III missile alert facility on July 12. While the investigation has concluded that “there was no compromise of the classified material,” commanders at Minot are reviewing the case to determine recommendations on discipline, USAF said. According to the service’s account, missile crew members reported that they fell asleep while topside at a MAF in the crew rest area when they were supposed to be watching a missile code container. The investigation revealed that the codes remained secured in locked containers whose combinations were known only to the crew during the entire incident, the Air Force said. Additionally, access to the MAF was continually controlled by security forces and the codes had been superseded and were unusable, it noted. The Air Force has pledged to restore public confidence in its stewardship of nuclear weapons after two high-profile incidents involving the unauthorized transfer of nuclear weapons components, one of which involved B-52 airmen at Minot. Service leaders have emphasized that perfection is the standard in managing nuclear materials, and nothing less will be tolerated.