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From the Weekly Standard “50 Nuclear Missiles Drop Offline”

October 27, 2010

Check this article out – I’m re-posting this for your convenience.


The Blog

50 Nuclear Missiles Drop Offline

“Everything worked as planned,” says administration official.

5:43 PM, Oct 26, 2010 • By JOHN NOONAN

The Atlantic (and now Wired) is reporting that an entire squadron of nuclear missiles unexpectedly dropped into a “launch facility down” status on Saturday morning, taking a sizable portion of America’s nuclear deterrent offline:

President Obama was briefed this morning on a power failure at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming that took 50 nuclear ICBMs, one ninth of the U.S. missile stockpile, temporarily offline on Saturday.

The base is a main locus of the United States’ strategic nuclear forces. The 90th Missile Wing, headquartered there, controls 150 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles. They’re on full-time alert and housed in a variety of bunkers across the base.

On Saturday morning, according to people briefed on what happened, a squadron of ICBMs suddenly dropped down into what’s known as “LF Down” status, meaning that the missileers in their bunkers no longer could communicate with the missiles themselves. LF Down status also means that various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline.

The White House response to the incident has been jaw dropping. When pressed on the critical security lapse, an unnamed official told Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic (emphasis mine): “to make too much out of this would be to sensationalize it. It’s not that big of a deal. Everything worked as planned.”

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