As a result of some recent Air Force blunders, most notably the flight across the U.S. by an Air Force bomber mistakenly armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, the Defense Department created a task force to study the management of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
The results of the study and its 82 recommendations, reported by the Associated Press on January 9, 2009, revealed the “need to beef up resources, staffing and training to restore credibility to the nation’s management of its nuclear arsenal.” It condemned the Air Force for a dramatic deterioration in managing the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledged the report and identified numerous short and long terms trends that may warrant correction. He failed to mention that the problem is more than three decades old.
CENSORED IN 1976:
SOME OF OUR PLUTONIUM IS MISSING
Inefficiencies of nuclear safeguarding techniques and the lack of accountability of nuclear materials pose a real threat to the safety of the American public according to a study by the General Accounting Office. The results were reported by author/researcher Barbara Newman in the Nation, on October 23, 1976. It was ranked as the sixth censored story of 1976.
Among the problems reported was the lack of a credible inventory system to accurately tabulate amounts of uranium and plutonium being processed. So lax is the current method that the government cannot account for 150,000 pounds of nuclear materials; 11,000 pounds of which is weapon-grade quality.
Corroborating Newman’s 1976 warning was a subsequent exposé by investigative journalists Jack Anderson and Les Whitten, released March 27, 1977. It revealed a secret congressional study titled “Nuclear Proliferation and Safeguards.” Prepared by the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, the study warned that mankind itself is threatened by an appalling lack of nuclear safeguards.
Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it!
— George Santayana