Another Nuclear Stumble By Air Force Raises Doubts

WASHINGTON (AP) - Another embarrassing stumble by the U.S. nuclear missile force, this time a safety and security inspection failure, is raising questions about the Air Force's management of arguably the military's most sensitive mission.

The head of nuclear air forces, Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, revealed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana had failed what the military calls a "surety" inspection. That's a formal check on the unit's adherence to rules ensuring the safety, security and control of its nuclear weapons.

The 341st is one of three units that operate the Air Force's 450 Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Kowalski says the fumbled exercise did not call into question the safety or control of nuclear weapons at Malmstrom.