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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 19, October 1997

US to Review Nuclear-Weapons Safety

On 26 September, Defense Daily reported that the US Air Force (USAF) had begun a major review of the safety of the service's nuclear weapons. The newspaper quoted an unnamed official from the USAF's Office of the Inspector General (IG) as follows:

"A review this comprehensive has never been done before. While there have been piece-part reviews, this is the first-of-its-kind, top-to-bottom, inside-and-out review the Air Force has ever done."

The official added that no specific concerns had prompted the review: "We are simply trying to preclude potentially threatening activities by ensuring that those weapons enjoy every possible safeguard."

In August 1996, a Commander in charge of a base in Greece was dismissed following an inspection. Speculation at the time concerned possibly inadequate safety standards connected with nuclear weapons at the base. Questioned about the incident, the official stated that it "did not trigger this review, but it is the type of incident that this review hopes to prevent from reoccurring."

Report: Air force to review safety of nuclear weapons, IG official says, Defense Daily, 26 September.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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