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Report: Errors plagued US missile compute

Oct. 30, 2002 at 3:08 PM   |   Comments

SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- The accuracy of the readiness status of the United States' nuclear missile fleet was called into question last year after an Air Force audit found that the computer that keeps track of a wide range of critical parts and components was riddled with erroneous data, the Deseret News reported Wednesday.

The Air Force Audit Agency said in a report dated Oct. 25, 2001 that several hundred incorrect entries -- which have since been remedied -- were discovered in a computer system designed to give commanders an accurate and up-to-date picture of the status of the nation's intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The report, which was obtained by the Deseret News under the Freedom of Information Act, described a check of three ICBM bases in which they attempted to reconcile the computer's 2,863 inventory records with the actual parts and found that 991 had discrepancies.

"The erroneous data included: (a) duplicate, missing, and incorrect serial numbers; (b) missing and incorrect part numbers; (c) missing data asset records; (d) incorrect equipment quantities; (e) incorrect equipment locations; and (f) incorrect or missing equipment manufacture and installation dates," the report said.

Specific problems included the discovery that 10 silos at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota did not have enough batteries on hand to successfully launch their missiles, and incorrect installation dates on 200 rocket boosters at both Malstrom Air Force Base in Tennessee and Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

The audit concluded the problems stemmed in a large part from inadequate training in the entering and monitoring of the inventory data on the part of the Air Force Space Command and the Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah.

"For example, training at Minot Air Force Base was a brief overview of the system (lasting approximately 30 minutes) combined with an on-the-job practice session," the report said. "Additionally, Space Command personnel did not have adequate oversight procedures to ensure maintenance procedures to ensure maintenance personnel accurately maintained that data."

Space Command and the Air Logistics Center have since agreed to establish a standardized training program for the computer system and develop an oversight system.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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