No one wants to eat at a restaurant that has received a failing grade from the health inspector, or one that has received any lower than an A-, and that’s pushing it for some. Now, imagine that failed restaurant could potentially kill not only you, but also every living thing on Earth.
That’s the feeling many are experiencing today as news of Malmstrom Air Force Base’s failure in a security check spreads. The anxiety is because the unit stationed there controls a staggering one-third of the nation’s land-based nuclear missiles.
The news doesn’t mean that citizens should start building fallout shelters in their back yards, however. Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, was quick to point out that the portion of the test that was failed was not one that would put the weapons stockpile at immediate risk. He said in a phone interview that “The team did not demonstrate the right procedures,” and that there was no reason to call the safety of the missiles at Malmstrom into question.
When asked whether or not those responsible for the failure would face disciplinary action from the military Kowalski said that they are “looking into it.” The fact that the 341st wing, which is the one responsible for this failure, also failed a similar test in 2010 could turn that possibility into reality. The two failures by the 341st are the only two failures in the security check since it was implemented in 2008.
Kowalski was reassuring, saying that “This is a difficult inspection.” For our sake, I hope it is truly as difficult as he claims.