USA Beefs Up Nuclear Weapons Security
In 2007, a B-52 carried 6 unsecured nuclear-tipped AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. The nuclear warheads were supposed to have been removed before the aircraft took off, but they remained on the aircraft unsecured at both Minot and Barksdale for 36 hours.
As a result of the incident, 4 USAF commanders were relieved of their commands; it also contributed to the resignation of top USAF officials. A Blue Ribbon Panel chaired by former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger recommended that the USAF and the US Department of Defense (DoD) overhaul its handling of nuclear weapons security. In response, the USAF set up an Air Force Global Strike Command to oversee all bomber- and missile-based nuclear weapons.
The incident also prompted the US Navy to beef up its nuclear weapons security, which is overseen by the Strategic Systems Program…
On Jan 12/10, the Strategic Systems Program awarded Systems Planning and Analysis in Alexandria, VA a $13.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to support its nuclear weapons security program, nuclear weapons surety, and the SSBN Transit Protection Program (TPS), which provides security for submarine-launched ballistic missiles while they are transported between piers and submarine dive points.
Under the contract, Systems Planning and Analysis will provide program planning, systems engineering services, support of surety inspections and monitoring, and analytical support. The contractor will also provide management support required in the implementation, improvement and execution of the TPS program. If all options on this contract are exercised, the value would be $25.8 million.
Strategic Systems Program is responsible for security and safety of nuclear weapons while in US Navy custody in strategic weapons facilities, weapons storage facilities, and on-board submarines. SSP is leading DoD efforts to improve nuclear weapons security.
Work will be performed in Alexandria, VA (94%); Kings Bay, GA (3.5%); and Silverdale, WA (2.5%). Work is expected to be completed by Nov 26/10. This contract was not competitively procured by the Strategic Systems Program in Arlington, VA (N00030-10-C-0016).