WASHINGTON – Senior Air Force leaders are creating a new command to better manage the nation’s nuclear arsenal after a series of embarrassing missteps in the handling and oversight of its most sensitive materials.
Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told reporters Friday that the service is shifting its nuclear-capable bombers, missiles and staff into a new Global Strike Command. So far, officials have spent more than $200 million on the reorganization effort, and expect to spend another $270 million during the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. But Air Force leaders could not provide a total cost or staffing for the new command, which will be led by a three-star general.
The two major blunders involved the mistaken shipment – from Hill Air Force Base to Taiwan – of four electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads, and the flight of an Air Force B-52 bomber that was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and flown from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La.
Nearly one month after the Air Force grounded scores of jets favored by the military for protecting U.S. ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, engineers at Hill Air Force Base say they have “a way ahead” for getting the A-10 Thunderbolt back into service.
For now, the temporary inspection and maintenance regimen ordered by Hill’s A-10 System Program Office will keep all but three jets in



combat zone service. A permanent fix to the problem – fractures in the wings of