Gen. Kehler: Minot incident still shows integrity of nuclear programs

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said on Thursday that a failing of standards during an inspection of an air force missile-launch crew underscores the integrity of the nuclear weapons program.

The incident took place in March when missile-launch crews at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. were not keeping up with the established standards. The Air Force took aggressive action against the crew.

"I do think they reacted very aggressively to the mistakes they saw," Kehler said. "They don't accept those mistakes. At some level, I think we what we are seeing here is a product of the increased scrutiny and the increased diligence that is going into these inspections, and the responses to them."

Kehler also said he personally reviews all inspections involving nuclear weapons and has given the inspector general the job of further reviewing the incident from March. Even with the Minot incident fresh in his eyes, Kehler said he remains confident in Minot's nuclear operations.

"To date, I don't see any reason to have less than full confidence in this unit," Kehler said. "I don't see anything that would cause me to lose confidence in the ability of the unit to perform the missions safely and effectively."