US to announce nuclear operations overhaul after shortcomings

US to announce nuclear operations overhaul after shortcomings
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel answers reporters' questions during a news conference at the Pentagon October 30, 2014 in Arlington, Virginia.

WASHINGTON - US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel will announce on Friday a comprehensive plan to reform US nuclear operations based on two reviews he ordered after a series of incidents involving nuclear personnel, two defence officials said.

"While our nuclear arsenal remains safe, secure and effective today, the reports tell us we must take action now in order to ensure that remains the case in the future," the officials said on Thursday night.

Following a news conference at the Pentagon on Friday morning, Hagel will travel to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to discuss the plans with nuclear personnel.

Officials say that addressing the shortcomings in managing America's nuclear arsenal will likely take billions of dollars.

In March, the head of the nuclear missile wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana resigned and nine officers were removed from their jobs over a test-cheating scandal that involved 91 missile launch officers.

The Montana base is home to a third of the nation's nearly 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Some 19 missile crew members at 91st Missile Wing at the Minot Air Force Base were decertified after a poor showing in a March inspection

Last year, the general overseeing the US arsenal of intercontinental missiles was fired for personal misbehavior, just days after the deputy commander of US Strategic Command, which oversees America's nuclear arsenal and space operations, was relieved of his post during an investigation into gambling issues.

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