Gates Reviews Findings of Missile Fuse Investigation

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is reviewing the investigation report on the Pentagon’s errant shipment of four nosecone fuses for Minuteman III ICBMs to Taiwan and, in general, how the Department of Defense oversees its nuclear-related materials. The Associated Press reported May 29 that Gates, who is currently on a tour of Asia, received both the report, prepared by Navy Adm. Kirkland Donald, and a briefing on it the week of May 26 and is now considering the report’s recommendations. Speaking with reporters traveling with Gates, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell declined to elaborate on Gates’s reaction or whether the report recommended punishment for personnel involved in the mistaken transfer, AP reported. The fuses, which themselves contain no nuclear materials, but are an integral component of the Minuteman III’s warhead, were sent from a Defense Logistics Agency facility in Utah to Taiwan in the fall of 2006 in place of the helicopter batteries that the Asian ally ordered.