Paper, You Say?

It came as a surprise to Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz that the Air Force’s nuclear bomber force keeps track of nuclear weapons using paper ledgers. “It seems to me there is a more modern way to maintain inventories of weapons and nuclear materials,” he told the Los Angeles Times after a visit to Barksdale AFB, La., home to two B-52 bomber squadrons. Schwartz and a press gaggle visited the Louisiana base last week, shortly after the 2nd Bomb Wing had successfully endured a no-notice nuclear surety inspection. According to the newspaper report, Schwartz revealed that DOD and Energy Department were considering other means to track nuclear warheads and related components, including potentially the use of bar codes or a Global Positioning System tracking option. Despite some expressions of potential security concerns with such technology, Schwartz said, “It is worth our while to explore other [non paper] opportunities.” The Air Force is still recovering from two high-profile events in which nuclear weapons and nuclear-related components went awry that prompted a change in leadership. (More on the visit in 2nd BW report by SrA. Alyssa Miles)