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Power Failure Shuts Down 50 US Nuclear Missiles

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the need-a-bigger-ups dept.

The Military 338

Pickens writes "The Atlantic reports that a power failure at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming took 50 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), one-ninth of the US missile stockpile, temporarily offline on Saturday. The 90th Missile Wing, headquartered there, controls 150 Minuteman IIIs. According to people briefed on what happened, a squadron of ICBMs suddenly dropped down into what's known as 'LF Down' status, meaning that the missileers in their bunkers could no longer communicate with the missiles themselves. LF Down status also means that various security protocols built into the missile delivery system, like intrusion alarms and warhead separation alarms, were offline. The cause of the failure remains unknown, although it is suspected to be a breach of underground cables deep beneath the base, according to a senior military official."

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338 comments

All your base (5, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032276)

are offline!

Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (4, Funny)

scourfish (573542) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032288)

Our stockpiles are ruined! how can we protect ourselves with only 5463 warheads?

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032398)

50 / (1/9) != 5513.

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032426)

It's called a MIRV [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (4, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032454)

Scratch that link. It's called a MIRV [wikipedia.org] . Stupid Google preview faked me out with the disambiguation. :( BUT THE POINT REMAINS!

(Why does Wikipedia have an article on the stupid band, anyway? *grumble grumble deletionist nazi sentiments go here, grumble*)

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

Pinhedd (1661735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032898)

The minuteman 3 currently only carries a single warhead (although it was designed to hold MIRVs)

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032462)

True, but (X/9) != 50.
Hell, two Ohio class SSBNs have (the capacity for) almost 50 nuclear (Trident, MIRV) missiles.

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032478)

Our 450 land based Minuteman III each have one warhead

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032404)

Meh, I guess we'd have to leave Antarctica out when we launch the rest.

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032458)

I don't get it - is this some geek culture reference?

The article says 50 missiles, 1/9th of our arsenal, which implies a total arsenal of 450 missiles.

I realize that each missile can carry more than one warhead, but I don't think they each carry 12.14 warheads. I thought that the maximum was 10 or 12 and I thought that some treaty cut that back to 1 or 2?

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (2, Informative)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032562)

According to Wikipedia, the START II treaty [wikipedia.org] would have banned the use of MIRVs on ICBMs. However, START II was never activated, so I guess there is no legal limit. The Minutemen III ICBM can carry 3 MIRVs.

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (2, Informative)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032688)

Each SLBM (which they must be totally ignoring, since we have 14 SSBNs, each of which can carry 24 Trident D-5 SLBMs) can carry 8 MIRVs.

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032718)

To be fair, the far more frightening thing is that someone can take out a base full of nuclear missiles with a backhoe and a bottle of Jager. My server room at least has a UPS, and the fate of the free world doesn't depend on that.

Re:Oh god! Not 50 nuclear missiles! (2, Interesting)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032996)

First it wasn't a power failure the caused the problem, it was a cable problem. I imagine those cables have intrusion protection, which if it's anything like the old 4-wire secure telephone lines they have a lot more false alarms than they have missed alarms. It would be like your server room's network shuts down any time a ping detects a signal reflection change to foil a man-in-the-middle attack or a snooping device.

Wow in the event of an emergency... (4, Insightful)

Timmy D Programmer (704067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032928)

The end of the world could possibly take an extra 5 minutes.

WOPR tried to hack in and must over loaded somethi (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032310)

WOPR tried to hack in and must over loaded something likely taking a fuse with it.

Re:WOPR tried to hack in and must over loaded some (1)

Lord Maud'Dib (611577) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032440)

"Would you like to play a game?" Sorry, the network cable's broken...

Re:WOPR tried to hack in and must over loaded some (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032518)

"I ain't gonna let some silicon diode tell me what to do!" -- General Beringer

False alarm, good Amerika peoples. Only Peoples Republic of China installing network taps. Please to go about your daily businesses.

This is just embarrassing. (4, Insightful)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032312)

I understand the wish of some to reduce or eliminate the US nuclear arsenal, but while we have it, whoever is in command really needs to take care of it better. We had the loss of launch codes in 2000, completely removing the ability to launch for several months. We had the notorious "let's load live warheads on to low-security cruise missiles slated for destruction" incident a few years back. And now this. At this rate, is the nuclear arsenal even serving as an effective deterrent?

Re:This is just embarrassing. (0, Troll)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032416)

At this rate, is the nuclear arsenal even serving as an effective deterrent?

Seriously? Are you serious? I can't tell if you're just being sensationalist or if you're an idiot.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032554)

Is there a difference?

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032452)

Now honestly; do you really believe they lost the launch codes in 2000 and completely lost the ability to launch missiles for a few months? Really? REALLY? Do you really think it takes them that long to change the launch codes in the event they are compromised or lost?

Get real. Seriously.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032524)

Its called a biscuit. Bill must have been hungry.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032708)

That biscuit doesn't happen to look like a diaphragm, does it?

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032886)

Clearly the search was not thorough enough.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (3, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032538)

Deterrent against who? Against the terrarists? No, not really, you cannot really strike back at them with a nuke.

Against Putin? No, because Putin is not really interested in having a shooting war with the West right now, at least until his family lives there.

Against the Chinese? No, because international trade seems to be the better way to have each other by the balls.

Against the Japanese? Nah, not really, US has bases over there, and their prime minister resigns as soon as he hints about something Americans don't like.

Against Iran or North Korea then? How are they even a threat that would merit deterrent?

So nope, it looks like US nuclear arsenal is definitely not serving as an effective deterrent.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (4, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032814)

Deterrent against who? Against the terrarists? No, not really, you cannot really strike back at them with a nuke.

Against Putin? No, because Putin is not really interested in having a shooting war with the West right now, at least until his family lives there.

Against the Chinese? No, because international trade seems to be the better way to have each other by the balls.

Against the Japanese? Nah, not really, US has bases over there, and their prime minister resigns as soon as he hints about something Americans don't like.

Against Iran or North Korea then? How are they even a threat that would merit deterrent?

So nope, it looks like US nuclear arsenal is definitely not serving as an effective deterrent.

Is it deterring a massive strike from a bitter enemy with thousands of such weapons at his disposal? No, not so much. Is anyone else bothering to build even a fraction of our stock of the things? Nope: because to achieve even a fraction of the threat that the Soviet Union once posed would be far too costly. So I'd say you're wrong: the United States' nuclear arsenal is deterring anyone else from building anything similar: the barrier to entry is too high. I don't see that as a bad thing.

And if I'm wrong, well, then so are you. The global situation is changing and the current status quo will not be maintained forever. We may need them some day.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032978)

Is it deterring a massive strike from a bitter enemy with thousands of such weapons at his disposal? No, not so much.

Yes, my point exactly, and an answer to your original question.

Is anyone else bothering to build even a fraction of our stock of the things? Nope: because [nukes are] far too costly.

Precisely. The nukes have cost many times over their value as a deterrent. So many were made not because they were an effective deterrent, but because some got very, very rich on them.

The global situation is changing and the current status quo will not be maintained forever. We may need them some day.

Or you may end up like Putin, sitting on a large pile of nuclear rust some day.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (2, Interesting)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033050)

Or you may end up like Putin, sitting on a large pile of nuclear rust some day.

Better that than swimming in a lake of molten glass. And, if you Google our force reductions, you'll see that we realized a long time ago that we didn't need the Cold War buildup, after the Soviet Empire collapsed. We've reduced both our nuclear and conventional forces considerably since then. That may ultimately prove to be a mistake, time will tell. But we no longer possess the same nuclear capability we once had.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032916)

It could be a deterrent against the terrorist. It only takes one of the most powerfull weapons that the USA has ever produced to end the threat of terrorism and bring peace to the middle east. Peace by elimination of the problem. Adolf Hitler has similar plans for the USA via a long range bombers and bombing New York and Washington, lucky for us we invaded Germany before he was able to carry out such a plan. However most politicians in the US lack the will power to follow through with a declaration of total war against anything.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1, Insightful)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033036)

Peace by elimination of the problem.

It will work for the US just as well as it worked for Hitler.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (5, Informative)

braeldiil (1349569) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032544)

We never lost the launch codes. President Clinton's authorization card was lost (I'm not following it close enough to know by whom), but all that meant is that he couldn't authorize launch. There are many other people able to authorize a launch, beginning with VP Gore. There's a whole designated chain, and there's quite a few people at the top of the list with authorization cards. It's all designed to maintain a National Command authority in the event of a decapitation attack. In addition, it would only matter in the event of a massive suprise attack with no buildup. In the normal course of events, tensions would rachet up for weeks or months, and its likely the President would be in a command center when the order needed to be given. At the very least, he's be able to give a verbal order to someone with a card who was in the room, and launch would be approved.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (2, Funny)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032620)

But-- but-- what about the Mine Shaft Gap?

Re:This is just embarrassing. (3, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032824)

But-- but-- what about the Mine Shaft Gap?

The mine collapsed a few weeks ago. It was in the news.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (2, Funny)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032744)

"Gore, I don't care about the penguins. Order the damned launch."

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032748)

Embarrassing maybe. It's absolutely still an effective deterrent.

You could have the rest of the military running around like morons with 9000 warheads as if they were in Sgt. Bilko, but all it takes is ONE.

Just ONE missile in the hands of ONE competent military group controlling ONE functional system gives you the same level of threat as the other 9,000. Even if all of land based systems were taken offline, we have still have plenty of nuclear submarines out there sitting quietly.

The thing is, all of the nuclear countries, which are pretty much run by level-headed not-insane people, are going to view the damage from one MIRV warhead as no different than 20 hitting their country. North Korea, where the true bat-shit-insanity is, is small enough of a country that one missile would pretty much to do the trick anyways.

The real threat here is are we getting so stupid and lackadaisical with our nuclear stockpile that it could be detonated before they were even fired? From the article it sounded like they lost all communications with over a hundred missiles. At that point, I would be far more worried about what is going on with those missiles, on our soil, than whether or not the remaining thousands are still scary to other people.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033026)

Yes, a combination of land-based missile silos and nuclear-armed submarines (which theoretically may or may not be nuclear-powered submarines, and vice versa). Bombers too.

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032788)

At this rate, is the nuclear arsenal even serving as an effective deterrent?

I'm starting to think it's like a revolver being waved around by a drunk guy. There's a stark realization that he really could pull the trigger, but the gun might not be loaded. So you think to yourself "Do I feel lucky?"

Re:This is just embarrassing. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032846)

At this rate, is the nuclear arsenal even serving as an effective deterrent?

Is Rupert Murdoch our King yet?

No?

Then it's working.

Oh what a shame: (4, Insightful)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032318)

"for a few hours, we lost the ability to end the world"

what a shame.

Re:Oh what a shame: (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032428)

No worries, there are thousands of warheads; ending the world would have been no trouble at all.

Sorry, they have a bomb for that (-1, Troll)

HannethCom (585323) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032750)

When Clinton took office they had 5 bombs that individually each one could destroy the planet. He had 3 of them dismantled and had the other 2 on orders to be dismantled. Bush came into office and stopped that silliness instead ordering 9 more to be built. Thus we can assume right now that the US has at least 11 bombs that if they work according to theory would completely destroy this planet.

YAY

Re:Sorry, they have a bomb for that (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032794)

You'll be grateful for Bush's foresight when the aliens attack and we lack the ability to transmit a virus to their mothership from our trusty powerbooks.

Re:Sorry, they have a bomb for that (1)

PaladinAlpha (645879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032800)

What bombs are those? I'm honestly curious, I've never heard of anything like that before.

Re:Sorry, they have a bomb for that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032858)

Citation? Sounds a bit science fiction'ish so some more information would be nice

As long as it doesn't use Cobalt Thorium-G

Re:Sorry, they have a bomb for that (1)

xaoslaad (590527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032992)

Agreed. The biggest we've had to my knowledge is a 25 mt bomb - the B41. That's not small, but even a 15mt left people alive at 75 miles. http://www.is.wayne.edu/mnissani/PAGEPUB/CH2.html [wayne.edu] I don't think a 25 would take out the world...

Re:Sorry, they have a bomb for that (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032988)

When Clinton took office they had 5 bombs that individually each one could destroy the planet. He had 3 of them dismantled and had the other 2 on orders to be dismantled. Bush came into office and stopped that silliness instead ordering 9 more to be built. Thus we can assume right now that the US has at least 11 bombs that if they work according to theory would completely destroy this planet. YAY

This isn't a troll, mods ... ought to get a +5 Funny. You must go through a lot of Reynolds Wrap.

Five 9's is a myth (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032320)

Five 9's is a myth

Re:Five 9's is a myth (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032862)

How long was it up?

How long was it down?

Does the 5-9's apply to each missile, or to the mission of the fleet?

You do the math.

Remember Kids... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032322)

...when you fail to check your power systems regularly, the terrorists win.

Please, take care of your electrical-systems-powering-ICBM-missiles. Please.

Re:Remember Kids... (4, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032952)

...when you fail to check your power systems regularly, the terrorists win.

If you have to resort to using ICMB's against terrorists, then the terrorists probably have already won

Cause of the failure? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032346)

The cause of the failure remains unknown, although it is suspected to be a breach of underground cables deep beneath the base, according to a senior military official.

In other news, the Underminer was heard telling other evildoers at a sleazy subterranean bar that "The test run has been a total success" and "Soon, I shall be more notorious than Kim Jong Il."

His claim was immediately disputed by five carnivorous giant rats. At press time, it was not quite clear who had survived the ensuing bar fight (our photographer, sadly, had not).

Quick! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032354)

Switch the targeting systems for empty boxes while Colossus can't look!

Obligatory (2, Informative)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032362)

Major T. J. "King" Kong: Well, boys, I reckon this is it - nuclear combat toe to toe with the Roosskies. Now look, boys, I ain't much of a hand at makin' speeches, but I got a pretty fair idea that something doggone important is goin' on back there. And I got a fair idea the kinda personal emotions that some of you fellas may be thinkin'. Heck, I reckon you wouldn't even be human bein's if you didn't have some pretty strong personal feelin's about nuclear combat. I want you to remember one thing, the folks back home is a-countin' on you and by golly, we ain't about to let 'em down. I tell you something else, if this thing turns out to be half as important as I figure it just might be, I'd say that you're all in line for some important promotions and personal citations when this thing's over with. That goes for ever' last one of you regardless of your race, color or your creed. Now let's get this thing on the hump - we got some flyin' to do.

Oh, wait...

Re:Obligatory (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032388)

How can we protect our precious bodily fluids with 50 missiles not working?

Re:Obligatory (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032434)

How can we protect our precious bodily fluids with 50 missiles not working?

General Jack D. Ripper: Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.

Re:Obligatory (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032410)

Now let's get this thing on the hump - we got some flyin' to do.

Oh, wait...

"Yeeeeehaaaaw?"

Re:Obligatory (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032582)

Yeah Kong got some flying in that time. Its one of my earliest memories BTW. Maybe taking a three year old to Kubrick movies wasn't such a good idea...

Re:Obligatory (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032662)

Maybe taking a three year old to Kubrick movies wasn't such a good idea...

Your earliest memory is from age three, eh? And from seeing a movie?

Well, my earliest memory is nine months before I was born! -- I remember going to a drive-in movie with my dad, and then going home with my mom!

Re:Obligatory (1)

IMightB (533307) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032844)

What's a "drive-in movie"?

Re:Obligatory (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032870)

A place where people who were much cooler than you in high school visited in order to fornicate.

Update to the story (5, Informative)

pickens (49171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032424)

It is now being called an engineering failure not a power failure.

"According to the official, engineers believe that a launch control center computer (LCC), responsible for a package of five missiles, began to "ping" out of sequence, resulting in a surge of "noise" through the system. The LCCs interrogate each missile in sequence, so if they begin to send signals out when they're not supposed to, receivers on the missiles themselves will notice this and send out error codes.

Since LCCs ping out of sequence on occasion, missileers tried quick fixes. But as more and more missiles began to display error settings, they decided to take off-line all five LCCs that the malfunctioning center was connected to. That left 50 missiles in the dark. The missileers then restarted one of the LCCs, which began to normally interrogate the missile transceiver. Three other LCCs were successfully restarted. The suspect LCC remains off-line. "

The missiles were offline for about an hour.

Re:Update to the story (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032650)

So somebody set the clock wrong?

mutually assured destruction (1, Insightful)

Dayofswords (1548243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032460)

50 * 9 = 450 nukes

anyone think it's funny that we don't allow other countries to have nukes?

Re:mutually assured destruction (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032506)

"anyone think it's funny that we don't allow other countries to have nukes?"

No. Power and force matter. They trump everything else.

Re:mutually assured destruction (2, Informative)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032532)

We have 450 Minuteman IIIs. We have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of other delivery mechanisms.

Re:mutually assured destruction (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032910)

50 * 9 = 450 nukes

anyone think it's funny that we don't allow other countries to have nukes?

I'm not sure what you mean by "funny".

Should the U.S and its allies encourage proliferation of thermonuclear weapons and delivery systems? I don't think so, personally. We aren't discussing tariffs or trade embargoes here, you know. Understand one thing: fairness doesn't matter. Never having them used in war, that's what matters. Also, lots of other countries have them, you know. We just don't like countries whose leaders are likely to drop them on us, or on our allies, to have them. We also don't like nations who are incapable of securing their weapons systems to have them, or who are so politically unstable that an atom bomb or two might get "lost" during the transfer of power to a new government.

I might add that we've reduced the sheer quantity of nuclear armaments (as well as conventional force levels, for that matter) considerably since the height of the Cold War. That 450 is a pitiful remnant of what we once believed we needed.

Re:mutually assured destruction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032918)

US's arsenal is 5500+ nukes.

YAY!!!! (1)

Excelcior (1390167) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032488)

YAY!!!...
What, why is everyone looking at me like that? Is it wrong for me to get excited when my home state makes it onto the news? This is a once-in-a-lifetime event!

Re:YAY!!!! (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032572)

The next time Wyoming makes it onto front page news will likely be when the Yellowstone super-volcano caldera explodes. So, yeah, by all means, celebrate while you can.

Re:YAY!!!! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032914)

The next time Wyoming makes it onto front page news will likely be when the Yellowstone super-volcano caldera explodes. So, yeah, by all means, celebrate while you can.

Ah, another Emmerich fan.

Obviously we need to get rid of them (0, Flamebait)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032492)

I'd recommend over Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.

Win Win!

Re:Obviously we need to get rid of them (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032686)

I'd recommend over Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.

Win Win!

PROFIT!

what if the missiles are intelligent (to a point) (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032494)

... and assumed the launch control center has been blown away, then proceed to start the launch sequence on their own?

Re:what if the missiles are intelligent (to a poin (2, Informative)

jeff4747 (256583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032550)

This kind of situation is the reason they don't put such 'intelligence' into the missiles.

Stupid hype (4, Insightful)

fartingfool (1208968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032540)

After reading the article, it's full of hype. They corrected themselves; it wasn't a power failure, but just a couple of missiles that started blabbering to the monitoring computers incorrectly so they unplugged them to prevent a cascade. Everyone in the article with a name (e.g. Sgt. Soandso) said everything was fine and they knew everything that was going on. Everyone without a name (e.g. "a general who is high up") happened to suggest otherwise.

Move along, nothing to see here -.-

UPS.....get a werewolves cluster of them (0)

cl191 (831857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032542)

Good to know that the computers I have at home are better protected against power failure than the ICBMS we have!

Lucky it's not like the movies (1)

JoltinJoe77 (1199263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032576)

"If Ikon goes off-line it will assume that there has been a catastrophe and will initiate launch on its own." -General Vostov

fuc4... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032600)

log on Then the It racist f0rK a you down. It was BSD style.' In the

Article Summary (1)

HtR (240250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032612)

For about an hour on Saturday, it was somewhat harder to launch about 50 nuclear missiles, making the world temporarily a teeny bit safer.

Re:Article Summary (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032842)

I don't feel safer knowing that some unforeseen glitch can disable all kinds of security systems. Losing control by the US command chain is one requirement for someone else to get control of them. And overall, defective control systems leave open the possibility of all kinds of other problems.

Nothing but 100% predictable control of nukes is acceptable.

Wow this is overblown (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032616)

Look, I RTFAd.

To summarize: one of the ICBM routers went out of control, sending out pings to the missiles before it should. The missiles sent back error codes as they weren't expecting to be pinged yet, and the increase in traffic eventually flooded that segment of the network, and they had to take it down. The local guys lost control of some added security features. They sent in armed soldiers to each silo to make sure they were intact.

The president still had full control of the missiles via NCA and Kneecap. Neither were operational at the time due to our relatively peaceful defcon status, but every single one of the missiles would have still launched during the "power failure".

Really, the only reason this is a big story is what the hardware was controlling. As any slashdot reader can tell you, routers can die all the time without warning. They were back up and running within an hour (bypassing the faulty router).

Re:Wow this is overblown (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032726)

They sent in armed soldiers to each silo to make sure they were intact.
Shooting the disobeying missiles was a possibility, so they couldn't send in unarmed soldiers.

Re:Wow this is overblown (3, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032882)

Shooting the interlopers who'd snapped the router cable while drilling into the silo was a possibility.

Re:Wow this is overblown (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032876)

Do we really need that many routers?

Can't we route the world over like 9 times by now?

Think of the children.

Dull Sword (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032640)

So Broken Arrow [imdb.com] means missing nuke.

Apparently Dull Sword [wikimedia.org] is the term for a non-functioning nuclear warhead.

Re:Dull Sword (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032724)

So Broken Arrow means missing nuke. Apparently Dull Sword is the term for a non-functioning nuclear warhead.

Yeah, but what does Limp Dick mean?

Re:Dull Sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032774)

Cheney's been shot again?

Obligatory Dr. Strangelove Quote (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032652)

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room."

Clearly UFO's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032654)

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=157161

New meaning to scared in the dark (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032660)

That has to give a whole new meaning to being afraid in the dark. I bet there were a few hundred people messing their pants on Saturday, and a lot of people who haven't stopped working non-stop since the incident.

Egregious error in description (1)

stephencrane (771345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032728)

50 ICBMs do not come close to pretending to be 1/9th of the US nuclear missile stockpile, much less the US warhead stock.

If you don't take care of your toys... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032754)

In 2008, Gates fired the Secretary of the Air Force and its chief of staff after a series of incidents suggested to Gates that the service wasn't taking its nuclear duties seriously enough. At one point, a B-52 bomber flew across the continental U.S. without realizing that its nuclear weapons were "hot."

Ya know, if you boys can't learn to take care of your toys, maybe you should have them taken away!

Re:If you don't take care of your toys... (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033006)

In 2008, Gates fired the Secretary of the Air Force and its chief of staff after a series of incidents suggested to Gates that the service wasn't taking its nuclear duties seriously enough. At one point, a B-52 bomber flew across the continental U.S. without realizing that its nuclear weapons were "hot."

Ya know, if you boys can't learn to take care of your toys, maybe you should have them taken away!

Who's going to do it?

Looks like the firings didn't work (1)

headhot (137860) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032816)

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSWAT00960720080606 [reuters.com]

The Air Force has been long criticized over its handling of the nuclear stock pile. Missleers used to be a sought after job, but over the last few decades, its been a career dead end in the Air Force.

Dick Cheney Located (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032822)

Dick Cheney came to elected office from Wyoming, and claimed he was from Wyoming to avoid the law that prohibits both president and VP candidate coming from the same state (Texas, with Bush). Cheney is the devil, and dwells in the bowels of the Earth. Cheney loves nothing more than WMD like "loose nukes". He's got plenty of time on his hands, and saw on TV that Republicans are taking over again next week.

I believe we have located the Cheney Bunker. And he's grabbing nukes!

Re:Dick Cheney Located (-1, Troll)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032986)

Barack Hussein Obama came to elected office from Chicago, and claimed he was from Hawaii to avoid the law that prohibits non-US citizens from being president. Obama is a community organizer and agitator. Obama loves nothing more than dismantling the US economy, taking over health care, raising taxes, propping up Wall Street, banks, GM, and unions, deficit spending and golfing.

And, yeah, anti-establishment candidates are going to win next week.

ip addess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34032906)

Do the nukes each have an ip address? what happens if I do a port scan? (besides having several 3 letter agencies show up and get a room at Gitmo?

Re:ip addess (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34033010)

Do the nukes each have an ip address? what happens if I do a port scan? (besides having several 3 letter agencies show up and get a room at Gitmo?

A room at Gitmo isn't enough? What, you want to actually launch something? Greedy bastard.

Oh relax.... (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 3 years ago | (#34032950)

It's not like we were using them anyway. Heck, we probably saved on some tritium, assuming it didn't leak out when the power went off.

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