A malfunctioning launch control center for a portion of the nation's nuclear missiles remained offline Wednesday as investigations continued into a weekend computer problem that disrupted communications with more than 10 percent of America's land-based nuclear missiles.
Early indications are that Saturday's disruption to one of the launch control centers linked to Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming lasted longer than an hour, Lt. Col. John Thomas told CNN. The problem appears to be very similar to glitches at two other nuclear missile sites in the late 1990s.
The United States currently has 450 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles in its nuclear arsenal. The 50 Minuteman III missiles involved in Saturday's incident are all currently at "normal operating capability," said Thomas, the director of Public Affairs for the Air Force's Global Strike Command. But while those missiles are typically controlled by five underground launch control centers, only four are currently online, he added.
The fifth control center remains offline and is believed to be the source of a computer hardware problem that caused a communications disruption Saturday. It has been electronically isolated from the launch system while the problem is investigated and solved, Thomas said.