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The Military

Power Failure Shuts Down 50 US Nuclear Missiles 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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Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?