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Report: Hill warned about inventories last year

Report: Hill warned about inventories last year



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Inspectors warned Hill Air Force Base a year ago about problems with computer inventories of ballistic missile parts, the Deseret Morning News reported Sunday.

Auditors said poor record-keeping at Hill could lead to mistakes -- like one that happened the previous fall but nobody was aware of until recently.

Inspectors recommended that Hill and its contractor conduct "a current and complete physical inventory of government-owned material and reconcile the inventory," according to a copyright story in Sunday's editions.

The Morning News obtained the Air Force Audit Agency report, dated May 30, 2007, through a Freedom of Information Act request. A shipment of ballistic missile fuses was sent by mistake from the Utah air base to Taiwan. The wrong shipment was delivered in fall of 2006, but the Pentagon discovered last month how significant the error was.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered a full inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials.

Initial blame for the Taiwan mistake has been pointed to a Defense Logistics Agency warehouse operation at Hill and a contractor there.

According to the 2007 audit, inspectors looked at whether contractors at Hill had recorded all the government assets stored at the facility in a computerized inventory system. That included parts for Peacekeeper and Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are stored at the base and awaiting disposal or destruction.

Of 21 items inspectors were looking for, only one was properly accounted for in a computerized inventory.

"Additionally, management did not adequately reconcile assets to maintain reasonable internal controls" by conducting physical inventories to match computer inventories, the report said.

Inspectors wrote that Hill officials told them that contracts with the contractors also allowed them to exclude from the inventory system any items considered obsolete. Inspectors wrote that sensitive material should still be periodically inventoried until it was disposed.

The report said the commander of the 526th Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Systems Wing accepted those recommendations and ordered a complete inventory.

Information from: Deseret Morning News

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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