Kirtland munitions squadron decertified

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The 898th Munitions Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base was decertified Jan. 27, according to Air Force Materiel Command officials at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio.

Decertification means temporarily suspending maintenance activities in order to complete corrective actions and ensure operations comply with
the highest standards.

Decertification was at the request of Brig. Gen. Everett H. Thomas, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center commander at Kirtland AFB.

The decision to decertify was not made lightly, said Gen. Donald J. Hoffman, the AFMC commander. He said that in this case; however, decertification was the right action to take in order to give the unit time to identify and implement necessary changes. He also noted that it's a clear indication of both the Air Force's and AFMC's commitment to excellence in the nuclear enterprise.

Squadron officials had already undergone multiple evaluations, including a nuclear surety inspection and, as a result, they had begun an in-depth process of root cause analysis based on findings from these evaluations. They, and AFMC officials, continue to address every aspect of the mission, which includes documentation, maintenance processes, management and technical skills.

General Hoffman has emphasized that maintaining nuclear surety is the Air Force's top priority.

In addition, General Thomas has said the reliability and accountability of the Air Force nuclear stockpile is not affected and there is no risk to security, safety or health associated with the decertification.

The 898th MUNS organizationally falls under the 498th Nuclear Systems Wing, overseen by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center staff. In order to recertify the 898th MUNS, it must be re-inspected. No date has been set yet for the re-inspection.