WASHINGTON Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a full inventory of all nuclear weapons and related materials after the mistaken delivery of ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan, the Pentagon said Thursday.
Gates told officials with the Air Force, Navy and Defense Logistics Agency to assess inventory control procedures for the materials, and to submit a report in no more than 60 days. The Pentagon released his memo to the three agencies Thursday.
Earlier this week, Gates asked Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald to take charge of a full investigation of the delivery mishap, in which four cone-shaped fuses for an intercontinental ballistic missile were shipped to the Taiwanese instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered.
The fuses were delivered in fall 2006 but the military did not fully realize the gravity of the blunder until last week, triggering sharp protests from China and forcing President Bush to acknowledge the error in a phone call Wednesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao.