Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday he sees "areas of concern" about the handling of non-warhead components of the nation's ballistic missile stockpile.

Gates, on April 15, received an initial assessment of an investigation he ordered after Minuteman missile components were shipped from a Defense Logistics Agency depot at Hill Air Force Base to Taiwan in 2006. The shipment was supposed to be helicopter batteries.

News of the shipment ruffled feathers in the Chinese government and prompted Gates to immediately request an investigation by Navy Adm. Kirkland H. Donald.

In the transcript of a Wednesday press briefing at the Pentagon, Gates said the errant shipment to Taiwan contained no nuclear material, "but there were sensitive electronics, sensitive materials and things."

"The initial report of Admiral Donald's effort has been several recommendations, mostly to try and get more information," Gates said. "There are some areas in terms of the handling of classified material where there can be some improvements."

Another area of concern is where there are inadequate handling methods used for classified, secret technologies, Gates said.

EG&G, a division of San Francisco-based URS Corp., the defense contractor that runs the Utah depot from which the missile parts shipped, has refused a Deseret News request for information about inventory and shipping techniques.

Donald "made some recommendations on the processes for handling some classified materials and documents," Gates said.

The full investigation report is scheduled to be provided to Gates by May 24. Details of the investigation will not be available before then "to maintain the integrity of the investigation," Defense press officer Lt. Col Todd Vician said.

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