Ron Fry, spokesman for the Air Force Materiel Command, said the problems were related to a failed inspection.
But a nuclear expert suggested it appears the problems ran deeper, based on the Air Force's decision to reassign five non-commissioned officers.
The Air Force on Jan. 27 decertified the 898th Munitions Squadron at Kirtland Air Force Base, which maintains an estimated 2,000 nuclear warheads inside a bunkered storage facility.
said the 898th Munitions Squadron was included in a regularly scheduled nuclear surety inspection in November involving its parent unit, the 498th Nuclear Systems Wing, as well as the 377th Air Base Wing - all based at Kirtland.
The two wings and the unit all failed the inspection, Fry
said, but initially it was decided that the squadron wouldn't be decertified.
said the problems were mainly administrative, such as handling of paperwork and documentation.
declined to elaborate.
A reinspection was scheduled for mid-February.
But late last month Brig.
Gen. Everett Thomas, commander of Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
- the overseer of Air Force nuclear surety - recommended the squadron be decertified to allow time to identify the root cause of its problems.
As part of the action, five senior non-commissioned officers were reassigned to other duties, but Fry
wouldn't disclose details.
said members of another squadron based elsewhere have arrived at Kirtland to take over the 898th's duties.